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Collection 266 Oral History Interview with Ruth Sundquist

Identifier: CN 266

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Ruth Sundquist in which she describes her education at Moody Bible Institute, decision to become a missionary, work first in Kentucky home missions as a Christian education worker with the Evangelical Free Church and then her missionary career in China and Hong Kong between 1947 and 1982 as an administrator for a Sunday School and orphanage. Other topics discussed include: language school in China, Chinese attitudes toward the Nationalists, Communists, Americans in China, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the social needs of Hong Kong. The time period covered by the interviews is roughly 1920 to 1984

Ruth Sundquist was interviewed by Robert Shuster on March 6, 1984 and May 22, 1984, at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1984

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Ruth Sundquist was born in 1920 in Carney, Michigan, member of a family which included two sisters, Margaret and Edith, and two brothers, Ed and Arvid. Her father, Victor, came to this country from Sweden at the age of fourteen; her mother, Erika, worked with the Salvation Army in Stockholm before emigrating.

Victor Sundquist was a farmer while Ruth was growing up. The family moved often, living in Wisconsin before moving to Mc Henry, Illinois. Before this move, there had been little involvement with churches because of Mrs. Sundquist's disillusionment with her faith. When Ruth was eighteen, the prayers of a friend of Ruth's sister brought about the conversion of Ruth and her mother's recovery of her Christian heritage. As a result of this change, the family began attending the Evangelical Free Church in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Ruth enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in 1940 to become trained as a Sunday school teacher. Initially her plans were to conclude her work after one year, but she decided to extend her attendance, taking courses in Bible and Christian Education, and she graduated as a Christian Education major, not intending this to be a full-time career.

During the years at Moody, contacts with many missionaries eventually overcame an initial reluctance to go to the mission field. After making this decision, she received a personal call to go to China and work with orphans. This opportunity did not open up after graduation, so Ruth accepted support from the Free Church to work with home missions in Kentucky, setting up Sunday schools and Bible classes in public schools. She remained in this work until 1947.

In that year, a missionary with the Free Church asked her to come to China, where she could work with war orphans. Though she applied to other missions, her decision was to remain with the Free Church. Because of her work in phonetics at Moody, Ruth was excused from linguistic training in this country, but was assigned to language school in Canton. She arrived there after a freighter trip to the Philippines and then to China, accompanied by four other women from the Free Church. Before her two-year training was completed, the Free Church schools and orphanages were moved to Hong Kong because of the impending Communist takeover.

Her first assignment after language school was as superintendent of a large unorganized Sunday School in Hong Kong. In 1954 the Free Church opened an orphanage and Ruth was appointed superintendent. She remained with the orphanage until 1982, when she retired and returned to the United States. As of 1984, Ruth lived in East Dundee, Illinois.


2 Audio Tapes

170 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in March and May 1984.

Accession 84-39, 84-74

June 27, 1985

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 266 Oral History Interview with Ruth Sundquist
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