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Collection 672 Oral History Interviews with Jeanne Blumhagen.

Identifier: CN 672

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Jeanne Bourland Blumhagen in which she describes her family background; effects of the Great Depression; conversion and spiritual development; education at Whitworth University, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois; World War II; medical missionary service in Afghanistan with the American Embassy in Kabul, Bible and Medical Missionary Fellowship (BMMF), Medical Assistance Program (MAP), and later Interserve, and serving on the Wheaton College Board of Trustees. Topics discussed include: the process of discerning a call to missions; medical training for international service, the people, religion, and culture of Afghanistan; common medical issues in Afghanistan and Nepal; the challenges of raising children on the mission field; the role of women in missionary agencies; interpersonal conflict on the mission field; and impressions of Wheaton College. Individuals described include J. Christie Wilson, Ambassador Henry Byroade; Margaret Haines, Mariano Di Gangi; and Margaret Cudney. The time period covered by the interviews is 1923 to 2017.

Dr. Blumhagen was interviewed by Paul Ericksen at her residence at Windsor Park in Carol Stream, IL on ten separate occasions between 2013 and 2017.


  • 2013-2017


Conditions Governing Access

Tape 7 of this oral history interview series is restricted at the request of the donor.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright to the sound recordings in this collection is held by the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives.

Biographical Information

Full name: Jeanne Bourland Held Blumhagen

Birth: July 6, 1923 in Seattle, WA


Parents: Harry McClelland Bourland and Mother.

Siblings: Older sister Pat (Mary Alice Patricia) and younger sister Margie

Marital Status: Married Rex Vernon Blumhagen in December 1943

Children: Dan (b. 1946), Susan, Wendy, Karyn


1941-1942 - Whitworth College, Spokane, WA 1942-1943 - University of Washington, Seattle, WA

1943 - Whitworth College, Spokane, WA,

1948 - B.S. University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois.

1949 - M.D. University of Illinois, School of Medicine


1949-1951 - Worked as Contract Physician for United Mineworkers, Pikeville, KY

1951 - Served as in a volunteer capacity a consultant to the School of Midwifery and emergency obstetrics physician for the Frontier Nursing Service, Hyden, KY.

1952 - Worked as a consultant to the Merced County Children’s Convalescent Hospital in Merced, CA.

1953-1956 - Served as the Assistant Director of Public Health for Maternal and Child Car the Madera County Hospital, Madera, CA. 1957 - Served as Director of Public Health, Madera County, CA.

November 1960 – August 1964 - Served as Embassy Medical Officer alongside husband Rex Blumhagen, U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, until removed from position by Ambassador Byroade.

1965 - Resident Physician, General Practice at Tulare County Hospital, Tulare, CA.

February 1966 – May 1972 - Returned to Afghanistan with husband Rex Blumhagen under the auspices of Bible Medical and Missionary Fellowship but seconded to MAP, serving as Deputy Director of Medical Assistance Programs (Afghanistan Project), which involved the development of mobile medical clinics.

1968-1969 - Home leave in the United States

1972-1973 - Transition to Program Director, alongside husband Rex Blumhagen, of Medical Assistance Programs (Afghanistan Project).

July 1973 – October 1973 - Served as interim pediatrics physician in Shanta Bawan Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal.

1973-1974 - Served as consultant in Rural Health Care Delivery for BMMF and Tearfund.

1974 - Returned to the United States and settled in Wheaton, IL, where Rex Blumhagen was instrumental in starting the emergency services department at Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) and Jeanne Blumhagen taught public health classes at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

1975-1977 - Served as adjunct faculty, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, teaching introductory public health courses and designing upper level courses.

1977 - Employed by the American Public Health Association as a rural health care consultant.

1977-1978 - Resident Pediatrics Physician at the University of Illinois Hospital system

1978 - Rex and Jeanne Blumhagen launched Blumhagen Medical Services as a service corporation to establish urgent care centers and consultation services at Delnor Hospital, St. Charles, IL and Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, IL.

1981 - Became a member of the Wheaton College Board of Trustees, replacing Ruth Bell Graham.

1989-1992 - Returned to BMMF (now InterServe) as international medical advisors to InterServe based in Cyprus but traveling to North Africa, Gulf of Arabia, Afghanistan, South and Central Asia, among others.


10 Sound Recordings

897 Minutes

Language of Materials


Additions and Accruals

The materials in this collection were given to the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives by Jeanne Blumhagen in August 2013, November 2016, February, March, May, June, and November 2017.

Accession: 13-31, 13-34, 16-41, 16-46, 17-03, 17-11, 17-13, 17-22, 17-24, 17-35

December 8, 2020

Katherine Graber

Collection 672 Oral History Interviews with Jeanne Blumhagen
Katherine Graber
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US