Collection 318 Papers of L. Nelson Bell
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, minutes, newspaper clippings, reports, and other documents related to the life and ministry of L. Nelson Bell, first as a medical missionary in China, then as doctor, editor, and lay leader in the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Among the topics covered by the material in the collection are missions in China in the twentieth century between the two world wars; the work of Bell's son-in-law, Billy Graham; the founding and development of Christianity Today and The Presbyterian Journal; the conflict between liberals and conservatives in Protestant Christianity.
- Bright, Bill. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Anyone using the following folders until December 31 of the year fifty (50) years from the oldest document in the folder indicated must sign an agreement that he or she will maintain the confidentiality of these folders. No material in these folders may be copied. Folders 7-4, 7-5, 7-6, 7-7, 8-1, 12-22, 15-18, 17-11, 28-12, 31-12, 31-19, 34-21, 34-22, 47-26, 51-27, 54-1, 54-23, 71-5.
The following folders are closed until after December 31 of the year indicated:
Folder 6-3 is closed until January 1, 2024
Folder 6-12 is closed until January 1, 2022
Folder 6-13 is closed until January 1, 2023
Folder 6-14 is closed until January 1, 2024
Folder 8-2 is closed until January 1, 2024
Folder 8-4 is closed until January 1, 2024
Folder 8-5 is closed until January 1, 2024
Folder 9-3 is closed until January 1, 2024
Folder 9-11 is closed until January 1, 2024
Lemuel Nelson Bell was born July 30, 1894 in Longdale, Virginia, the third child of James Harvey and Ruth Lee McCue Bell. His older siblings were his sister Norma who was born in 1884 (and later married David Norris) and a brother McKim, who was born ca. 1887 and died in 1966. His father was the head of the commissary of the Longdale Mining Company. From both his mother and his father's sides, Nelson (as his friends called him) was descended from families with deep roots in Virginia society. His family was also a devoutly Christian one and belonged to the Presbyterian Church in the United States denomination (PCUS, popularly known as the Southern Presbyterian church).
In 1900 the Bells moved to Waynesboro, Virginia, where James was partner in a store for a while and then became a traveling salesman for men's clothes. Nelson committed his life to Christ in 1906 during an evangelistic service at his church. A few years later, in 1910, he became engaged to a high school classmate of his, Virginia Meyers Leftwich. The following year, after graduating from high school he enrolled at Washington and Lee University with the intention of becoming a lawyer. However, in December 1911 he felt a strong call from God to become a medical missionary. The next year he transferred to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and there joined the medical fraternity Omega Upsilon Psi. For one summer during his college years he worked as salesman of men's clothes, like his father. The following summers from 1913 to 1915 he was a player with the Richmond baseball club of the Virginia League. During his senior year he interned at the College's Memorial Hospital. Virginia enrolled in nurses' training school at St. Luke's Hospital in Richmond and took other courses in Christian work. At the beginning of June 1916, he graduated from the College and at the end of the month he and Virginia were married in Waynesboro. The following month he passed his state medical board examination.
Bell had previously become aware of a request from PCUS missionary Dr. James Baker Wood for an assistant at the hospital mission hospital in the city of Tsingkiangpu (Pinyin romanization: Qingjiangpu) in the province of Kiangsu (Pinyin romanization: Jiangsu), China. He and Virginia applied to the foreign mission committee of the church to become missionaries and were accepted. After a summer during which Nelson opened his first medical practice as resident physician for a mining company in Summerlee, West Virginia, they departed for China and arrived in Shanghai on December 4, 1916. A few days later they moved on to Qingjiangpu. The city had a population of over 100,000 and the area the hospital served contained approximately 3,000,000 people. James Baker Woods ( his Chinese name was Ling Si Hsien San, which means in English "Four Two-Trees" or "Woods") was the head of Ren Si I Uen (Benevolent Compassionate Healing Hall) Hospital. The church development and evangelistic work in the town was led by James and Sophie Graham. China Inland Mission also had workers in the city who cooperated with the Southern Presbyterian missionaries. Besides the work at Qingjiangpu, the doctors also made regular visits to the health clinic at Hwaian (Pinyin romanization: Huain), where James and Aurie Montgomery were missionaries. Over the next decades, Bell would occasionally run the hospital at Haichow (Pinyin romanization: Haizhou) when the doctor there was on furlough or otherwise absent. Among other missionaries who worked with Bell at Qingjiangpu over the years were doctors Kerr Taylor (and his wife Fannie), Sun, Chao, Chi'en, Ts'ao (last two joined staff in late 1920s), Wu (joined ca. 1930), Norman Patterson (1926-1931), Kirk Mosley (and his wife nurse Corrine, 1931-1934), Kenneth Gieser (and his wife Katherine, 1934-1941) and Chalmers Vinson (and his wife Olivert, who arrived in 1940). Other members of the staff over the years included Agnes Woods (nurse), Cassie Lee Oliver (nurse and anesthetist), Eli Liu (male nurse), and Elinor Myers Woods (lab technician from 1931 on). James Reed was an PCUS doctor at Haizhou. Other PCUS missionaries at Qingjiangpu engaged in preaching, teaching and Bible study included Ed and Rosalee Wayland. Miss M. E. Waterman, Miss A. I. Saltmarsh, and Ernest and Geneva Carlburg were all China Inland Mission workers who served in the area. Mr. Kao and Mr. Kang were elders of the church in Qingjiangpu (Kang was the Bells' Chinese language teacher). In 1923, Graham resigned as pastor of the church and a Chinese Christian took over. Every year the hospital had an evangelistic emphasis week. In 1926 the visiting evangelist was Leland Wang. In 1931 it was Andrew Gih. Ed and Gay Currie were PCUS missionaries at Haizhou, joined in 1924 by Ray and Mary Womeldorf. Special mention should be made of Virginia's activities. Besides maintaining the home and educating the children until they were high school age, she also led Bible studies and was in charge of the women's clinic, determining which cases were serious enough for the attention of the doctors. Bell, besides his medical duties, also often preached in the church and went on evangelistic missions.
In October 1917, Bell became temporary administrator of the hospital when Woods went to the United States on a long delayed furlough for two years. The next year the Bells' first child was born, Rosa Wertenbaker. On June 10, 1920 Virginia gave birth to their second daughter, Ruth McCue. Starting that same year Bell began opening dispensaries around the countryside, which increased greatly the number we were able to serve. The dispensaries sent the more serious patients to the hospital. Bell had acquired his Chinese name by this time, Chong Ai Hua, which has been translated into English as "the bell who is a lover of the Chinese people." In the summer of 1921 the missionaries briefly evacuated Qingjiangpu because of threatened violence from large gangs in the area.
In the summer of 1922, the Bells returned to the United States on furlough. One of the churches supporting their ministry in China was the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. Nelson visited there to speak and met a laymen of the church, Benjamin Clayton. Clayton was impressed by Bell's description of the work as well as Bell himself and donated large sums for new buildings and staff over the following years. The tenures of doctors Patterson, Gieser and Vinson were also financed through a fund set up by Clayton. During his furlough, Bell practiced briefly at Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutions to hone his medical and surgical skills. He also took a course from Moody Bible Institute. By September 1923, the Bells were back at Qingjiangpu.
Once he was back, Bell took over Woods' responsibility as medical visitor to the local jail and prison. During the early 1920s, using funds supplied by Clayton, he supervised the addition of a new women's and administration wing to the hospital. Because of the increased use of the hospital by the Chinese and the improved facilities, the hospital was self supporting by the early 1930s. In 1925 the Bells' first son was born, Nelson Jr, but in October of the same year the baby died of amoebic dysentery.
The next year Woods returned to the United States because of illness and remained for some time. In his absence Bell was the superintendent of the hospital. The next year in April the missionaries evacuated the city to avoid the advancing Nationalist armies. The Bells went to Shanghai and then returned to the United States on furlough. They stayed in Waynesboro until the birth of their daughter Virginia in June. (She was nicknamed MaiMai and Giniong.) For the next six months Bell served as assistant pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Houston. Then for four months after that he was head of surgery at a hospital in Holden, West Virginia. At the end of 1928 the family returned to China.
When he returned, Bell and Dr. Ts'ao became quite well known in the Chinese medical community for their successful treatment of cases of kala-azar (black fever) with the drug stibosan. In the summer of 1930 there was another brief evacuation of Qingjiangpu by the missionaries. Woods had returned in 1929 and was heading the medical work, while Bell headed the surgical and administrative work. In 1931, the mission closed its boys school because of the demand of the government that it be registered and the possibility that it would have to eliminate the Christian message from the curriculum. At about the same time Bell resisted efforts to turn over the hospital to Chinese nationals, feeling that Western expertise was still needed. He supported, however, the transfer of leadership positions in the local church to Chinese. At about the same time he was a leading critic of the report Rethinking Missions published by the Laymen's Foreign Mission Inquiry, which characterized medical missions as inefficient and inept. Bell's own medical reputation was high in both China and the United States. In 1934 became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
The Bell children were educated at home by Virginia until 1932. In that year Rosa was sent to a Christian school for Western children in Pyengyang, Korea. Ruth followed her there in 1934. In December another child was added to the family when Benjamin Clayton (nicknamed Didi) was born. The family returned to the United States on furlough in 1935 and lived in Montreat, North Carolina, where the girls went to school. In August 1936, all the Bells returned to China except for Rosa, who enrolled at Wheaton College as a freshman.
There had been fighting and "incidents" between the Japanese and Chinese for years, but all-out conflict broke out in 1937. At the insistence of the American government, the missionaries evacuated Qingjiangpu in 1937 to avoid advancing Japanese troops. In October, Ruth sailed back to the United states to enroll in Wheaton College. The next month the Bells returned to Qingjiangpu. When the city was occupied by the Japanese in February 1939, Bell was able to persuade them to allow the missionaries to continue their work. In April of the same year, the family returned to the United States for a brief furlough. When they returned in September, they took Rosa back with them, since she was having health problems and they wanted to personally care for her. Rosa returned to the United States in May the next year. The Bells enrolled their daughter Virginia in the school in Korea in September but she had to return a few weeks later when the school was closed because of wartime conditions. In May of 1941, the entire family went back to the United States on furlough.
The family settled in Montreat again, after a visit to Ruth in Wheaton. (Montreat was also the site of the conference grounds of the PCUS, called the Mountain Retreat Association. Bell served on the board of the MRA for many years.) During the summer Billy Graham, a classmate of Ruth's in whom she was romantically interested, came to Montreat to meet the family. They married in August 1943 and Ruth lived with the Bells while Graham served as the traveling vice president of Youth for Christ in 1944 and 1945. Later the Grahams bought a nearby house in Montreat. Bell, realizing that because of the possibility of war between the United States and Japan it would be unwise to return to China, opened a surgical practice in the Asheville-Montreat area, with an office in Swannanoa. He eventually became assistant chief of staff at the Asheville Memorial Hospital. For several years he had become increasingly concerned about what he saw as liberal trends within his Presbyterian denomination. To help combat these trends he founded in March 1942 with five others a publication entitled The Southern Presbyterian Journal (renamed The Presbyterian Journal in 1959 when G. Aiken Taylor replaced Rev. Henry B. Dendy as editor.) In the decades that followed he was one of the primary shapers of the Journal, which was probably the most important voice for conservatives within the denomination. Bell resigned from the Journal in 1971 because of the role Taylor and the board were taking in forming a new Presbyterian church in reaction to the ultimately successful movement of liberal elements in the PCUS to unite it with other Prsbyterian denominations.
After the end of World War II, the Bells were kept from returning to China by Nelson's bursitis and family responsibilities, as well as discouraging reports from missionaries and Chinese Christians. The 1949 victory of the Communists in the Chinese civil war put a permanent end to any hopes the Bells had of returning. In 1948 Bell was elected a member of the PCUS' Board of World Missions. (C. Darby Fulton, a former missionary and old friend, was the executive secretary.) Bell continued to serve on the board, with one brief interruption in 1957-1958, until 1966. He was chairman of the Fields Committee 1949-1950, 1958-1966 and on the Executive Committee from 1964-1966. He also served on the Committee on Overseas Relief and Inter-Church Aid from 1962-1963. During this time period, he frequently traveled to the various mission fields to visit the workers there and see conditions first hand. For example, he visited Brazil, Africa and Europe in 1949, went around the world by way of Taiwan in 1951, saw Brazil in 1956, Korea in 1959, Japan and Korea in 1962, Palestine in 1963, and the Far East in 1964. He was very active in his local church and was twice elected moderator of the Asheville Presbytery. Starting in 1941, he regularly taught a Sunday school class at the local Presbyterian church. Eventually his lessons became a radio program broadcast to North Carolina and the adjoining states. From the late 40s on Bell was one of the main leaders of the opposition to continuing efforts to effect a merger between the PCUS and the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
A heart attack in 1950 caused Bell to cut back on his responsibilities somewhat. However new claims on his energies soon developed. His son-in-law Billy Graham was developing a nationwide ministry as an evangelist and Bell became not only a member of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's board of directors, but also an extremely influential personal advisor and trouble shooter for the preacher. Bell had for some time wanted to start a journal that would serve as a mouthpiece for conservative Protestant clergy in the United States, and present articles of Fundamentalist-Evangelical views in an intellectually respectable manner to Christian clergy across the theological spectrum. Other Evangelical leaders, including Graham, were discussing similar ideas. In 1954 Bell together with Graham began planning such a journal, to be entitled Christianity Today. J. Howard Pew, was one major backer, H. Maxey Jarmen was another. Theologian Carl F. Henry was selected to be editor. The first issue was published in 1956 and sent to all Protestant clergy in the country. Bell served as executive editor until his death, for many years flying up to the Washington, D.C. office of the magazine every other week. He regularly wrote a column for the periodical called "A Layman and His Faith." Two volumes of compilations of these columns were published, Convictions to Live By in 1966 and While Men Slept in 1970. Bell received seven awards from the conservative Freedom's Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for articles and editorials. In 1964 he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by King College in Tennessee.
Bell had had another heart attack in November 1955 which caused him to retired from his medical practice. In January 1963 he suffered a slight stroke and in October of that year a fall in his home caused him to have headaches. There was a third heart attack in 1965 and a fourth together with a minor stroke in March 1966. These health problems forced him to cut back his schedule. Virginia also suffered strokes in 1968 and 1969 and Bell dedicated much of his time to caring for her. Still, he remained extremely active with his church work, magazine responsibilities, and assistance to Graham. He maintained as well an extremely wide correspondence with other Christian leaders and frequently wrote to government officials or American opinion leaders about issues related to Christianity in the United States or China or conservative political opinions. The English author John Pollock had interviewed him and gone through his papers to prepare an authorized biography of Bell entitled A Foreign Devil in China, which was published by Zondervan Publishers in 1971. (A subsidiary of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association also published an edition of the book the same year.) Also in 1971 he was appointed to his denomination's new Council on Evangelism. The following year Bell was elected moderator of his denomination on the second ballot, with 221 for him and the 212 votes split among his three opponents. (He had previously been nominated for the position in 1953 and 1955.) He succeeded Dr. Ben Lacy Rose. As moderator Bell was the executive head of the denomination. The PCUS was split into theological factions by the merger negotiations with the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, which provoked the threatened withdrawal of conservatives (including the editorial board of The Presbyterian Journal) as a consequence. The new conservative denomination was formed as the National Presbyterian Church in 1973, renamed in 1974 as the Presbyterian Church in America. (The PCUS and UPCUSA merged in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (USA)). Bell attempted during his term to maintain the unity and fellowship of the denomination, as well as place a greater emphasis on evangelism. He served the customary one year in office and retired after the 113th General Assembly of the church in June 1973. He was succeeded by Dr. Charles Kraemer. Two months later he died in his sleep. Virginia followed him the next year.
Rosa married C. Donald Montgomery in 1945, an engineer who worked for the Atomic Energy Commission. Virginia married John N. Somerville and they both went to Korea as missionaries in 1953, where John became a professor at Taejon Christian College. Benjamin (usually called Clayton) married Margaret Anne Alexander in 1954 and was ordained in the Presbyterian church in 1958. He became pastor of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas in July 1973.
39.5 Cubic Feet (79 Boxes (DC), Oversize Material, Phonograph Records, Photographs )
Language of Materials
Arrangement of Materials
The materials in this collection are Bell's own files as they were received by the Archives. They are apparently in the order in which he maintained them in the last years of his life. Although the materials have been placed in acid-free folders, the folder titles are almost entirely his own. The archivist formally arranged the folders into five series that Bell or his secretary seem to have informally maintained: China (Boxes 1-5); Personal (Boxes 6-10); the Bob Jones Sr. controversy (Boxes 11-12); General Correspondence (Boxes 12-61); and PCUS (Boxes 61-79). As will be apparent from this scope and content description, there is a great deal of overlap between the series. The General Correspondence series has an enormous amount of material about the Presbyterian Church as well as other materials that would fit equally well in the other series. The descriptions that follow will attempt to indicate some of this overlap. Also, it must be emphasized that this is just a general guide. Bell maintained correspondence with a very wide range of people and it is impossible to do more than give a general indication of the contents of his files for the study of China missions, the Presbyterian Church in the United States, Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, and postwar America. Only by actually going through the files can the researcher appreciate their richness and range. Most of the documents in these files are correspondence, but there are also reports; minutes; newspaper and magazine clippings; the manuscripts for speeches, articles and the book A Foreign Devil in China; medical case files, and miscellaneous items. It should be noted that there is nothing in the collection from Bell's life before 1925, that is his childhood, education, and first years in China. There are also very few letters or other records from the years between Bell's return from China in 1939 and the start of Christianity Today magazine in 1956.
Series I: China Materials (Boxes 1-5)
The materials in this series consist of two types of documents: items created between 1925 and 1941 while the Bells were in China and items relating to the book John Pollock wrote about Bell's missionary experience, including a typescript manuscript of the book and fan mail to Bell from readers. The bulk of the material that actually dates from the China years are letters by Bell or his wife Virginia (and a few by their daughters) to family, friends and supporters in the United States (folders 1-1 to 2-5). Most of the letters are typed and some are two pages or more in length. They describe in detail everyday life at the mission hospital; examples of the response of individuals to the Gospel; prison ministry; evangelistic campaigns; news about the various missionaries, hospital staff and Chinese Christians; and political and social events in China. Bell's letters to his mother also have many references to political and other events in the United States, particuarly the Great Depression and the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt. There are also some letters to Bell from other missionaries (usually PCUS missionaries) around China describing conditions in their area. Occasionally there is an official letter to the mission board back in the United States, such as one from 1931 (folder 1-4) which requests that the board reverse a recent decision about furlough policy. One of the folders for 1938 (folder 2-1) also contains a news bulletin issued by the church about the effect on the Sino-Japanese war on the mission's work. Among the topics for which there is information in many of these letters are: the development of the church in Jiangsu province and, to a lesser extent, the rest of China; the joy, trials, and tensions of missionary life; military conflict between Chiang Kai-shek, the warlords, and the Chinese Communists; the war with Japan (including the Mukden incident of 1931, the Shanghai incident of 1932, the fighting around Qingjiangpu and its occupation in 1939); reaction of missionaries in general and Bell in particular to the criticism of the Laymen's Foreign Mission Inquiry and author Pearl Buck (folder 1-6); and the contrast in culture and outlook between the Chinese and the Westerners. Worthy of special mention is a detailed description of the murder of John and Elisabeth Stam by Communist troops in December 1934 in a letter dated January 2, 1935 by Howard Van Dyck of the Christian Alliance Mission (folder 1-8). A copy of the will of John Stam's father Peter is contained in 51-10, which includes correspondence with John's brother Jacob. Folder 2-5 contains some letters that Bell wrote when he had returned to the United States, touching on plans to continue his missionary service after the war with Japan and, later, materials dealing with the question of reparations for buildings and equipment nationalized by the Communists when they took control of the region. (Further correspondence on reparation from the 1960s is in folders 18-16 and 61-12).Folder 1-1 also contains a very early letter of Ruth McCue Bell to her grandmother. Someone has written "1923?" on the letter, but since in it Ruth refers to seeing her grandmother's house, which she probably did during the family's furlough in the United States in 1928, the letter is probably after that date.
Besides the letters, there are some other documents from the period. Folder 2-8 contains several printed annual reports for the hospital which list the staff, describe the work of the various departments, narrate the evangelism programs and recount any other relevant information. These reports usually include photographs of the activities and staff and detailed statistics on types of health problems treated. The same folder contain printed copies of the minutes of the 1935 and 1940 annual meetings of the North Kiangsu PCUS missionaries, in which reports on all the mission's activities in the area are included and decisions for the upcoming year are recorded. More specific information on the hospital's work can be found in folder 2-6. This contains the actual case records of dozens of patients, almost all of them written up by Bell. They date from 1929 to 1934. Perhaps they are files Bell took with him on a furlough to the United States to consult with other doctors or use them as samples of the kind of work done by the hospital. Each case file gives brief particulars of the patient's medical history, family background, illness, and course of treatment. Also in the folder is a manuscript of an article Bell wrote about work at the hospital and a handwritten notebook with entries on the weekly totals in columns labeled "Patients," "Injections," and "Medicine." Several pages have "Neostibosay" or a variant word at the top. Stibosan was the drug used at the hospital for black fever. The entries run from March 1934 to May 1942. The name G. N. Montgomery is written in the front cover.
The rest of the series consists of the manuscript of A Foreign Devil in China (folders 5-6, 5-7) and a voluminous set of letters from readers, along with Bell's response in most cases (folders 3-1 to 5-4). The manuscript is a photocopy. It is very close to the published 1971 version, but there are differences in style and content. The text from which the coy was made include corrections and changes in several hands, including that of Ruth Bell Graham. Correspondence of Bell with Pollock about all aspects of Bell's life up to that point and information on the plans for the book are in folder 42-13. (See also folder 9-6.) Folder 6-11 also has information on the development of the book. Information on the production of the book is in folder 55-24. The letters from readers are of many different types: little children, former China missionaries, supporters of Billy Graham. Almost all letters from readers are complimentary and many contain a good bit of information about the letter writer's own Christian experience. If the writer had any connection with China missions or with Bell's family, the writer usually described it in detail. Several writers also gave their opinion of Billy Graham's ministry, his friendship with then president Richard Nixon, and Nixon's recent visit to China. There are even a few readers who wrote asking for medical advice. Most of these letters were answered with the standard form letter contained in folder 2-9. Usually Bell would write a few comments on the envelope the letter came in which would be added to the form reply in order to personalize the letter the reader's own situation. In several cases he replied in more detail.
The personal and general correspondence series also have letters from many people who had read the book about Bell. They also contains a number of other files relating to China. For example, Bell often heard from or wrote to missionaries or Chinese Christians whom he had known in China. Most of these, by the time of this correspondence, had like Bell returned to the United States. This category of individuals included, among others, August Craig (folder 21-14), Kenneth Gieser (folder 26-17), Andrew Gih (folder 26-19), James Graham (folder 27-11, also 51-28), Nora Lam (folder 32-16), W. C. MacLauchlin (folder 35-22), James Montgomery (folder 37-8), Kirk Mosley (folder 38-21), Leland Wang (folder 53-19), Raymond Womeldorf (folder 54-39), Elizabeth Woodbridge (folder 55-2) and James Woods (folder 55-4). Several files contain letters to and from Bell about the United States' policy toward China, particularly under the Nixon administration (folders 9-11, 18-12, 31-4, 34-1, 34-3, 34-14, 39-15, 51-21 and 53-3). Also of interest is Bell's correspondence with Madam Chiang Kai-shek and the Taiwanese ambassador to the United States (folders 18-15, 51-21, 52-17). Naturally, there are also many letters about the church in China or evangelistic work among Chinese people in other parts of the world. A few examples: a letter from James Dickinson in 22-13 contains a description of missions in China immediately after the end of the war with Japan; reports from evangelist Harry Liu about his meetings in Tibet, Hong Kong and India; the work of evangelist Leland Wang among Chinese Americans (folders 33-24 and 53-19); a report about the migration of Chinese Presbyterians from China to Brazil (folder 38-20); Bell's opinion of Watchman Nee and Watchman Lee (folder 39-6); discussion of the implication for Christians of the Chinese habit of bowing to venerated persons (folder 42-6); the work of the Union Board for Christian Colleges in China after the expulsion of missions from China (folder 52-35); reports on the situation of Christian in China in the late 1950s (folder 54-27) and Yu-Tang Daniel Lew's plan for building a national cathedral Taiwan. A report in folder 52-36 describes the condition of the Hwaiyain hospital in 1946. Bell gives some examples of demon possession which he witnessed in China in folder 23-1. A few of the other files with interesting material about China include 14-15, 29-19, 41-7, 46-18, 46-19, 47-23, 51-11, 51-21, and 54-7.
Series II: Personal Materials (Boxes 5-10)
This series consists of the files in Bell's papers that were marked "personal." Most of them are concerned with family matters, but there are also some items relating to his medical practice, the Sunday school class he taught for over thirty years and the counseling ministry he carried on largely by correspondence with a multitude of people around the country. Many letters in the general correspondence series are also to family and close friends.
Much of the material consists of a network of family correspondence, at the center of which was Bell and his wife Virginia. Folders 6-7 to 6-14 contain their letters to their children (by which they meant as well their sons-in law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and very close friends). Some of these folders also include distribution lists showing to whom the letters went. Often Bell would write one master letter which would then be copied and sent off to all the children. They describe all the events going on in his and Virginia's life. As might be expected, about seventy-five percent of the contents (if not more) is concerned with family events. (Note: sometimes in the correspondence, the terms "laoniang" and "laoi" are used, the Chinese terms for "grandmother" and "grandfather".)
Numerous other folders in this series contain correspondence with a particular family members. There are several letters to and from Bell's wife, Virginia, in folder 6-5. Other family member with their own file include Clayton Bell (son, folder 6-3), J. McKim Bell (brother, 6-4), Ruth Bell Graham Dienert (granddaughter, 8-2), Ruth Bell Graham (daughter, 8-5), Charles Leftwich (brother-in-law, 8-10), Ernest Leftwich (brother-in-law, 8-10), Gillis MacKinnon (nephew, 8-11), Rosa Montgomery (daughter, 9-3), Norma Norris (sister, 9-4), David Norris (nephew, 9-4), George Raser (nephew, 9-8), Virginia Somerville (daughter, 9-10, 9-11). Folder 8-4 contains some additional family correspondence. Among others, general correspondence folders 15-3, 19-18 to 20-1, 23-10, 26-16, 35-7, 37-8, 48-17, 51-24 also contain letters to and from family and friends. Folder 31-1 contains letter about Bell's efforts to help the family maid, Zennie Jones.
Folder 8-13 contains materials relating to Bell's medical practice and professional interests. There are brochures on new drugs, schedules of fees, and articles on surgical treatment for a variety of illnesses and injuries. Also in this folder are letter to, from and about patients and former patients concerning details of their treatment when Bell was their doctor. There are also a few files with reports on Bell's own health and illnesses (folders 8-7, 8-8, 9-1). Folder 8-12 contains correspondence with the Mayo clinic about Bell's own treatment there and about people he referred there.
There are related files in the general correspondence section, such as Bell's correspondence with the American Medical Association (folder13-7) the American College of Surgeons (folder 13-5), and the Christian Medical Society (folders 18-6, 49-22, 49-62, 49-62, 50-15, 62-4). The last folder contains as well information on the origins of CMS. Also of interest is the material in folder 13-1 which deals with his irritation at the campaign against fluoridation. Bell often contacted legislators or other government officials about laws relating to medicine. Material on his opposition to Medicare in particular and "socialized" medicine in general can be found in folders 21-5, 31-2, 47-11, 48-14, and 51-35. He also was strongly opposed to what he saw as the anti-Christian bias of the World Health Organization, as illustrated by materials in 53-16. An interesting paper in folder 53-13 outlines a Christian approach to psychiatric care. Folder 54-6 contains material relating to a forward he wrote for a book about natural childbirth. Some of the other folders with materials relating to Bell's medical interests include 27-8, 28-16, 28-7, 32-8, 33-18, 35-17, 35-31, 40-15, 47-4, 49-9, 49-64, 50-30, 62-4. In addition, many of the files dealing with Presbyterian missions and the Pew Foundation touch on Bell's active involvement in efforts to provide funds, supplies and personnel for mission hospitals, particularly in Korea.
The bulk of the remaining files (folders 7-2 through 8-1) in this series are counseling letters that Bell wrote to people, generally total strangers, who contacted him to ask for advice and help with spiritual and/or moral problems. Most of these people knew of Bell from his leadership in the PCUS or from one of his speaking engagements or from reading A Foreign Devil in China. Some of them wrote about personal problems, others about questions they had about the Bible or the Presbyterian church. Some wrote to him about the way that Christians should act in a non-Christian world. In almost all cases, Bell's reply is attached to the original letter. These letters provide an interesting sample of the views and problems of average Christians. There are similar letters dealing with questions about the Bible in the files of materials relating to Bell's Sunday school class (folder 10-2, 10-3). Folder 8-5 has letters Ruth Graham received from a comparable variety of people. In addition, there are hundreds of letters in the general correspondence files of a counseling nature, again often from complete strangers. Bell's activities as a frequent writer and speaker are also reflected in this series. Besides the material about his Sunday school class, folder 9-12 has the text of some of his speeches and folders 6-1 and 9-5 articles and pamphlets he wrote. All these files deal with religious issues such as the place of God in history, revelation, facing death, liberal vs. conservative Christianity, etc. There are also a number of speeches that deal with social and political topics as well, such as ones about the appropriateness of civil disobedience, the Church's reaction to poverty, whether a Roman Catholic should be elected president, the spiritual aspects of Watergate, the growth of government influence and power in regard to education, etc. There are also several manuscripts that deal with dissention within the Southern Presbyterian Church. There is an interesting memorandum in the Miscellaneous file (folder 9-2) that describes Bell's objections to the proposed union between the Southern and Northern Presbyterian churches. Other pamphlets, speeches or articles of Bell's can be found in 13-21, 20-11, 24-3, 25-17, 41-4, 47-12, 52-33, 53-8, 53-13, 64-16, and 65-9). In addition, almost all of boxes 49 and 50 in the general correspondence section consists of folders with information about various of Bell's speaking engagements between 1958 and 1973. Some of these folders also contain the text or a summary of his remarks. The subseries of Presbyterian Journal materials (folders 72-5 through 75-24) contains several of the articles and editorials he wrote for that magazine. Folder 54-15 contains some of the readers reaction to his book While Men Slept, which was a compilation of his articles from Christianity Today. Information about a film in which Bell participated and which contained his testimony as to his faith in Christ is contained in folder 12-23.
Although this section is mainly concerned with personal matters, it contains material on other topics as well. Here some of the subjects for which there is information: conditions, particularly for the missionary, in Korea (folders 6-7, 6-8, 9-10, 9-11), Palestine (folder 6-8), Taiwan (folders 6-5, 6-8), Japan (folder 6-8), and Hong Kong (folder 6-8); Graham's 1955 London crusade and reactions to his other crusades (folders 6-7, 6-9, 6-11, 6-12, 6-14, 8-2, 8-12, 9-10); Bell's travels across the country on various speaking engagements (folders 6-7, 6-8, 9-12); the early days of Christianity Today (folder 6-7); his involvement with and developments at his denomination's General Assemblies and Board of Missions (folders 6-1, 6-7, 6-10, 6-11, 6-14, 9-2, 9-12); visits to the White House (folder 6-8); family contacts with Nixon (folders 6-9, 6-11, 6-14, 8-2); developments at the Presbyterian Journal (folders 6-11). Folder 6-11 has an interesting description by Bell of his attendance at a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting. Ruth Graham's folder (folder 8-5) includes reports on Billy Graham's 1960 evangelistic tour of Europe and his meeting with Karl Barth as well as a letters about Graham's 1973 Korea crusade and the typescript of an article by her entitled "Homemaking is a God-appointed Task."
Series III: Bob Jones Correspondence (Boxes 11-12)
The letters and materials in these files (mostly letters and copies of letters) are almost all related to the impassioned correspondence between Bell and evangelist and educator Bob Jones Sr. Jones had long been one of the major leaders of American Protestant Fundamentalism. Billy Graham had gone to Bob Jones College for one semester as a young man and in the early days of his ministry Jones had been a supporter. However as Graham gained nationwide attention for his citywide crusades, Jones became increasing critical of him for associating with pastors and others Jones considered nonbelievers. (Graham, on the other hand, often said that he would accept support from anyone as long as no restrictions were placed upon what he could preach.) In 1957, at the time of Graham's New York crusade, his longest and one of the most heavily prepared for and publicized, Jones criticized Graham for being untrue to the faith. Bell commented on Jones criticisms in The Southern Presbyterian Journal and this led to the bitter correspondence in this series. Besides the letters between Bell and Jones, there is correspondence from co-workers of Jones at Bob Jones University, such as the members of the Bob Jones University Board of Trustees (folder 11-5) or the BJU's attorney James Price (folder 12-3). Additional letters to and from faculty, staff and students can be found in folder 12-5. Then there are several letters to Bell from students and former students of BJU supporting Jones or criticizing him for his attacks on Graham (folders 12-9 to 12-11). There are also letters from prominent Fundamentalist leaders such as William Ward Ayer (folder 11-3), Charles T. Cook (folder 11-8), R. T. Ketchum (folder 11-21), G. Archer Weniger (folder 12-13), and J. Elwin Wright (folder 12-5). The Weniger file is of interest as well because it contains a rare letter from Graham explaining his methods of mass evangelism. Some letters, such as those in folders 11-27, 11-28, and 12-6, also refer to John R. Rice's part in the controversy as an ally of Jones. Other folders, such as 11-27, 12-13 contain material on the opposition of some Fundamentalists to Graham's 1958 San Francisco Crusade. This series also contains a few letters earlier and later than 1957. For example, folder 11-27 has correspondence about the controversy stirred up by a 1966 newspaper article quoting Bell as criticizing Jones and there is some correspondence of Jones's from 1950 with Jean Graham (Billy's sister) about whether she should attend BJU.
There is a great deal of information about the criticism of Graham by Jones and other Fundamentalists in other parts of the collection. Here are some examples: reactions to Jones' comments on the 1957 New York Crusade (folder 13-1), the reaction of British Christians to the controversy (folder 22-21). Also of interest is the material in folder 26-17 which concerns criticism from John R. Rice and the material about attacks from Carl McIntire in folders 15-15, 35-20, 46-31. Other material can be found in folders 15-14, 15-15, 22-5, 26-6, 48-13, 51-1, 51-22, 51-33, 53-18, 69-12, 69-13.
Series IV: General Correspondence (Boxes 12-61)
This series contains most of the documents in the collection. The files relate to all of Bell's interests, including his involvement in and deep commitment to the Presbyterian Church in the United States, particularly on its Board of World Missions; his unofficial position as advisor and confidant to his son-in-law Billy Graham; his work at Christianity Today and The Southern Presbyterian Journal; his close involvement with businessman and philanthropist J. Howard Pew; his (Bell's) opposition to liberal political and especially liberal theological trends in the United States and elsewhere; his frequent speaking engagements; and his concern over such issues as race relations in the United States, national political campaigns, and United States foreign policy, particularly as related to Communism. For most letters of the alphabet, there is a general folder which contains all the correspondence with people whose name begins with that letter and who do not have a folder of their own. In a few cases, such as 46-18 and 46-19, theses letter were put into two or more folder because they could not comfortably fit into one. The letters in these files are arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent. In some case where a file only had one or two letters, the archivist put the correspondence in the general folder of the corresponding letter of the alphabet.
Materials in this series that relate to Bell's mission service in China, his participation in the PCUS (including his part in the founding and running of The Presbyterian Journal), family matters, and his controversy with the Bob Jones are described elsewhere with the other relevant series descriptions. This description will deal with the other material in series IV. The boxes 55-61 contain copies of Bell's outgoing correspondence from 1959 (with a few letters from 1955) until his death, arranged in strict chronological order. Apparently Bell's secretary kept two files, one by subject and one by date. Many of the letters in these chronological files duplicate those in other files in the series, but there are other letters that can be found only here.
Subseries A. Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
The letters in this section reflect how much of Bell's time was taken up with assisting his son-in-law and daughter in one way or another. Bell helped look after Graham's health, advised him on his ministry, served on the Board of the BGEA, often replied to letters addressed to Graham, and dealt with some critics that Graham preferred not to respond to.
Some files contain material about Graham's early career, such as the information on his 1949 Los Angeles crusade in 33-16 and Graham's own report on his 1946 visit to Great Britain in folder 54-13. There are brief informal reports in many, many letters, either from or to Bell, on particular evangelistic crusades that Graham was holding. The following are a few examples: the 1954 and 1955 meetings in England (folder 14-12, reported by the Bishop of Barking; other materials in 6-7 and 6-9), the 1955 Scotland meeting (folder 34-2), the 1957 New York meetings (folders 15-14, 30-2, 35-2, 36-12), Graham's visit to various college campuses in 1957 (folder 64-11), the 1958 San Francisco meetings (folders 15-14, 15-15, 22-8), the 1960 tour of Europe (folder 8-5), the 1960 evangelistic rally in Rio de Janeiro (folders 15-8, 39-8), the 1962 Chicago meetings (folder 48-13), Graham's 1966 address to the American Bible Society (folder 13-4), the 1967 Tokyo crusade (folder 35-19), the Seoul, Korea meetings of 1973 (folder 29-20, also 8-5).
As a member of the BGEA board, Bell was in frequent correspondence with other members, such as Maxey Jarmen (folder 30-16), Charles Pitts (folder 42-10), Jacob Stam (folder 51-10), and Carl Weisiger (folder 54-3). (often he was corresponding with them about other than BGEA-related matters). He also was in touch with some of the major members of the BGEA staff, such as Lane Adams (folder 12-18), Jerry Beavan (folder 14-3), advertising executives Walter F. Bennett (folder 15-9) and Fred Dienert (folder 23-10), Willis Haymaker (folder 28-17), Larry Love (folder 33-34), Bob Root (folder 46-8), soloist George Beverly Shea (folder 47-18), coordinator of BGEA films and later crusade director Walter F. Smyth (folder 48-13), evangelist John Wesley White 54-16), and business manager George Wilson (folder 54-30). Most of this correspondence is very short and deals with various details or specific problems. There is also some correspondence with the Navigators about the program they developed for the BGEA for counseling during a crusade and following up with converts afterwards (folder 39-5). Folder 55-11 contains some letter to and from the BGEA subsidiary World Wide Pictures about people's response to their films. There is additional information about the film ministry in 42-10 and 48-13.
As physician, Bell would keep an eye on Graham's health and when the evangelist was sick would advise him on treatment. People would also write to him to ask about Graham's health. Some correspondence about this aspect of their relationship can be found in 14-3, 15-2, and 26-17, among other folders.
Bell also often replied to letters for Graham. In the early years of the BGEA he would correspond with people who wrote in to ask the evangelist about spiritual questions and personal problems. (The BGEA later would develop a large and sophisticated counseling division to handle these types of inquiries.) Some of Bell's responses to this type of letter can be found in folders 15-14 and 15-15. Other times people wrote in to criticize Graham's method of evangelism. The evangelist made it a policy early on not to become involved in controversy, but Bell would sometimes act as his surrogate. Materials relating to Bob Jones Sr.'s attacks on Graham for what was called ecumenical evangelism are described above in series III. Folders 15-14 and 15-15 contain some samples of replies to other criticisms of theology or method. Some other examples of criticism to which Bell responded: an early editorial in an Asheville paper equating Graham with healing evangelist Oral Roberts and doubting the value of his work (folder 12-15); critique of Graham from the perspective of the liberal Protestant journal Christian Century (folder 18-22); William Culbertson's questions about Graham not identifying himself as a Fundamentalist (folder 22-5); an attack on Graham for perceived Arminianism (folder 34-7); the cost of Graham's home (folder 34-3); Graham's policy of holding integrated meetings and his relations with Roman Catholics (folder 41-10); Bible translator J. B. Philips' comments on his disagreement with the overuse of guilt in evangelism (folder 42-4); attack on Graham for perceived liberal theology (folder 42-6); correspondence on the same topic with W. C. Moore, editor of The Herald of His Truth (folder 38-13); correspondence with A.W. Tozer about his unwillingness to publicly defend Graham against Fundamentalist criticism (folder 52-24); the views of a moderate Fundamentalist (folder 53-24); Graham's association with U.S. presidents and his failure to oppose the war in Vietnam (folder 54-18, also 48-12). Bell was also constantly acting as an advisor and trouble shooter for Graham. Among the many samples in his correspondence are his letters to John Bonnell about the problems that Bonnell's percieved theological liberalism might cause for the 1955 Scotland crusade (folder 16-9); his involvement with Carl Henry and others in Graham's investigation into the desirability of the founding a new Christian university (folder 23-22); consideration of the desirability of Nelson Rockefeller being involved in the 1957 New York Crusade (folder 36-12); reply to a woman who wanted to write a biography of Graham (folder 46-9); Bell's correspondence with Wilson-Haffenden about the conversion of John French at the 1954 London meetings (folder 54-35; see also 25-22, 25-23). Also of interest is folder 54-40 in which Bell talks about his policy of not using his influence to persuade Graham accept particular invitations.
A few miscellaneous items relating to Graham: forms and reports from the 1963 Asheville crusade (folder 13-23); correspondence with a seminary student who wanted to help with a Graham crusade because of the experience it would afford for practical evangelism (folder 16-31); explanation of Graham's support for prayer in public schools (folder 20-8); testimonies from people who were saved during the television broadcasts of the 1958 San Francisco meetings (folder 22-4); correspondence about Richard Wurmbrand (folder 55-13); reports on the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism (folders 24-19, 46-3, 51-10, 69-11); and Bell's part on getting financial assistance for Taejon Presbyterian College in Korea from the BGEA (folder 51-26). Other files with material about Graham or the BGEA include 16-27, 21-4, 23-15, 28-6, 29-30, 34-1, 34-2, 34-8, 38-22, 41-11, 42-11, 52-2, 55-1, 55-3, 55-25, 56-25, and 71-4.
Subseries B. Christianity Today (CT).
One project on which Graham and Bell worked together for many years was the magazine Christianity Today. At about the same time in 1954, both men were struck with a need for a magazine that would present faithfully the conservative theological Protestant viewpoint in an intellectually rigorous fashion to the world, especially to pastors of all shades of theological belief. Bell was certainly influenced by his experience in creating the Southern Presbyterian Journal to represent conservative opinion within the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Bell served as the executive editor of the magazine from its first issue until his death. There is a great deal of information in the general correspondence section on the early planning for CT, the recruitment of staff and contributors, the development of policy, the raising of funds to support the magazine in its early days, and the reactions to the magazine by readers. Much of this information, particularly on the origins of the magazine, is concentrated in folders 18-29 to 19-11. This includes information on Bell's original plans for the magazine (folder 19-8), the starting up process, and lists of people who the staff and board helped would be contributors. Especially interesting are folders 18-29, 19-1 and 19-2. These contain many, many letters that Bell sent to Fundamentalist and Evangelical leaders and scholars (mostly in the United States, but a few in other countries) telling them about the new publication and asking for their help and advice. In many cases, the responses are also in these folders and they contain interesting information about the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the Evangelical movement at that time. Similar letters from 1955 and 1956 are scattered throughout the collection. Folder 14-14 contains some interesting comments by well known preacher and writer Donald Barnhouse Sr. on the new magazine. Also of interest are the letters of American Mercury publisher Ralph Maguire with his advice on starting a magazine (folder 34-11). Folders 14-12 and 51-13 contains a letter from Graham outlining what he saw as the purposes of the magazine.
Besides Bell and Graham, another person who played a major role in shaping the magazine was J. Howard Pew. who served on the board. Folders 41-17 to 41-19 contain Bell's correspondence. These letters are not all about CT, but a large portion of them are and they provide a great deal of information on the early history of the magazine. A frequent theme is Pew's strong feeling that the magazine should reflect the view that the Christian church, as an institution, should concentrate on evangelism and Christian nurture and not reforming the current social order. Besides himself giving substantially to the magazine, Pew gave Bell the names of other people to contact and Bell's letters to them and their replies can be found in many folders, such as 52-31. Folder 33-37 contains material about a fund raising luncheon organized in Lubbock Texas, one of several some events. Two other active board members whose folders contain much relevant material were Maxey Jarmen (folder 30-16) and Harold J. Ockenga (folder 40-4). Jarmen's folder contains a report he did on various administrative changes necessary. Other folders with correspondence with board members include 15-9, 16-6, 17-5, 29-28, 30-1, 30-2, 42-10, 53-5, and 54-11.
Naturally, several folders of correspondence are with CT staff members. Curiously, there are no folders for Carl Henry and Harold Lindsell, the first and second editors of the periodical. Henry in particular was a major shaper of its style. But letters and memos by and about Henry are scattered throughout the CT folders. Staff members for whom there are correspondence folders include publisher Wilbur Benedict (folder 15-5), business and advertising manager Claire Burcaw (folder 16-35), news editor George Burnham (folder 16-36), business and advertising manager Charles Claus (folder 19-17), assistant editor James Daane (folder 22-14), assistant editor Frank Farrell (folder 25-4), co-editor Frank Gaebelein (folder 26-12), British editorial associate Philip Hughes (folder 29-27), circulation manager Linda Kik (folder 31-5), circulation manager Roland Kuhnholm (folder 32-11), editor-at-large Harold Kuhn (folder 32-10), editor at large Addison Leitch (folder 33-10), assistant editor Richard Love (folder 33-35), managing editor James Deforrest Murch (folder 38-26), assistant editor Edward Plowman (folder 42-11), advertising manager and publisher David Rehmeyer (folder 45-7), and managing editor and west coast representative Larry Ward (folder 53-21; this folder also contains information on the early days of World Vision).
Of especial interest is a critique of the magazine from a Fundamentalist perspective in folder 52-1; material on the magazine's policy on dispensationalism (folder 16-6); and letters from readers, reference materials and other items dealing with the subject of the relation between church and state (folder 19-14). Some of Bell's editorials can be found in folder 72-11. As mentioned above, reader reaction to the publication of a collection of his columns in CT can be found in folder 54-15. Folders 43-17 to 45-1 contain a wide range of reader reactions to articles and editorials (not necessarily by Bell) that appeared either in CT or The Presbyterian Journal. These letters provide an interesting gauge of how the publication was being perceived. Other files with information on the magazine and its influence include 14-7, 14-12, 14-14, 14-17, 15-16, 15-19, 16-3, 16-14, 17-10, 19-17, 21-15, 22-1, 23-4, 27-5, 30-12, 31-16, 32-7, 32-18, 33-3, 33-4, 33-28, 33-31, 36-1, 35-27, 35-29, 38-14, 39-11, 39-14, 40-12, 41-15, 42-7, 46-14, 47-16, 47-19, 47-28, 48-5, 51-11, 51-39, 53-7, 53-28, 54-21, 54-37, 54-38, 54-41, 55-3, 55-16, and 55-17.
Subseries C. Political and Social Issues.
Bell was a man very concerned with the world around him and also a man with a great deal of influence over a large number of people, through his editorships, contacts and reputation. Therefore it is inevitable that his papers should contain a great deal about major national and international issues of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, such as the conflict between Western and Communist nations, the conflict between liberal and conservative political positions, and the civil rights movement.
Although from a Southern state, on a national level Bell tended to be most sympathetic with the Republican party, although his support was more based on the position of a particular politician rather than his label. In particular, like his son-in-law, he was an admirer of Richard Nixon. Some of his personal correspondence with Nixon can be found in folder 39-15. (See also 6-9, 6-11, 6-14, and 8-2.) During the presidential election of 1960, he was strongly for Nixon, both because he was impressed by the man and because he was afraid that the election of a Roman Catholic president could adversely effect the country. A number of files have materials on the 1960 election, including 13-19, 15-8, 18-7, 18-8, 25-7, 31-4, 32-12, 38-23, 41-13, and 69-13. Also of interest is the information in the Christian Century file about the magazine's open letter to Kennedy about the issue of his religion in the campaign and the information in folder 19-16 about the Citizens Committee for American Religious Freedom which was organized by, among others, Norman Vincent Peale. (See folders 41-12 and 55-15 for additional correspondence with and about Peale.) Information on the next election is a found in a letter in folder 72-9 in which Bell explains his preference for Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Bell also frequently wrote to congressman, senators and other officials about issues he felt were important. Samples of this correspondence can be found in folders 23-12, 23-20, 29-23, 30-22, 31-2, 31-4, 32-11, 35-17, 46-16, 47-11, 48-3, 51-35, and 53-10. There are also several folders with correspondence Bell sent or received or in some cases simply clippings or other reference material on issues of public policy relating to questions such as the place of prayer and the Bible in public schools (folder 15-13, 20-8, 42-21, 46-7), abortion (folder 46-7, 12-16), capital punishment (folder 17-9), the teaching of evolution theory (folder 24-24), the Ku Klux Klan (folder 32-9), liquor registration in North Carolina (folder 33-21), Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (folder 31-11), pacifism (folder 40-16), pornography (folder 42-16), right to work laws (folder 45-20, 49-18), and sex education in schools (folder 47-15). As mentioned above, several folders contain material on his attitude toward public health care policy, including 21-5, 31-2, 47-11, 48-14, and 51-35. Bell was also active in his efforts to support people who he thought were suitable candidates for appointed offices, such as the federal marshal for his area of North Carolina (folder 51-37) and the postmaster of Montreat (folder 42-18). Folder 20-11 has a copy of an interesting speech by Bell, "The High Cost of Low Politics." Folder 29-3 has material on the early career of future senator Jesse Helms.
The civil rights movement, particularly in the South, is a very frequent topic in the correspondence. An evolution in Bell's own views can be traced in the files, from an acceptance of segregation as a way of life (folder 73-9) to a condemnation of both forced segregation and forced integration and a belief that sometimes there was a lack of love and concern on the part of white to black Christians (folder 15-15). But he was very dubious of ministers, including Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., taking a leading role in a social-political movement, since he feared it could impede the preaching of the Gospel (folder 15-15, 18-1, 31-18, 40-11, 41-11, 52-8). Many files contain letters written to him by both supporters and opponents of the civil rights movement. The following folders are a sampling of letters and reports about race relations, particularly in the South: 23-6, 23-7, 24-4, 24-25, 26-14, 26-15, 27-5, 27-26, 30-14, 30-12, 32-4, 33-9, 32-12, 34-15, 36-10, 35-25, 38-25, 38-26, 42-15, 43-12, 47-8, 47-13, 51-2, 51-5, 54-1, 54-18. Of particular interest are folders with information about African American Christian workers in the Northern inner cities (folders 29-24, 30-11), the 1967 Newark riots (folder 30-11), Bell's participation in a symposium on segregation sponsored by Life magazine (folder 33-17), Bell's efforts to arrange a parole for a poor black man named Hooper (folder 28-19), the integration of Billy Graham's crusade meetings (folder 41-10), the 1968 Poor People's March on Washington (folder 13-13, 43-11), and the 1964 Civil Rights Act (folders 51-32, 51-35).
As a man who had been kept from returning to his work in China by the victory of the Communist forces there, Bell had strong feelings about the Cold War and what the United States in particular should do to defeat Communism. Besides the material about China mentioned above, information can be found throughout the collection about the attitude of Bell and his correspondents to such current issues as Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 visit to the United States (folder 48-10), the Vietnam war (folders 30-18, 48-12, 54-18, 65-10), the Berlin wall (folder 31-4), Communist involvement in the Congolese civil war (folder 43-8, 52-27), the influence of Marxism in public schools (folder 13-8), the House UnAmerican Affairs Commitee (folder 29-23) and loyalty pledges (folder 18-6). Also of interest are the letters in folder 73-5 reacting to an article in the Southern Presbyterian Journal suggesting that atomic weapons be used to force the Soviet Union to give up the countries it had occupied since World War II. (See also a letter to E. S. Morgan in folder 34-3 about the necessity of preventing China from acquiring nuclear weapons.) Other folders with material related to Communism and the Cold War include 14-19, 20-12, 23-13, 24-4, 24-25, 25-20, 27-14, 27-22, 28-6, 29-23, 30-19, 31-4, 33-1, 35-20, 36-10, 43-11, 46-16, 52-3, 53-10, and 53-16.
Subseries D. J. Howard Pew.
In 1953, Bell made contact with Pew (a millionaire, philanthropist, and active United Presbyterian layperson) through a letter in which he (Bell) wrote about the dangers of unorthodoxy in the Presbyterian denominations. They discovered they shared many viewpoints, particularly on the need to halt the move toward religious liberalism within the Presbyterian church. Bell maintained a voluminous correspondence with Pew until the latter's death in 1970. In their letters they would discuss the magazine, the needs of various Presbyterian institutions (such as Montreat-Anderson College, Columbia Theological Seminary and Taejon Presbyterian Hospital in Korea), projects of the Pew Trust, and related matters. Folder 23-22 contains materials about a project that Bell and Pew were both briefly involved in a plan to found a new Christian university. Folders 41-17 to 41-19 contains this correspondence. Other files with information about Pew or the Pew Trust include 16-32, 20-9, 20-10, 22-8, 27-4, 30-16, 33-4, 33-10, 45-16, 45-17, 47-28, 51-26, 53-16, 55-19. Of particular interest is the folder of correspondence with Allyn Bell of the Glenmede Trust (folder 15-2), the correspondence with Pew's sister Mable Myrin (folder 38-29), and the folder containing a defence by Bell of an attack on his friend's theological position (folder 53-22).
Subseries E. Montreat.
The private community and Presbyterian conference grounds of Montreat was Bell's permanent home after his return from China in 1941 and his papers reflect his deep involvement in many aspects of the life of the place. He was on the board of the Mountain Retreat Association (MRA) which ran the town. Folder 38-22 contains minutes and reports of the MRA that shows the board concern with both maintaining a comfortable home for the year-long residents (many of whom were retired) and with the programs of the conferences held on the grounds. Other folders that deal with the association, including the selection of its presidents, the management of various properties, and concern about liberal elements in some conference programs, can be found, among other places, in 13-16, 22-10, 22-11, 25-17, 30-13, 34-19, 35-9, 38-3 to 38-7, 41-5, 41-11, 42-18, 53-8, and 53-8.
Montreat-Anderson College was located near Bell's home and he took an active interest in the school. He served on the board of trustees and played an active part over the years in both helping to raise money for it and in keeping it true to what he felt was orthodox Christian belief and Presbyterian tradition. Folders 37-9 to 37-2 contain Bell's materials on the college and they are very complete, including as they do minutes of trustee meetings. Other folders of interest include 13-11, 13-15, 20-6, 22-18, 31-17, 39-16, 41-17 to 41-19, 42-1, and 54-17. The college library was named after Bell in 1972 and folder 50-40 has material on the dedication service.
Subseries F. Miscellaneous Topics.
Columbia Theological Seminary. Columbia was one of the schools for training ministers for his denomination and Bell was well acquainted with many of the faculty and trustees. His concern that the faculty and administrators be men committed to Biblical faith is evident in much of his correspondence. See, for example, his correspondence with president of the seminary J. McDowell Richard (folder 45-16, 45-17). He was also often the man in the middle between the Pew Trust and the school in attempts to raise money (folder 20-10). Among other folders with relevant information are 20-9, 20-10, 25-13, 31-15, 33-10, 41-8, 41-17 to 41-19, 42-5, 47-25, 48-16, 52-7, 52-11 and 61-10. Also of interest is folder 14-5, which contains Bell's correspondence with theologian Stuart Babbage, including Bell's correspondence with vice president Lyndon Johnson, asking that officials help in arranging for the Australian Babbage to have a prolonged stay in the United States so Babbage could teach at Columbia. Folder 48-6 has data on the origins of Reformed Theological Seminary of Jackson, MS.
Other schools with which Bell was involved or had a concern include Belhaven College in Mississippi (folders 14-22, 22-3, 54-5), Fuller Theological Seminary in California (folders 26-6, 26-9, 40-4 54-11), and King College in Tennessee (folders 31-20, 32-1, 49-23).
Publishing. Many of Bell's correspondents were on the staff of newspapers, magazines and publishing houses. Often he would be reviewing a manuscript, or responding to something they had printed, or asking for copies of an article, or making arrangements for reprints, etc. Among the different book publishers represented in the collection are Baker Book House (folder 55-25), Broadman (folder 16-22), Doubleday (folder 23-14), Eerdman's (folder 24-6), Fleming Revell (folders 14-10, 46-13), Harper and Row (folder 28-7), Moody Press (folder 38-8), Thomas Nelson (folder 52-5), Oxford University Press (folder 40-14), Scripture Press (folder 47-5), Tyndale House (folder 52-30), and Zondervan (folder 55-24). There is also correspondence with publishers, editors and staff of many magazines, including American Mercury (folder 34-11), Christian Herald (folder 42-12), Christian Century, (folder 18-22), Christian Life (folder 53-18), Christian Observer (folder 18-27), Life (folder 33-17), Moody Monthly (folder 38-9), Presbyterian Action (folder 43-22), Presbyterian Junior Life (folder 43-26), Presbyterian Life (folders 29-2, 43-1), Presbyterian Observer (folder 43-3), Presbyterian Survey (folder 43-4), Social Progress (folder 48-15), Sunday School Times (51-21), Time (folder 33-38, 52-16, 70-8), and U. S. News and World Report (folder 33-6).
Dwight L. Moody. Mary Moody, daughter-in-law of the evangelist Dwight L. Moody, began to write to Bell in 1961. She hoped to arrange for Billy Graham to come to speak on the campus of the Northfield schools (which Moody had founded). In the course of her correspondence with Bell, she sent him several handwritten letters of her father-in-law as well as a photo of him and a genealogical chart (folders 38-10, 38-11). These letters are mainly to Moody's son William (Mary's husband). They touch occasionally on Moody's evangelistic work but deal mainly with family matters and Moody's love and concern for his children.
There are many, many other topics that Bell and his correspondents touch on besides what has already been mentioned. Here are a few examples: condemnation of anti-Semitism (folder 48-2, 48-19); the Auca Indians and their murder of five missionaries in 1956 and President Eisenhower's planned meeting with one of the widows, Elizabeth Elliot (folder 51-19); Bible translation (folders 13-4, 26-7, 45-14, 39-11); Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ (folders 17-17, 38-24, 54-28); the British Israel movement (folder 16-21); the charismatic and healing movement (folders 6-11, 34-3, 52-18, 54-16); Christian radio stations in North Carolina (folder 29-6); Christian Science (folder 18-28); Mickey Cohen and Bell's endorsement of an attempt to arrange for a parole for him (folders 27-17, 53-9); God's nature (folder 51-25); interdenominational cooperation (folder 29-13); the Jesus People (folder 42-9); Lyndon Johnson (folders 14-5, 30-22, 52-2) Robert Kennedy (folder 31-11); liberalism in other denominations (folders 27-22, 30-4, 51-25, 54-10); the Libertarian Party (folder 39-17); Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (folder 27-22); Presbyterian educator and John Mackay (folders 28-15, 31-4); Masons (folder 55-15); evangelist David Morken and his meetings in India, Indonesia and southeast Asia (folder 38-17); athlete and evangelist Donn Moomaw (folder 38-24); National Association of Evangelicals (folders 39-2, 49-2, 49-6, 49-27, 68-15); National Council of Churches (folders 39-3, 41-17 to 41-19); the worldwide evangelistic campaigns of J. Edwin Orr (folder 40-11); Palestine and Presbyterian involvement in the roots of the modern state of Israel (folder 31-10); Pentecostalism (folders 34-3, 46-3, 52-18, 54-16); evangelist Oral Roberts (folder 46-3); Sunday observation, including sports (folders 18-20, 39-16, 46-20); Seventh Day Adventism (folder 32-3); social implications of the Gospel (folder 54-10); sports and Christianity (folder 18-20, 39-16, 46-20) theologian Paul Tillich (folder 18-9); World Council of Churches (folder 55-8); World Evangelical Fellowship (folders 49-14, 55-9, 55-12); World Vision (folders 26-20, 42-7, 53-21, 55-10, 61-9). One final type of material that one finds all through out this series, as well as in series I, are counseling letters that Bell would send to the many, many people who would write him for personal and/or spiritual advice.
Series V: Presbyterian Church in the United States Materials (Boxes 61-79)
The letters, minutes, reports, clippings and other documents in this series are all related to Bell's deep involvement in the life of his denomination, an involvement that climaxed with his election for a one year term as moderator in 1972. Most of the files in this series are concerned either with his service on the Board of Missions, his involvement with The Presbyterian Journal, or his term as moderator. However another theme that permeates these documents is Bell's continuing struggle against theological and social liberal trends within the denomination. This topic shows itself in the letters and reports that document his leadership in the fight against union with the Northern Presbyterians, in his recommendations to various church pulpit committees on where they could find reliable conservative pastors, and his concern with the curriculum and faculty at Presbyterian colleges and facilities.
In some cases, folder titles in this section duplicate folder titles in series IV, the general correspondence section. For example, folders 43-4 and 69-7 both have material on the Presbyterian Survey and folders 21-9 and 66-7 have material on the Council of Evangelism. Also, hundreds of folders in the series IV deal solely or in large part with PCUS matters. Because this is the way that Bell or his secretary set up the files, the archivist maintained them in that way. However, in this guide, all relevant material will be described in the same place. Therefore all the material related to the Presbyterian church will be dealt with in this section of the Scope and Content description. A large number of folders were grouped together by Bell and/or his secretary under the headings "Board of World Missions" (folders 61-5 to 64-5) and "General Assembly" (folders 64-12 to 70-15) and this order was maintained by the archivist. Hundreds of clippings about the very end of Bell's term as moderator and events during the 113th General Assembly are grouped together in boxes 76 through 79.
General. Bell's continuing involvement in his own Asheville Presbytery is documented in folders 61-3 and 34-28, among others. He was deeply, deeply concerned as well about the spiritual life of his church as a whole and this is reflected in documents throughout the collection. In his Sunday school lessons (folders 10-2, 10-3) as well as through articles, speeches, and correspondence, he urged the need for the church to stay true to traditional orthodox positions on the infallible authority of Scripture (folders 15-13, 40-9, 43-3, 75-24) and the need for greater emphasis on evangelism (folders 21-9, 42-4, 42-9, 49-35). Folder 24-17 has an interesting paper with his views on eschatology. Also of interest are the materials he gathered on syncretism (folder 51-25) and universalism (folder 52-38). He was particularly distressed by what he saw as the emphasis of social action over evangelism (folders 20-14, 21-2, 21-3, 30-3, 39-3, 48-4, 41-17, 48-15). There are many folders that deal with the conflicts of liberals and conservatives within the church, such as the debate over a proposed new confession of faith in 1967 (folder 21-14). But perhaps the major focus of the debate between the late 1940s and early 1970s was the issue of union. Again and again the proposal was made that the Presbyterian Church in the United States unite with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA). Conservatives like Bell were deeply opposed to the move, because they felt it would centralize power in the hands of a liberal denominational headquarters staff, despite the basic orthodoxy of most of the members of the denomination. The Presbyterian Journal grew out of one such fight and Bell was a consistent opponent to union. Evidence of the continuing debate over union can be found, among other places, in folders 9-2, 15-20, 17-9 (defeat of a union plan in 1955), 21-2, 31-15, 41-10, 48-4, 51-4, 51-19, 52-33, 52-37, 61-4, 65-9, 75-19, and 75-24. Bell's concern over liberal trends in the church also showed in his desire that people who were firmly committed to the infallibly of Scripture and other tenets of orthodox belief be nominated for church office and chosen as pastors of individual congregations (folders 12-17, 16-32). Others shared Bell's concern. There is a great deal of information in the collection about the formation and work of such conservative groups as Concerned Presbyterians (folders 21-13, 23-3, 31-15). Other topics for which there is information: the Auburn Affirmation (folder 48-4), the investigation of charges of Communist influence at the University of Tennessee Presbyterian Center (folder 53-1), the formation of the Westminster World Fellowship (folders 45-9, 54-8, 54-9), sexual ethics (folder 61-4). This last is in the Board of Christian Education files. Other files with information about the work of this board include 13-13, 18-24, 23-3, and 25-8 (purpose of Sunday School). Much of Bell's correspondence was with past, present or future moderators, including Warren Benfield (folder 15-6), Marion Boggs (folder 16-4), Charles Kraemer (folder 32-8), and Benjamin Lacey Rose (folder 69-15). Other files with information on Bell's work within the church, and particularly the continuing struggle between liberals and conservatives, can be found in folders 16-8, 18-27, 20-6, 20-9, 20-10, 21-3, 21-10, 21-11, 23-16, 26-10, 26-21, 26-22, 28-1, 28-14, 29-28, 30-1, 30-2, 30-14, 31-17, 33-11, 34-27, 37-5, 41-8, 41-17 to 41-19, 42-22 to 43-4, 45-16, 45-17, 46-18, 46-31, 53-11, 53-29, 53-30, 54-4, 54-17, 54-28, 54-34, 54-40, 56-23, 68-9 (Presbyterian News Service), 69-11, 72-11.
Board of Missions. In 1948 Bell was elected to the mission board of his denomination and he served on it, with one brief interruption, until 1966. Folders 61-5 to 64-5 contain the bulk of the material in the collection about his service on the Board, including minutes of meetings; correspondence with the other Board members, staff and missionaries; and reports on trips he made to visit missionaries. In the general correspondence section there is also correspondence with the field secretary Hugh Bradley (folders 16-16) and other board members (folders 15-18, 16-18, and 32-19, among others). Major concerns were finding suitable candidates; supplying missionaries in the field, especially medical missionaries; setting policy on such questions as furloughs and retirement; making sure the churches, schools, and other institutions run by missionaries maintained an orthodox position; and training national leaders. Especially interesting is the correspondence with C. Darby Fulton (folder 61-10) who served as executive secretary of the board until 1961. Folder 29-15 has information on the search for his replacement. T. Watson Street became executive secretary in 1962 and his correspondence with Bell is in folders 63-6 and 63-7. Other material about the function of the board can be found in folders 6-1, 6-7, 6-10, 6-11, 6-14, 9-2, 9-12, 14-13, and 35-22. A sampling of the kind of questions that came up at board meetings can be found in the field committee materials in folder 61-9. Among the topics covered were relations with World Vision, Japan International Christian University, reports from various fields, and candidate applications. Also of interest are the board minutes and reports in folder 62-5, which were from what was apparently the last meeting Bell attended as an official member of the Board. As mentioned above, Bell was very active in recruiting personnel and raising funds and supplies for Presbyterian medical missions. Some of the folders with information on his efforts are 13-24, 15-2, 19-18 to 20-1, 21-16, 23-19, 33-18, 41-17 to 41-19, 52-19, 52-20. Of particular interest are the reports of the Medical Benevolence Foundation in folder 62-4. The MBF was started by independent group of doctors to assist medical missions with funds, equipment, supplies, and training. See folder 27-9 for a manuscript history of medical missions. There are reports in the Bell papers on Presbyterian missions in many countries. Of particular interest to those interested in descriptions of mission work and governance are Bell's report on his trips to various fields which can be found in folders 63-10 to 64-3. (See also 6-7, 6-8, 9-10, 9-11, 53-15.) Here are folders to look in for information on specific countries:
Brazil (folders 15-8, 22-13, 26-16, 29-4, 33-30, 37-2, 41-4, 43-14, 47-29, 55-6, 55-7)
Iran (folder 36-11)
Japan (folders 30-15, 34-23, 35-19, 35-22, 35-24, 37-2)
Korea (folders 13-12, 20-1, 20-4, 21-16, 23-9, 28-4, 29-20, 31-4, 31-8, 33-18 to 33-20, 34-10, 37-2, 37-4, 37-7, 46-19, 47-7, 51-20, 51-28, 51-33, 52-19, 53-15)
Mexico (folders 16-13, 35-21, 46-10)
Taiwan (folders 22-10, 27-11, 28-1, 31-13, 37-2, 37-8, 47-9, 51-30
Zaire, formerly the Belgian Congo (folders 13-12, 36-5, 37-2, 43-8, 46-13, 48-7, 52-20, 52-27)
Also of interest is the Presbyterian evangelism work among Chinese people living in Japan. This is documented in folders 35-22 and 35-24. There are as well several files with information about particular institutions, such as the Presbyterian Medical center in Chonju, Korea (folders 20-1, 21-16), Taejon Presbyterian College in Korea (folders 9-10, 9-11, 51-28, 51-33), and Taiwan Christian College (folders 27-11, 51-30). Many letters deal with the activities of Carl McIntire and the International Christian Churches Council he organized. He and his associates in various fields accused Presbyterian missionaries or at least their denomination of having become so liberal that they were no longer propagating the Christian faith. Material on this controversy can be found, among other places, in folders 13-12, 33-7, 35-20, 39-13, 46-19, 55-7. Other folders that deal more generally with conflicts between liberals and conservatives on the mission field include 23-9, 30-15, 31-13, 35-19, 43-14 and 51-20.
There is some information in this collection about national Presbyterian churches, apart from missionary activity. Folder 55-6 has some information about plans in Brazil to integrate missionaries into the national church. There is also information about the relationship between missionaries and the national church in Bell's letters from China, particularly 1-6. Several files contain Bell's correspondence with Presbyterian pastors and laypersons from other countries, including 28-4, 34-10, 38-28, 43-8, 51-20, 51-26.
There are a few other topics related to missions which should be mentioned: the Congolese civil war (folders 13-12, 52-27), Methodist missions (folder 48-5), Christian Reformed missions (folder 53-4), a plan to start a journal for medical missionaries (folder 17-4), and support for independent missionaries (folders 31-12, 48-1). Other files with information on missions include 22-17, 24-25, 25-10, 25-11, 33-5, 35-1, 41-9, 49-29, 49-45, 49-47, 49-52, and 49-56.
The Presbyterian Journal (PJ). Some of the earliest material in the collection (apart from the China documents) deals with Bell's key role in starting and running the PJ. The documents in this collection present a very full picture of the work of the magazine, including the setting of editorial policy; finances and fund raising; participation in the life of the denomination, particularly in the debates over union with other Presbyterian churches and the ongoing conflict between liberals and conservatives; governance; and Bell's resignation in 1971. Boxes 72 to 75 contain most of these records, but of course there are hundreds of relevant items in other parts of the collection as well.
There are a number of folders that contain information on the first days of the PJ. See, the letters of the first editor Henry Dendy in folder 72-11 (although there is relatively little for the period after 1944), the finances file in folder 72-15, general correspondence in folder 72-16, and miscellaneous tax records, including withholding forms and in some cases returns, in folders 74-6 to 75-15, which covers the years 1945 to 1968. The meetings and exchanges of opinions of the board of directors, most of whom were well-to-do laymen concerned about liberal trends in the PCUS, can be traced in the minutes of their meetings (folders 72-7, 72-13, 72-14, 73-4) as well as in the voluminous correspondence that Bell maintained with individual board members (folders 12-20, 14-2, 16-8, 16-18, 17-18, 21-11, 23-7, 26-2, 26-10, 27-2, 27-3, 27-10, 27-23, 27-33, 28-15, 29-28, 30-1, 30-23, 31-15, 33-7, 33-16, 35-11, 35-16, 35-26, 36-14, 38-25, 42-3, 47-3, 47-17, 47-28, 53-20, 54-2, 54-17, 54-32, 54-33, 69-12, 69-13, 69-25, 72-11). In 1963, the Presbyterian Journal Foundation was incorporated to publish the magazine. The transaction is documented in 72-7, 73-1, 73-4, and 73-7, among others. (Folder 71-7 also has material on the name change from Southern Presbyterian Journal to Presbyterian Journal.) Folders 41-9, 72-16 and 73-1 contain copies of internal studies done on ways to improve the magazine's outreach and cost effectiveness.
Articles by Bell for the periodical are in several folders: 13-21, 24-3, 72-11, and 73-5, among others. Letters from readers reacting to particular articles or editorials can be found throughout the collection, including folders 43-17 to 44-5, 72-9, 72-16, 73-1, and 73-5. Most responses were favorable, but there are sample of critical feedback from liberals (for being divisive) as well as Bell's replies in folders 33-27, 42-5, 43-4. Several conservative churches had an annual Journal day to show support for the magazine and to help raise funds for it to continue. Information about some of these events can be found in folder 73-2. Bell spent much of his time fund rasing and trying to enlarge the list of subscribers, as is documented in folders 73-7, 74-5, 75-19.
In 1959, G. Aiken Taylor replaced Dendy as editor. Material about this change can be found in folders 51-35 and 75-16, among others. Taylor and Bell worked together amicably, but over the next decade it became clear that they differed on the question of whether the leadership of the denomination had become so theologically corrupt that conservatives should leave it. Bell wanted to continue to work for reform from within, Taylor came to feel that separation was necessary. As Taylor and the PJ began to take a more and more active role in the separation movement, Bell felt that he had no choice but to resign from the periodical he had founded. The letters and reports in numerous files document these events. Complaints about divisive comments and actions by Taylor can be found in folders 51-32 and 75-16. In 1971 a meeting of conservative Presbyterian groups was held in Atlanta to evaluate the last General Assembly and to plan for withdrawal from the denomination. This meeting, which Taylor participated in, proved to be a catalyst for Bell's resignation. Folder 72-6 contains reports and clippings about the Atlanta meeting. A copy of Bell's letter of resignation is in folder 74-1. Copies of the executive committee's response to it are in folder 72-13. After the press release about the resignation, Bell received hundreds of letters, almost all sympathetic, from readers and friends. These can be found in folders 72-4 to 72-4. An interesting follow-up to the resignation is the letter in folder 18-27 in which Bell wrote to the publisher of the Christian Herald to explore the possibility of buying the magazine to oppose the editorial policy of the Journal. Among the other files with information about the magazine are 15-1, 15-2, 15-18, 16-14, 18-23, 23-7, 27-33, 28-16, 30-17, 31-5, 34-20, 35-11, 41-3, 47-2, 52-29.
Moderatorship and the 112 and 113th General Assemblies. Most of the material in boxes 64 to 72 is from the period from June 1972, when Bell was elected moderator at the 112th General Assembly to June 1973 when he turn over the post to Charles Kraemer. (There is material in folder 35-22 about his nomination for moderator in 1953). Much of his time as moderator was spent dealing with the split that had developed in the church because of the withdrawal of many of the conservatives. Bell himself was of course a conservative and he attempted in his open letters to the church (folders 69-3, 69-21, 71-8), speeches (folders 50-42, 64-15, 65-9, 67-10, 61-11, 67-14, 69-17), a statement to Time magazine (folder 53-16) and articles (folder 69-7) to stress the need for unity and greater orthodoxy and a greater emphasis on evangelism (folder 66-7). It was the dominant issue in most of the material in these boxes. Some of the specific struggles caused by the split are illustrated by the material in folder 70-4, which concerns the efforts of the Tabb Street Church in Atlanta to leave the denomination. Also of interest is Bell's notebook (folder 72-1) which contains program notes for the 112th Assembly and information on some of his other activities during the year. Also of interest as reflecting the range of opinion in the church are the folders with the letters of congratulations (folders 65-16 to 66-2), complaint (folders 55-25, 65-9, 65-15), and advice (folders 66-5, 66-6, 70-1) which he received. One major project that occurred during his tenure was the creation and staffing of the General Executive Board (GEB), a new administrative structure which had been approved earlier. All earlier boards were put into one of four divisions (International Mission, National Mission, Corporate and Social Mission, and Professional Development) and all divisions were under the GEB. Folders 70-16 to 71-2 contain minutes of the provisional board and the permanent board that replaced it, applications for staff positions, schedules of interviews and notes on the interviews that Bell and others conducted with possible staff members. There are also some press releases about the purpose of the new board. Bell's doubts about the effectiveness of organizational answers to the denomination's problems are described, among elsewhere, in a letter in folder 71-3. Another issue was a proposed new confession of faith. Folder 68-17 contains the many negative reactions to it which Bell received from conservatives. Also during Bell's term of office the denomination participated in a nationwide evangelism effort called Key 73. Folders 65-3 has information on the program. Boxes 76 through 79 have newspaper clippings about Bell's election and events during his year as moderator.
Accruals and Additions
The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in March 1988 by Rev. Benjamin Clayton Bell, the executor of his father's estate. Some materials, such as duplicate copies, two files about Bell's own insurance and insurance forms he filled out for patients and some patients' medical reports, were returned to the donor.
March 17, 1992
- African Americans -- Social conditions.
- African Americans.
- Anti-communist movements.
- Authors and publishers -- United States.
- Authors and publishers.
- Barth, Karl, 1886-1968.
- Belief and doubt.
- Bell, L. Nelson (Lemuel Nelson), 1894-1973.
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
- Butt, Howard E., Jr. (Howard Edward), 1927-2016.
- Catholic Church.
- Catholic Church. -- Protestant churches.
- Catholic Church. -- United States.
- Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975.
- Children of missionaries.
- Chinese -- Missions.
- Christian leadership.
- Christian life.
- Christianity Today International.
- Church and social problems.
- Church and state -- China.
- Church and state -- United States.
- Church and state.
- Civil rights movements
- Civil rights movements -- United States.
- Communism -- China.
- Ecumenical movement.
- Evangelistic work -- China.
- Evangelistic work -- Congo (Democratic Republic) -- History
- Evangelistic work -- Congo (Democratic Republic) -- History
- Evangelistic work -- Congo (Democratic Republic) -- History -- Civil War, 1960-1965.
- Evangelistic work -- Korea.
- Evangelistic work -- North Carolina.
- Evangelistic work -- Taiwan.
- Evangelistic work -- United States.
- Evangelistic work.
- Fund raising.
- Graham, Billy, 1918-2018.
- Henry, Carl F. H. (Carl Ferdinand Howard), 1913-2003.
- Interdenominational cooperation.
- Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
- Jones, Bob, 1883-1968.
- Jones, Bob, 1883-1968.
- Journalism, Religious.
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.
- Liberalism (Religion)
- McIntire, Carl, 1906-2002.
- Medical care
- Medical care -- China.
- Medical care -- Korea.
- Medical care -- United States.
- Missionaries -- Training of.
- Missionaries -- Appointment, call, and election.
- Missionaries -- Leaves and furloughs.
- Missionaries -- Salaries, etc.
- Missionaries -- Training of -- United States.
- Missionaries -- United States.
- Missionaries, Resignation of.
- Missions -- Educational work.
- Missions -- Mexico.
- Missions -- Biblical teaching.
- Missions -- Brazil.
- Missions -- China.
- Missions -- Japan.
- Missions -- Study and teaching.
- Missions -- Taiwan.
- Missions -- United States.
- Missions -- Zaire.
- Missions, Medical.
- Montreat (N.C.)
- Motion pictures in church work.
- National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
- Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
- Ockenga, Harold John, 1905-1985.
- Presbyterian Church -- Missions.
- Presbyterian Church in the U.S.
- Presbyterian Church.
- Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1960.
- Presidents -- United States -- Election.
- Presidents -- United States -- Religion.
- Presidents -- United States.
- Race relations.
- Sino-Japanese Conflict, 1937-1945.
- Sunday schools.
- Theological seminaries.
- Tsing Kiang Pu (China)
- United States -- Foreign relations -- China.
- Vaus, Jim.
- Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975.
- Women missionaries.
- World Council of Churches.
- World Vision International.
- World Wide Pictures, Inc.
- Worship (Christian)
- Zhongguo guo min dang.
- Collection 318 Papers of L. Nelson Bell
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Roman Script