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Collection 351 Oral History Interview with Burt E. Long

Identifier: CN 351

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Burt E. Long by Wheaton College student Heather Conley in which Long discusses his memories of Paul Rader and the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, his education at Wheaton College, and his decades of services as a medical missionary for Sudan Interior Mission in Niger and Nigeria. The time period covered by the interviews is 1930-1986.

Burt Long was interviewed by Wheaton College student Heather Conley on November 26 and December 3, 1986.


  • Created: 1986

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Burt Elmer Long was born in 1918 In Iowa City, Iowa, the oldest child of Ritchie and Lasca Long. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Carl Schurz High School in 1935. While growing up, he was deeply influenced by evangelical pastors Paul Rader of the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle and Lance Latham of the North side Gospel Center. By that time he had already felt a call to be both a doctor and a missionary. After working for over a year manufacturing leather goods, he enrolled in Wheaton College in 1936. After graduating in 1940 he went to medical school at the University of Illinois College of medicine. He received his M.D. in 1943. In 1945 he married Ruth Hollander, a fellow Wheaton grad. The couple spent some time in St. Louis, where Long was senior surgical resident at the Missouri Baptist Hospital. After a 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. He and Ruth were also deeply involved in the many programs of evangelism carried out at the hospital. In 1965, for example, the hospital had a capacity of 120 beds and activities included four weekly children's clubs, three daily vacation Bible schools, 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. In 1964 Burt was made Chevalier (Knight) of the National Order of Niger because of his medical work. They took furloughs to the United States in 1955, 1960-61, 1965-1966 and 1970-71.

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 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. He also visited other mission hospitals as a supervisor and consultant. Both Burt and Ruth retired in 1984 and returned to Wheaton to live in October. 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. Burt Long passed away on May 1, 2019.


3.00 Audio Tapes

138 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

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

Acc 86-131, 86-133

June 18, 1993

Robert Shuster

K. Cox

Collection 351 Oral History Interview with Burt E. Long
Bob Shuster
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US