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Collection 472 Oral History Interview with Paul A. Contento

Identifier: CN 472

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Paul A. Contento in which he discusses his childhood, conversion, attendance at Moody Bible Institute, going to China in 1928 as a China Inland Mission worker, evangelistic work in Ningxia province (Inner Mongolia) and work among university students in southwest and northwest China, founding of the Inter-Varsity student movements in China, Singapore and Vietnam; Calvin Chao; the Sino-Japanese war; the communist takeover in China; founding of Singapore Bible College; evangelistic work in Singapore and Vietnam among high school and university students; and the war in Vietnam. The time period covered by the interview is 1900 to 1992.

Paul Contento was interviewed by Robert Shuster on December 9, 1992 at Contento's residence in OMF's retirement center, Lammermuir House, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


  • Created: 19992

Conditions Governing Access

A portion of interview T2 is restricted until December 31, 2042.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Paul Alfred Contento

Birth: August 14, 1905, in Volentare, Italy

Death: August 1, 1997


Parents: Italian immigrants to the US, Edward & Carmilla (Carmela) De Missaris Contento

Siblings: Four brothers and sisters

Marital Status: Married to Maida (Mary) E. M Bolster on June 10, 1933 (Mary died November 14, 1985)

Children: Isobel Ruth, born September 15, 1940

Conversion: At father's funeral

Ordination: Northern Baptist Convention


1924-1927 - Moody Bible Institute

1937 - Henry Martyn Islamic School, India

1938 - Arabic language study in Jerusalem

1946-1949 - University of California - Berkeley, BS


1928 - Joined China Inland Mission (later Overseas Missionary Fellowship)

1928-1951 - China: Men's language school in Anqing (1928-1929); Evangelism and church planting in Zhongwei, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia (1929-1936); Taught English in Chongking University, Szechuan University, Northwestern University (1939-1951); Evangelistic and discipleship ministry among university students (1939-1951)

1951-1960 - Singapore: Helped found and taught at Singapore Bible College; Launched Inter-School Christian Fellowship; Worked with IVF in Singapore; Taught at Nanyang University

1960-1975 - Vietnam: Founded and worked with Inter-Varsity in Vietnam; Taught at Van Hanh University in Saigon; Started IVF program in high schools

1975-1982 - Philippines: Taught at Biblical Seminary of the Philippines; Chaplain to the Norwegian Alliance of Social Workers

1982 - Retired from OMF on June 30

1982-1989 - Dean of students at the Chinese Christian Witness Seminary, Berkeley

Other significant information:

Was a participant at founding of Chinese Inter-Varsity movement in Kunming.Was often featured as a speaker at church meetings and conferences in the US.


3.00 Audio Tapes

180 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Paul Contento in December 1992.

Accession 92-156

September 20, 2002

Paul A. Ericksen

Collection 472 Oral History Interview with Paul A. Contento
Paul Ericksen
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
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