Skip to main content

Collection 347 Oral History Interview with Ruth M. Long

Identifier: CN 347

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Ruth Margaret (Hollander) Long in which she discusses her conversion, education at Wheaton College, work as a missionary for the Sudan Interior Mission tohgether with her husband Burt) in Niger and Nigeria from 1950 through 1984. Other topics discussed include raising a family on the mission field, development of an AWANA program for Hausa children, evangelistic activities, impressions of the French colonial system, the independence of Niger, Hamami Diori, relations between the mission and the government in Niger, conflict between the Hausa and the Ibos in Nigeria, customs of the Hausa people, SIM schools, the training of leaders for the Niger church, the transfer in Nigeria of the mission's activities to the Evangelical Churches of West Africa. The time period covered by the interview is 1932-1984.

Ruth Long was interviewed by Wheaton College student Betty Smartt on November 11 and December 3, 1986.


  • Created: 1986

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Ruth Margaret Hollander was born August 5, 1921 in Evanston, IL, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Hollander and the youngest of four children. Her father was a fireman and engineer on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. The family moved to the northwest side of Chicago when she was six. When she was eleven, she was saved while attending a Saturday afternoon girl's club sponsored by the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. After graduating from Carl Schurz High School in Chicago in 1938, she attended night school courses at Moody Bible Institute while working at various jobs in the city, including one at Scripture Press. She was also attending and active in the programs of the North side Gospel Center, where Lance Latham was pastor. Among her friends there was Burt Elmer Long, a student at Wheaton College. In 1941 Ruth enrolled at Wheaton and graduated from the school in 1945 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. She and Burt were married at this time.

The couple spent some time in St. Louis, where Long was senior surgical resident at the Missouri Baptist Hospital. After Burt's stint of Army service at a hospital in Alaska, he and Ruth joined the Sudan Interior Mission in 1949 and went, along with their children Roland Vance and Lance Vaughn (born 1946 and 1949) to Niger in 1950.

The Longs were assigned to the SIM station near the village of Galmi among the Hausa people, where they started a hospital in a building built the year before their arrival. For sixteen years, Burt was the only doctor on the staff of what quickly became a very busy facility. Ruth, besides taking care of her family and helping occasionally at the hospital, had a visitation ministry with women of the Hausa tribe and started an Awana youth program, first for the local boys and then for the girls as well. (The Awana clubs in the United States had been started by Lance Latham and provided Christian activities and education for children.) In 1965, for example, the hospital had a capacity of 120 beds and activities for children included four weekly clubs, three daily vacation Bible schools, a short term Bible School, Bible reading programs and Sunday school classes, in addition to the church meeting on the compound. During their years of service in Niger they had four more children (Cheryl Michelle, born 1951; John Richard, born 1952; Suzanne Jeanne, born 1955; and Pamela Marjorie, born 1959). Cheryl, John and Pamela were all delivered by their father. The Longs took furloughs to the United States in 1955, 1960-61, 1965-66 and 1970-1971.

In 1975, partly because of mission policy and partly because of disagreements with the new SIM regional director, the Longs went to Jos, Nigeria. Ruth taught Biblical knowledge in the government schools and prepared Sunday school curriculum for junior high school age children and Burt was one of the doctors of SIM's Evangel Hospital. They returned to the United States on furloughs in 1976, 1978, 1981. In 1977, the Nigerian government took over Evangel Hospital, but it returned it to the control of the Evangelical Churches of West Africa (the denomination that grew out of congregations started by SIM) in 1979. Burt continued to practice there through these changes, while staying on the staff of SIM. Both Burt and Ruth retired in 1984 and in October of that year returned to Wheaton to live. They continued to be involved in various short term missionary projects, such as working at ELWA hospital in Liberia in 1986, returning to Galmi for three months in 1989-90 and working in Chad in 1991. Ruth Long passed away on January 12, 2018.


2 Audio Tapes

169 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Ruth Long in November and December 1986.

Accession 86-132, 86-134

June 18, 1993

Robert Shuster

K. Cox

Collection 347 Oral History Interview with Ruth M. Long
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US