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Collection 719 Papers of Janet Wismer

 Collection
Identifier: CN 719

Scope and Contents

Transcripts of broadcasts, correspondence, newsletters, articles, and memorabilia, relating to Janet Wismer's work as a staff member and producer for Elisabeth Elliot’s Gateway to Joy radio program. The collection also contains some material documenting Wismer's friendship with Elliot.

Dates

  • 1959-2012
  • Majority of material found in 1981-2012

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research, and there are no access restrictions on the materials.

Biographical Information

Full name: Janet J. (Anderson) Wismer

Birth: 1958

Family

Parents: Oscar J. and Eileen Anderson

Siblings: Stephen D. Anderson, Mark D. Anderson

Marital Status: Married November 25, 1989 to Lauren Wismer

Children: Christiana R. Wismer Ostoich (b. 1991), Elisabeth E. Wismer (b. 1992), Nathanael J. Wismer (b. 1997), Evangeline M. Wismer (b. 1999)

Conversion: Accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at the age of four, was baptized in the Christian & Missionary Alliance church at the age of 12

Education 1976 - 1980 Grace College of the Bible - Omaha, Nebraska, graduated with a B.S. in Radio Communications and Bible

Career

1980-1983 - On the staff of the Back to the Bible radio ministry in Lincoln, Nebraska. Copy writer, singer (Good News Singers), director of youth choir

1983 - 1986 - English program producer of live and pre-recorded shortwave radio programs for World Radio Missionary Fellowship, station HCJB - Quito, Ecuador

1986 - 1987 - Writer and producer of special projects for the Back to the Bible radio ministry, Lincoln, Nebraska

1987 - 1988 - Producing and announcing Spanish and English programming for KVMV-FM 0f the World Radio Network in McAllen, Texas

1988 - 2001 - Staff person for the radio program Gateway to Joy for Back to the Bible radio ministry, including producing, writing. editing, announcing, as well as answering listeners letters and preparing promotional materials. Full-time 1988-1989, part-time working from home 1989-2001. Linda Meyer took over as producer in 1990 and Lisa Barry as announcer in 1992. Wismer was the original developer of the idea for the program, which she had first suggested to Elliot in 1987 and then approached Back to the Bible.

Other significant information

October. 3, 1988 - Gateway to Joy began being aired on 70 stations. That number climbed rapidly in the program’s first 5 years. The first programs were pre-recorded in the Back to the Bible studio in Lincoln, Nebraska. Later programs were recorded first at a studio on the campus of Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts and the, through digital technology, at Elliot’s home in Magnolia, Massachusetts.

August 2001 - Last original program of Gateway to Joy aired.

Extent

0.8 Cubic Feet (2 Boxes (DC), Audio Tapes, Photographs)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement of Material

The documents in this collection were put into folders labeled and arranged by the archivist. Materials were foldered by types of the material. Mrs. Wismer originally kept these material in notebooks and several of the documents are still in the plastic sheets she put them in. The archivist removed them from these plastic sheets if it was necessary to read both sides of a document.

Most of the collection consists of transcripts of the Gateway to Joy radio program, which had with the intended audience of Christian women in the United States (folders 1-5 through 2-3). These were mostly downloaded by Mrs. Wismer from the Back to the Bible website in 2010, but there are a couple of earlier downloads. They consists mainly of Elliot’s comments on a wide variety of questions and problems in the Christian faith, especially but not exclusively those of concern to women. Topics concern child-raising, family life, male/female relations, dating, marriage, motherhood, Christian sexuality, suffering, knowing God’s will and obedience to it, prayer, devotion readings, and hymns. Elliot also often read letters from viewers in which they talked about problems and events in their own Christian faith. There several transcripts dedicated to Christian people significant in Elliot’s life and thought, either through personal contact or her readings, including her parents Katherine and Philip Howard, her husband Lars Gren, her daughter Valerie Shepard, Gladys Aylward, Corrie ten Boom, Amy Carmichael , Shirley Dobson and Isobel Kuhn, among others.

There are also several friendly, brief letters and notes that Elliot or her husband Lars Gren wrote to Wismer over the years (folder 1-2), discussing Elliot’s activities and concerns. Some of these letters also touch briefly on topics related to living one’s Christian faith, such as other folders have items that Wismer gathered as a result of or as a resource for her work on the radio program, such as articles about Elliot (folders 1-1, 2-4), copies of the program’s newsletters (folder 1-3), and an annual report from the program’s early days (folder 1-4).

There are also a few items not directly related to the program. One such set of documents are the transcripts of talks that Elliot gave to a retreat for Christian women in Pine Mountain, Georgia in 1987 (folder 2-5 through 2-7), covering topics such as obedience to God’s will and the Christian view of sexuality (see the May 18, 2001 letter in folder 1-2). Another are the several audio recordings of a program entitled The Auca Story. These were produced and broadcasted by HCJB Radio in Quito, Ecuador from about 1959 and told the then ongoing story of the killing of Elliot’s husband Jim and four other men in 1956 when they were trying to begin a Christian ministry among the Waorani people of Ecuador (called “Auca” by their enemies) and the later efforts of Elliot, Rachel Saint, and others to continue that work. For more information on these recordings, see the collection inventory.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives by Janet Wismer in March 2018.

Accession: 18-12

January 22, 2021

Bob Shuster
Title
Collection 719: Papers of Janet Wismer
Author
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

Contact:
501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US
630-752-5910