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Collection 343 Papers of Samuel F. Wolgemuth

Identifier: CN 343

Scope and Contents

Administrative correspondence, reports, minutes, memos, newsletters, publications, promotional material, photographs, and slides documenting Samuel F. Wolgemuth's term (1965-1973) as president for Youth for Christ. The correspondence with YFC staff, individuals, and representatives of other Christian organizations, predominates. Materials document contact with major YFC donors, administration of YFC at various executive levels, fund raising, communication, and promotion. Prominent people featured include U.S. representative John Anderson, Bill Bright, Billy Graham, Clyde Taylor, John Alexander, Ted Engstrom, Jay Kesler, Billy Melvin, Bob Pierce, and Charles Troutman.


  • Created: 1962-1981

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Samuel Frey Wolgemuth was born in 1914. He grew up in Mount Joy, a Mennonite community in Pennsylvania. Wolgemuth graduated from Messiah Junior College in 1936 and from Taylor University in 1938. That same year he married Grace Dourte. In 1939 he began his pastoral career in a Brethren in Christ church in Waynesboro, PA, where he worked for thirteen years; during that time he was appointed a denominational bishop.

Wolgemuth's first encountered Youth for Christ during its 1949 summer convention in Winona Lake. In 1951 he went on three-month evangelistic mission to Japan for YFC. The following year, 1952, he joined Youth for Christ to work as its representative in Japan and in 1955 Wolgemuth became YFC's Deputation Director. The following year, 1956, he was appointed the Vice President of the Overseas Program. Wolgemuth was named YFC's fifth president in 1965, following Torrey Johnson, Bob Cook, Ted Engstrom, and Kelly Bihl. He was President of Youth for Christ International until 1973. Following his retirement, he was named President Emeritus, a status he continued to hold in 1988.

In addition to his duties with YFCI, Wolgemuth held a number of other positions with other Christian organizations:

Brethren in Christ Church's Board of Missions, Chairman

Evangelical Literature Overseas (ELO), board member

National Association of Evangelicals, Youth Commission, Chairman, member of Executive Committee

Satellite Christian Institute, board member

Taylor University, board of trustees member

Dr. Wolgemuth died February 5, 2002.


15 Boxes (DC)

18 Photograph Files

Language of Materials


Arrangement and Description of Material

[NOTE: In the Arrangement section, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

This collection consists of administrative correspondence, reports, minutes, memos, internal newsletters, publications, promotional material, photographs, and slides, documenting Wolgemuth's term as YFC President. The arrangement of the collection and the folder titles have been retained as they were received; the series titles were provided by the archivist. Duplicates were returned to the donor. Series-specific notes on arrangement may be included under the series descriptions. The files are arranged into the following sub-series:

I. Correspondence: General; 1962-1975 (Folders 1-1 to 8-10)

a. Alphabetical; 1964-1970

b. Chronological; 1962-1972

c. Alphabetical; 1966-1975

II. Correspondence: Large Donors; 1964-1972 (Folders 8-11 to 10-3)

III. YFCI Administration: General; 1963-1972 (Folders 10-4 to 10-19)

IV. YFCI Board; 1971-1975 (Folders 11-1 to 11-6)

V. Action Councils; 1968-1974, n.d. (Folders 11-7 to 11-15)

VI. Department Heads; 1965-1977 (Folders 11-16 to 13 2)

VII. Meetings; 1967-1973 (Folders 13-3 to 13-8)

VIII. Communications; 1963-1973, 1981 (Folders 13-9 to 15-6)


I. Correspondence: General (Alphabetical & Chronological); 1962-1975

The files in the first (and most voluminous) series contain routine correspondence, including discussion of general YFC matters, reports on YFC work in a particular location, criticism of YFC, speaking engagements, thanks and testimony, contacts with parallel ministries, staff or board member resignations, grant proposals to foundations, congratulations, conference accomodations planning, notes of thanks, and acknowledgement of financial gifts. Wolgemuth's correspondence, while frequently with YFC staff, clergy, and executives of other Christian organizations, is also with lay Christians in the business world.

Note on Arrangement. The first series is subdivided into three subseries. The first was arranged alphabetically by year (Abner, Anderson, and Axwell for 1970, with possible repetition for the same and other names for 1969, 1968, etc.); the second was arranged chronologically (within a particular alphabet letter); many of the documents are annotated in the upper right hand corner, "Bin C." The third subseries is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. While retained as three subseries, their contents are largely similar, with the following distinctives: the first two generally concentrate on an earlier time period (1966-1970) while the third is focused later (1970-1971); the latter also includes more correspondence with Christian organizations, among which are those of which Wolgemuth was a board member; and the seond subseries contains less correspondence of substance. The filing was usually, although not exclusively, done by name of correspondent rather than by the organization represented, particularly in the cases of YFC staff; information on YFC work in a particular city must be accessed under the name(s) of the staff working there.

The following samples illustrate the types of material available in this series:

Folder Description

1-6 Manuscript to Wolgemuth presentation at 1969 NAE meeting, "A Vital Church United."

Report prepared by external evaluation, "Review of Administrative Systems and Procedures."

1-7 Letter (10/12/70) evaluating YFC's fund-raising letters.

1-8 Report on a "Local Rally Direct Mail and Fund-raising Assistance Program" under the cover letter to Stanley Guillaume (10/15/70).

2-13 Correspondence with representatives of Brethren in Christ Missions, Brethren in Christ Church and Messiah College (also see folders 1-4 and 8, 2-4).

2-13 Manuscript for a Dick Hillis article on the benefits of mergers among Christian organizations; covering the article is Wolgemuth's reaction to the article.

Generic constitution for use by area YFC groups.

2-1 "Position Paper of the Committee on Bible Translation."

2-4 One-page biographical sketch of Herbert J. Taylor.

2-4 Materials for the Rochester NY YFC: organizational chart, by-laws, personnel policies and procedures, management policy statement, qualifications for staff, and position descriptions.

2-6 Correspondence regarding the resignation of a recently appointed board member.

3-1 Correspondence with former BGEA staff member, Jerry Beavan, director of the National Communications Council.

3-4 "Evaluation of Public Information Program, 1971 YFCI Midwinter Convention," dated 3/22/71.

Correspondence with COMPRO, a local consulting firm which coordinated YFCI's public information program.

Material from a 1968 meeting of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision and Latin America Mission regarding a Consultation on Evangelism Strategy.

Article written about Wolgemuth and his wife, Grace.

3-7 Correspondence regarding the draft status reclassification of YFC staff, coordinated by EFMA staff member, Floyd Robertson.

"Foreign Missionary Motivation Survey" by Charles H. Troutman.

4-2 1969-1970 fiscal year financial report.

4-8 Correspondence with YFCI staff, Ralph Fry, Director of YFC's Campus Division Field Staff.

5-1 Correspondence, principally with IVCF's John Alexander, principally on the relationships between Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, Youth for Christ, and Inter-Varsity, and ways to encourage cooperation between rather than competion against one another. Included is the 12/15/71 document, "Trail West Agreement" prepared by CCC, the Navigators, and IVCF.

5-8 Draft of MARC's Interpretive Bulletin- Continuing Evangelism in Brazil.

6-7 Reports, minutes, committee lists, information on conventions, press releases and correspondence from National Association of Evangelicals administrators; also some material on NAE's World Relief Commission. Also see folders 6-8 through 10 for similar material. Folders 6-11 and 12 include material on the National Sunday School Association, an NAE affiliate, which Wolgemuth had contact with as a consequence of being on NAE's Youth Commission. Additional information on the NSSA is available in folder 7-1 to 3.

Report from the 1970 Midwest Regional Convention of the American Association of Evangelical Students.

8-5 Correspondence with Wolgemuth's parents and other members of his family.

8-9 Young Life staff directory (1970-1971).

Sprinkled throughout the files are reports on YFC projects and its work in various locations, of which the following are samples, arranged alphabetically:

Program or location Folder

Cleveland YFC, Greater 1-9

Denver YFC 4-6

Grand Rapids YCF 1-9

Fort Wayne (IN) YFC 2-3

Greater Thumb (MI) YFC 3-3

Harrisburg YFC, Greater 1-9

Junior High Pilot Project (David Brock, Fresno) 1-3

Kansas City YFC 5-9

Metro-Maryland YFC 6-3

Michigan Teen Ranch 1-8

New Mexico YFC 1-4,7

Portland (Win Arn) 1-2, 3-2

Range YFC (Minnesota) 1-5

Rochester (NY) YFC 2-1,12,16

Seattle YFC 7-10

Tri-State YFC (Evansville, IN) 1-5

Vancouver YFC 3-6

Washington (DC), Greater 1-10

Wilmington YFC, Greater 1-3,4, 5-3

Winnepeg YFC, Greater 1-5

Winston-Salem YFC 1-4

The series also include correspondence with well-known Christian and government leaders. Among these are:

Correspondent Folder

John Alexander (IVCF) 5-1, 11-1

John B. Anderson, US Representative 2-24

Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) 3-3

Ed Dayton (MARC) 6-2

Ted Engstrom (World Vision) 8-5

David Hubbard (Fuller Seminary) 1-7

Billy Melvin (NAE) 6-7

Lorne Sanny (Navigators) 6-5

Tom Skinner 7-8

Clyde Taylor (EFMA, NAE) 3-7, 6-7


II. Correspondence: Large Donors; 1964-1972

The correspondence in this series is limited to that with major financial contributors. Included are project proposals to foundations, expressions of thanks to organizations and individuals, copies of letters transferring shares of stocks and reports from Wolgemuth on YFC's work. These illustrate the fund raising aspect of Wolgemuth's presidency, and also show the interest in Christian work by lay professionals and business people.


III. YFCI Administration: General; 1963-1972

This series consists of some miscellaneous administrative files, largely correspondence. Included is that relating to financial, administrative operational, or legal aspects of YFC adminstration, along with some with YFC staff. While the folder titles outlined on the container list are sufficiently specific, several items are worthy of mention.

Folder Description

10-4 Telegrams and messages for YFC's 25th anniversary include those from Richard Nixon, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and numerous Christian leaders and YFC staff.

10-9 By-laws of the YFC Mother's Club, an organization of women supporting YFC in their homes heighborhoods and churches.

10-14 Includes YFC constitution, organizational chart, and mission statement, as well as the minutes which identify the folder.

10-16 Information on YFC Teen Teams, which traveled in the United States and throughout the world to provid evangelism training for young people.

10-19 Material on European Outreach '71, a training program for college students to provide an overseas missions experience by assisting YFC staff in Europe.


IV. YFCI Board; 1971-1975

This series consists of routine correspondence with members of the YFC board. Those members included US Representative John Anderson, Richard L. Benware, Paul Brandel, Bill Eakin, Dale Ferrier, Kenneth Gunderson, Kenneth Hopper, Charles Jones, Billy Graham, James Groen, Buford Karraker, Joe Koch Jr., Don Lonie, Jarrell Mc Cracken, Richard I. Osbourne, Bob Pierce, Ray Robinson, William H. Shipley, Fred Smith, and Ben Weiss.


V. YFCI Action Councils; 1968-1974, undated

Action Councils were developed to facilitate YFC planning. Seven councils were established: Growth, Support-Development, Manpower-Recruitment, Training, Visibility (internal communication and public relations), Literature and Alumni Association. Each council was comprised of field staff and the international office department head whose area of responsibility coincided with the council area. Included are council member lists, memos about meetings, and reports from the councils. Specific folders for each council are also available (See Container List). The names in parentheses in the Container List refer to the appropriate department head and do not suggest that any materials contained in the folder are directed to or received from that individual.


VI. YFCI Department Heads; 1965-1977

The correspondence files in this series outline YFC activity at the department level. In some cases the individual advanced to new positions in YFC and the files track this development. The folders are arranged alphabetically by the name of the individual. These individuals and their related department titles are:

Gary Dausey, Leadership & Training. Folder 11-16 includes information on YFC's internship program and Summer Institute of Youth Evangelism.

Vic Glavach, Assistant to the President.

Jay Kesler, Personnel, Field Coordination

Harold Myra, Literature (includes Campus Life)

Paul Robbins, Overseas and Team Divisions, and Operations

Chuck Roost, Lifeline (working with problem youth) and Youth Guidance

Jim Ruggles, Finance and Administration

Paul Van Oss, Executive Director and Development

Ralph Veerman, Youth Guidance


VII. Meetings; 1967-1973

YFC sponsored numerous conferences, several of which this series documents. Those major meetings held during Wolgemuth's administration are outlined in the Container List. The materials in this series include minutes from planning meetings and correspondence about particular aspects of the events; some of the files contain promotional material on the related event as well. Unlike the other events documented, the Jerusalem Conference on Biblical Prophecy was not a YFC meeting, but rather an international conference, studying prophecy and its relation to the present. Wolgemuth was both a member of the Call Committee and a speaker on the topic, "Youth and the End of the Age." Folder 13-6 contains preparatory material and drafts of his paper for the conference.


VIII. Communications; 1963-1973, 1981

The materials in this series consist of items produced for internal communication, promotion, and information. These include an anniversary booklet, publications, brochures, newsletters, a tract, some quiz materials, etc. The booklet in folder 13-9 includes photographs of significant YFC leaders. Folder 14-5 contains the "Quiz Olympics Concordance of Mark and Philippians."

Chic-N-Chatter was a newspaper published "for YFC wives by YFC wives." The publication includes testimonies, reports from throughout the world, scheduled events, book reviews, columns, etc., and illustrate women's involvement in YFC's ministries. Monday Memo was a "bi-weekly publication to the family of Youth for Christ" from Wolgemuth. The prayer letters include those sent to "YFC Intercessors," and those from YFC overseas staff.

Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in October 1982 from Youth for Christ International.

Accession 82-139

April 29, 1988

Paul A. Ericksen

K. Elwell

J. Nasgowitz

J. Watson

Collection 343 Papers of Samuel F. Wolgemuth
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