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Collection 269 Papers of Samuel M. Shoemaker

Identifier: CN 269

Scope and Contents

Appointment books, audio tapes, magazines, newspaper clippings, articles, a pamphlet, phonograph records, photographs, and programs covering the years of Samuel Moor Shoemaker's career as an Episcopalian preacher, author, radio preacher, and spiritual advisor-counselor. Includes taped sermons from radio program Faith at Work.

Materials cover the years of Showmaker's career as a preacher, author, and spiritual advisor-counselor. Tapes are almost entirely recordings from Shoemaker's Pittsburgh radio series Faith at Work; appointment books contain brief diary entries and notes and a collection of magazine articles, including a small sample of the publications to which he contributed; clippings give and overview of Shoemaker's activities, sermons, articles, radio broadcasts, reviews of his books, and reports on his speaking engagements.


  • Created: 1907-1963

Conditions Governing Access

Phonograph records P1, P2, and P3 cannot be used by researchers. Researchers should instead request T31 to which the contents of these records have been transferred.

Biographical or Historical Information

Samuel Moor Shoemaker was born December 27, 1893, in Baltimore, Maryland, and lived until 1908 on the family's estate, Burnside. In that year, he entered Princeton University and graduated in 1916. The next three years were spent in China doing missionary work for the YMCA, after which he returned in 1919 to become director of the Philadelphia Society, a group with which he had been involved at Princeton.

Between 1920 and 1921, Shoemaker studied for the diaconate and Episcopalian priesthood at General and Union Seminaries in New York City and after graduation in 1921 he returned once more to Princeton to work with the Philadelphia Society until 1923. The next year he accepted a call to Calvary Episcopal Church, New York City, and began what became a twenty-eight year ministry there. He was married in 1930 to Helen Dominick Smith, staff member of Calvary Church, and their first child. Sally Falls, was born a year later; Helen Dominick, their second daughter, was born in 1942.

Programs and participation at Calvary Church increased significantly during Shoemaker's years there. Calvary House, an eighteen-story building for meetings and office staff, was added in 1928 and in the late 1930s became national headquarters for the Oxford Group, renamed Moral Re-Armament in 1936. Shoemaker's extensive involvement with this movement, however, led ultimately (in 1941) to removal of MRA's headquarters from Calvary after Shoemaker became dissatisfied with the new direction toward which MRA had moved. Calvary Chapel was transformed into Calvary Mission, a center for rehabilitation and rescue programs. Shoemaker was an important influence in the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Shoemaker was awarded a D.D. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1948 and an S.T.D. from Berkeley Divinity School the same year. About this time he also began the formation of Calvary Clergy School as the result of his lifelong interest in encouraging men to enter the ministry. In 1945, a radio ministry was added to Shoemaker's extensive pastoral ministry and he continued to use this medium, along with television, throughout the rest of his professional life and after retirement in 1962.

In 1952, when the Shoemakers were invited to accept another call to Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, they agreed. Shoemaker's initiative and personal warmth was equally successful in the new setting and his work with young married couples of the community, businessmen, Bible and prayer groups developed into the Pittsburgh Experiment, an interdenominational evangelistic movement aimed primarily at the business community. Faith At Work, a group which published a magazine and sponsored a radio program of the same name, was also influential through its promotion of small study groups. The radio program featured a short sermon, broadcast once a week on KDKA, Pittsburgh. Shoemaker was also a frequent contributing speaker on The Episcopal Hour, WIST.

In 1955, Newsweek named him one of the ten greatest preachers in the United States and a year later, January 20, 1956, he was named "Man of the Year in Religion" by the Pittsburgh Junior Chamber of Commerce. His successful leadership resulted in his being offered rectorships in Richmond, San Francisco, and Baltimore and the offices of Dean and Bishop. However, he chose to remain at the Pittsburgh church until failing health required his retirement in 1962.

During this entire period, Shoemaker was also a prolific writer, contributing to many denominational and national magazines and authoring at least thirty-eight books. Some of these were: Religion That Works, Beginning Your Ministry, Children of the Second Birth, How You Can Find Happiness, With the Holy Spirit and with Fire, and By the Power of God. His sermons were printed and mailed to subscribers in forty-six states and twelve foreign countries. In addition to his regular pastoral ministry, he also was in great demand for speaking engagements across the country.

After retirement, Shoemaker was appointed Canon to the Bishop of Pittsburgh, but maintained his residence in the family home in Baltimore, where he died October 30, 1963, at sixty-nine years of age.


3 Boxes

31 Audio Tapes

3 Phonograph Records

1 Photograph File

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "folder 1-1" means box 1, folder 1.]

The materials in this collection include audio tapes, phonograph records, photographs, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and appointment books, as well as a small number of published works which will be found in the Evangelism & Missions Collection, Buswell Library.

Audio tapes T1 to T 29 are almost entirely recordings from Shoemaker's Pittsburgh radio series, Faith at Work, and range in length from twelve to fifteen minutes. They are listed in the Audo Tape Location Record of this guide, with the sermon topics and a one-sentence synopsis of content. One tape (T 30) is an hour-long address delivered by Shoemaker to the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer Conference, held at Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, in 1963, the year of his death. Tape T 31 is a re-taping of the contents of P 1, P 2, and P 3. The phonograph records are radio transmissions of three broadcasts. The records are not available for use by researchers. Titles and content of each phonograph record will be found in the Location Record for audio tapes, T 31.

Most of the photographs are portraits of Shoemaker. Others show him with Bishop Austin Pardue and with Billy Graham and some members of his team. Three are of Shoemaker with young adults, both ministerial students and study groups.

There is a collection of appointment books, some of which also contain brief diary entries and notes. The earliest of these, 1907, dates from his fourteenth year. The book of 1908 contains a football schedule of St. George's and Shoemaker's class schedule at that school. Those years which also contain brief handwritten notes include 1926-1934 and 1937-1940. Notes are usually found at the end of each book.

The collection of magazine articles (folders 3-1 to 3-4) dates between 1958 and 1961 and includes a small sample of the publications to which he contributed. Folder 3-3 contains a letter from Shoemaker to the editor of Christian Century protesting a previous editorial on Billy Graham. The newspaper clippings (folders 3-5 to 3-8) cover the years between 1957 and 1961 and include reports of Shoemaker's activities at Calvary Church, Pittsburgh; digests of sermons, articles and radio broadcasts; reviews of his books; and reports from around the country on his speaking engagements.

Folder 3-9 is a pamphlet presenting Shoemaker, his career and qualifications, in nomination for the position of Suffragan Bishop for the Diocese of New York in 1949. The programs in Folder 3-10 include a broadcast schedule for The Episcopal Hour, luncheon program agenda, and church bulletins.

Researchers interested in Shoemaker's career will find the major concentration of his papers in the Archives of the Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives on July 21, 1982.

Accession 82-106

June 12, 1984

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Related Materials

The following items have been given to the Evangelism & Missions Collection, Buswell Library:

The Book of Common Prayer, together with The Psalter (New York: The University Press, 1892).

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The Hymnal, Revised and Enlarged (New York: The University Press, 1892).

The New Covenant, commonly called The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Newly edited. Standard edition (New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1900).

Shoemaker, Samuel Moor. Beginning Your Ministry (New York, Evanston, and London: Harper and Row, 1963).

. By the Power of God (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1954).

. How to Become a Christian (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953).

. How You Can Find Happiness (New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1947).

Collection 269 Papers of Samuel M. Shoemaker
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