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Moody Church Records

Identifier: CN 330

Brief Description

Correspondence, reports, scrapbooks, church bulletins, minutes of meetings, and other records documenting the activities of the influential independent Chicago church started in 1864 by Dwight L. Moody; chiefly from ca. 1910 through 1946. Topics documented include worship services, Sunday school, the weekly activities in the congregation, the governance of the body, and various urban evangelistic outreaches of the church. Besides the history of the church, the collection also documents such topics as American foreign and home missions at the beginning of the twentieth century, the life and ministry of Moody's pastors A.C. Dixon, Paul Rader, P.W. Philpott, and Harry Ironside, various Evangelical and Fundamentalist figures and institutions, the beliefs and practices of American Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, and the impact of current events such as World Wars I and II on church life. Moody was one of the leading churches of Chicago and of Fundamentalism-Evangelicalism in the U.S.; originally called the Illinois Street Church, 1864-1871; after the building burned in the Chicago Fire, the congregation built a new structure at Chicago Avenue, which gave the church its name until it was renamed the Moody Church in 1900.


  • Created: 1864-1987


Conditions Governing Access

Due to their fragile condition, the contents of Folders 66-1,3,4, 67-1,2, and 68-1, and Photo Albums IX through XIII were microfilmed, and researchers will be sked to use the microfilm instead of the originals.

Conditions Governing Use

Because of their fragile condition, the materials in folder 58-3 and 68-2 may not be photocopied.

Organizational History

Dwight L. Moody was a shoe salesman in Chicago and member of the Plymouth Congregational Church when he began in his spare time in 1857 to become involved in a variety of evangelistic activities, including those of the Young Men's Christian Association. In early 1858, he began a Sunday school on the city's North Side (near a crime-ridden area called the Sands) for poor children; he could be seen on his horse the first day of each week, gathering them in for instruction. Once at the school, most of the teaching was done at first by Moody and his friend J.B. Stillson. In June Stillson left and was replaced by J.H. Burch, who soon after was replaced by John V. Farwell, a Christian businessman who remained the superintendent until 1867. Other adults helped too, including Emma Charlotte Revell, who married Moody in 1862. Soon the growth of the program necessitated it be moved from the abandoned saloon that was its first home to the upstairs of North Market, a public hall two blocks from the Chicago River. The group was more formally organized in October 1859 and adopted a constitution. By the middle of 1860, the Sunday school (known as the North Market Hall Mission) and his activities for the YMCA were taking up so much of his time that Moody decided to give up his sales job and devote all his time to developing its ministries. The mission continued to grow and by 1862, there were 450 children attending regularly. Moody also held prayer meetings for their parents. He was able to raise money, from Farwell among others, to build a permanent home for the mission at the corner of Wells and Illinois Streets in February 1864. It was a large structure, with an auditorium for fifteen hundred, several classrooms and a chapel. Partly because many of the maturing children who had been going to the Sunday school did not feel comfortable attending other churches, Moody with other teachers and regular attenders formed the Illinois Street Church on December 30, 1864. Moody was among the original twelve members. It was to be an independent church, heavily influenced by Congregational beliefs on church structure. Members had to sign the church's statement of faith, and were expected to be active participants in the life of the congregation. One of the most important of the weekly activities of the church was on Friday nights, when members would gather for fellowship and prayer. By 1865, the Sunday school had grown to 750. The first full-time pastor, J.H. Harwood, was appointed in 1866. Moody usually preached there when he was in Chicago on a Sunday.

The Illinois Street Church was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of October 9, 1871. However, Moody and other members of the church were able to build a temporary structure at the corner of Wells and Ontario for the congregation. The building became known as the North Side Tabernacle. A lot on Chicago Avenue was purchased from the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church sometime in late 1872, and work began in the spring of 1873 on a permanent structure. The building was finally completed in 1875 (including an interior fresco designed by Chicago architect Louis Sullivan and later painted over) in large part thanks to hymnal royalties that Moody donated to the church. The evangelist was, however, spending less and less time in Chicago at this point. He had begun leading meetings around the country and in Europe, and was soon to found a series of Christian schools near his home in Northfield, Massechusetts. (The Northfield seminary for girls was started in 1875, the Mount Hermon School for boys in 1881, and the Northfield Training School for women in 1891.) Although Moody remained a strong presence in the church until his death in 1899, by the mid-1870s he was not a leader in the day-to-day life of the group. He was a leading force in founding the Chicago Evangelization Society in 1887, which in turn started the Bible Institute for Home and Foreign Missions in 1889. This school (renamed the Moody Bible Institute in 1900) became one of the most important Fundamentalist institutions in the country as it trained hundreds of missionaries, Bible teachers, and other Christian workers. From the 1880s until 1925, the Chicago Avenue church and the Institute were housed on the same block and there was always a close relationship between the two. Pastors of the church served as administrators of the Institute, and faculty and students of the Institute were often members of the church.

The church by the turn of the century had become one of the most substantial in Chicago (in 1909 the membership had reached 2,028). In 1900, after Moody's death, the church unofficially began to be called the Moody Church. The name was officially changed by church resolution in 1908. (The church built in 1925 had "Moody Memorial Church" on the side of the building and the name was sometimes given that way in printed literature. The most common name, however, appears to have been the Moody Church.) Besides the Sunday school and worship services, the congregation supported various other ministries and activities such as Bible classes for various age groups and interests, a Fresh Air work that provided Bible camp (in Glencoe and Ravinia, Illinois) for poor city children, mission churches among the Italian and African American populations of the city, soup kitchens and other forms of relief during times of economic distress, evangelistic meetings in downtown Chicago, etc. The church also acquired a campground for summer events and meetings for both children and adults. The church's first camp was located at Cedar Lake in Indiana (also known as Restawhile). After the camp was sold, the church acquired a camp on Lake Loon, near Antioch, Illinois (later called Camp MoYoCa).

From the 1870s onward, the church was also an active supporter of home and foreign missions, and provided backing for many of its members who became missionaries. One young man, William Whiting Borden, died before he could begin working as a missionary among Muslims in China, but by his will gave one million dollars for the spread of the gospel, including one hundred thousand dollars to Moody Church, whose board he briefly served on.

It became something of a tradition that prominent evangelists should serve as pastors of the church, often with the understanding that they would be permitted to spend extensive periods away from Chicago holding evangelistic meetings. Among the evangelists to occupy the pulpit were R.A. Torrey, A.C. Dixon, Paul Rader, P.W. Philpott, and Harry A. Ironside. Other prominent leaders of American Fundamentalism, such as Charles Blanchard and James Gray, also served as supply pastors as needed. It was during Rader's pastorate in 1915 that the Moody Tabernacle (seating: five thousand) was built on a lot at the corner of North and Clark to hold the crowds that were too big for the Chicago Avenue church. After Rader left Moody and founded the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, increasing dissatisfaction with the wooden structure led to the executive committee hiring the architects Fugard & Knapp to plan a new structure. The new church was built on the site of the tabernacle and was dedicated on November 8, 1925. It was the home of the church from that time on. Among the features of the new building were an auditorium that would hold four thousand, a four-manual Reuter organ with approximately 4,400 pipes, a Christian Education building with four large halls for Sunday school classes and other activities, a chapel, a nursery, and a library. Church membership at the time the building was finished was a little over 3,400.

The church continued to be one of the best known and influential pulpits among American Protestant Fundamentalists and Evangelicals because of its history, its support of foreign and home missions, and its membership. Besides the outreach of its pastors and guest speakers (following Ironside there was Frank Logsdon, Alan Redpath, George Sweeting, Warren Wiersbe, and Erwin Lutzer), its conferences, radio programs (including Songs in the Night, which came under the church's sponsorship in the 1960s), and urban outreach programs often served as models for other congregations.


39.5 Linear Feet (70 boxes (67 document cases, 1 oversize box, 2 flat document cases); Lantern Slides, Negatives, Oversize Materials, Photograph Albums, Photographs, Slides, Video)

Language of Materials


Arrangement and Description


The Moody Memorial Church documents in the Archives include records going back almost to the beginning of the congregation and up to the first decade of the 21st century. Types of records include correspondence, reports, diaries, legal papers, church publications, minute books, financial ledgers and journals, church letters (statements that an individual is a member in good standing of a particular church), sermon notes, church bulletins, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, lantern slides, photographs, and slides. The records include material from all periods of the Moody Church's history except the very beginning, but most of the documents are from the period 1916-1946, an era from just after the beginning of Rader's pastorate to just before the end of H.A. Ironside's. Files describe the church's administration, membership policies, Sunday school, conferences, ushers, music, programs, theological beliefs, and place in Chicago life. They also illustrate other themes, such as the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy, disputes between Fundamentalists and Pentecostals, urban evangelism in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-centuries America, and the activities of American Protestant missionaries in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe, as well as in home missions in the United States. The first thirty boxes contain correspondence and other materials of the church's pastors (almost all of which is from either P.W. Philpott or H.A. Ironside). The rest of the material in the collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title, the titles usually being supplied by the Archivist.

Note: in the description that follows, the archivist has often listed some of the correspondents or organizations for which there is information in the collection. However, with a collection as extensive as the Moody records, those mentioned in this guide are only intended as samples of the types of material available. Nor are the folders listed after a particular topic necessarily the only ones with information on that topic. The archivist listed the folders he was aware of, but there could easily be many others. The researcher using these materials will need to make a thorough search for themselves.

The records are described in several broad categories, several of which are series. These include:

  • Dwight L. Moody Materials
  • Pastors' Files
  • Committees' Files
  • Church Organizations
  • Membership Records
  • Activities at the Church
  • Dwight L. Moody Materials

    Moody was never pastor of the church he founded, although he was its guiding spirit during his lifetime. There is little in the collection with direct information about him, but what there is spans 1864-1894. Folder 51-4 contains the membership register of the church which lists him as the first member. This register was apparently made up some time after the church was founded, perhaps in the 1880s. Folder 58-3 contains a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about meetings held by Moody and John McNeill in Scotland and Ireland in 1892, and meetings held by McNeill in South Africa in 1894. Folder 51-3 contains items from the church's 1937 celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Moody's birth. Folder 42-3 contains a list of Moody's Chicago street addresses from 1857-1880, copied from city directories. The same folder contains a typescript, possibly of an article for or from the church newsletter, of reminiscences about Moody by his friend E.W. Blatchford. Finally, the Northside Tabernacle Account Book from 1871-1874 in folder 68-3 features donations from Moody.

    Series: Pastors' Files

  • Arrangement: Chronologically by pastor
  • Date Range: 1907-1980
  • Volume: 30.0 linear feet
  • Boxes: 1-30

  • Most of the materials relating directly to the church's various pastors are in boxes 1 through 30, although other material can be found throughout the collection. Box 1 contains a few items apiece from or about the church's early 20th century pastors. There is a tract from R.A. Torrey, Sr., in folder 1-1. W.J. Jacoby was an assistant to Torrey, and folders 31-11, 47-4 and 47-5 contain several of his letters.

    Letters that A.C. Dixon sent to new converts, a summary of his plan for making sure each visitor was greeted every Sunday, a floor plan of the Moody Church during his time and his letter of resignation are all in folder 1-2. Folder 57-4 holds small promotional cards which were apparently passed out to passersby to announce sermons or special meetings led by Dixon as in later years cards would be passed out announcing meetings by Paul Rader, P.W. Philpott, H.A. Ironside, Rodney "Gypsy" Smith, E.Y. Woolley, and W.J. Jacoby. Dwight L. Moody had started this practice, although the collection contains no cards from him. The cards often have a pithy saying or colorful picture to attract attention. The scrapbook in Photo Album IX contains (in addition to programs and other items published by the church during his pastorate) a long series of sermons by Dixon which appeared in a Chicago newspaper.

    John Harper never actually served as pastor of the church, although he did preach there on occasion. He was called by the church in 1912, but died while crossing the Atlantic on the Titanic. Folder 31-9 contains letters he wrote to the church, some materials about his call and letters sent to his former congregation (Walworth Road Baptist Church) commiserating with them over their loss. The same folder contains a resolution mourning the death of long-time elder John M. Hitchcock in 1912. See also folder 1-4.

    Folder 1-3 contains correspondence to and from E.J. Woolley (or pastoral assistant and membership secretary P.C. James) on such routine matters as birthday greetings, a form from an adoption agency about the character of a church member, correspondence with James Gray about preaching at the Tabernacle, floor plan of the Moody Tabernacle, etc. Most of this material comes from the period when Woolley was serving as Rader's associate pastor. Also in the file is a 1919 letter asking that his church membership be transferred to the church he had moved to in Massachusetts. Folder 31-9 contains a memo Woolley wrote in 1911 on the actions the church should take while it was without a pastor, and one from 1912 on the importance of prayer in the life of the church.

    There is material about Paul Rader in several folders throughout the collection. The scrapbooks in Photo Albums X and XI contain numerous promotional cards, posters and other announcements of meetings that Rader held at Moody and elsewhere. His desire to involve all Moody's members in the life of the church are outlined in a letter in folder 31-11. A large number of the committee reports and correspondence in boxes 31 through 38 are from the time of his pastorate and the Cedar Lake records in folders 30-3 through 30-7 reflect his interest in the property. Folder 1-4 contains such items that reflect the church's initial enthusiasm for Rader (such as resolutions of support and appreciation by the executive committee) and later estrangement (such as the letter the executive committee sent to the membership of the church explaining the reasons for Rader's resignation 1921) and finally a 1925 letter from the board suggesting that Rader and the church submit their differences to an impartial arbitrator. Other items in the file include an offer from Rader to buy Cedar Lake from the church. Rader's departure arose in part from the tension caused by the difference between Rader's freewheeling, entrepreneurial style and the church's more conservative tradition. The animosity between Rader and the next pastor, P.W. Philpott, is reflected in letters such as that in file 1-6 between Philpott and Roland V. Bingham. A few letters in the membership files, such as 45-1, are from church members who left Moody to go to Rader's new church, the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. Folder 2-10 contains information about his evangelistic work in Chicago after he left Moody.

    In addition to the Philpott and Ironside pastorates (see following subseries), there are a few folders with material from other pastors of Moody Church. Folders 29-7,8,9 contain programs or other materials from the installations of, respectively, George Sweeting, Warren Wiersbe, and Erwin Lutzer. Folder 29-6 has a biographical sketch of the life of Alan Redpath and printed summaries of talks that he gave between 1953 and 1955. Sweeting's letter outlining his plans if he became pastor of Moody are contained in folder 29-7, as are a couple of sermon outlines and a letter from Wallace Ericksen outlining his strategy if he were chosen pastor.

    Subseries: P.W. Philpott

  • Arrangement: Alphabetical by folder title
  • Date Range: 1922-1967
  • Volume: 0.9 linear feet
  • Boxes: 1-2

  • The rest of the files in box 1 and all of box 2 consists of correspondence of P.W. Philpott, most of it from the very end of his pastorate. Topics covered in these files include scheduling evangelistic meetings for himself or for others at Moody; Philpott's opinions on theological trends of the time; response to his sermons or to various church policies; evidence of hostility between Rader and Philpott; background information on Moody congregation members who were applying to various mission and evangelistic organizations; correspondence with other members of the World Christian Fundamentalist Association (such as Gustaf Johnson); and arranging for musicians to appear at Moody. Among his correspondents (whose letters unless otherwise noted can be found in the file labeled with the first letter of their last names) are: evangelists Ellery and Ellen Aldridge, Donald Grey Barnhouse, William Biederwolf, Roland V. Bingham (about the work of the Sudan Interior Mission), Charles Blanchard (see also folders 32-1 and 33-4), J. Mary Borden (mother of William Borden), J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., (asking for money for Wheaton College and describing the College's new public relations policy), Lewis Chafer (folder 1-10, mostly about Central American Mission but also some information about Chafer's Evangelical Theological School, which later became Dallas Seminary), Ralph Davis, J.A. Davis, George Engstrom, A.F. Gaylord, James Gray (reporting on activities at Moody Bible Institute), Homer Hammontree, Will Houghton, H.A. Ironside, Gustaf Johnson, J.E. Jaderquist, Charles Rolls of the Bible Institute of New Zealand, William Bell Riley (about the World Christian Fundamentals Association), Mel Trotter, and Henry Clarence Thiessen.

    Many of the files in boxes 1 and 2, such as folders 1-9 and 2-5, contain correspondence and memos on the routine, day-to-day functioning of the church staff. Folder 1-7 contains annual reports for the year 1927-1928 from the various departments and committees of the church. Some of the topics covered in Philpott's correspondence, besides those already mentioned, include:

  • Folder 1-5: A chart dividing history into seven dispensations according to Pre-millenial theology
  • Folder 1-6: Anonymous letters sent to Philpott or the executive committee of the church, usually complaining about some aspect of the church or containing prophecies or warnings
  • Folder 1-8: Criticisms of the work of the Christian and Missionary Alliance; an endorsement of Mr. Divine, who was acting as fundraiser for Moody's building campaign
  • Folder 1-9: The Chicago Hebrew Mission, the Ceylon and India General Mission, the costs of broadcasting a Gypsy Smith meeting over WMBI radio station, and a statement by Philpott on divine healing
  • Folder 1-11: The work of the Central American Mission, on which Philpott served as a board member
  • Folder 1-12: Notification to the county clerk about marriages performed by Philpott
  • Folder 1-16: suggestions on ways to increase the church's involvement in Jewish evangelism
  • Folder 1-18: Brochure with information on E.H. Ironside's (perhaps H.A. Ironside's brother, cousin, or other relative) plan for a Bible school of African Americans of the Southern states (eventually founded in Texas under the name Southern Bible Training School; see folders 4-4, 4-7, 9-4, 11-1, 15-1, 19-3)
  • Folder 2-6: Plans for an Philpott city-wide union meeting to be held in Milwaukee in 1928
  • Folder 2-7: An old issue of the journal of the North Africa Mission; constitution and other information about the League of Evangelical Students
  • Folder 2-9: Brochure by Philpott attacking Pentecostal doctrine and Aimee Semple McPherson
  • Folder 2-10: Handbills for missionary conferences, the Cedar Lake Association, the Westminster Press, and Paul Bosworth's evangelistic campaign in Chicago
  • Folder 2-12: Information on the work of the Russian Evangelization Society and on John Steinbrecher's plan for a special tabernacle for African Americans; a Wheaton College fundraising letter, Illinois Christian Fundamentals Association
  • Folder 2-14: Plans, reports, testimonials, and other documents from the evangelistic meetings Philpott held in Tacoma with song leader Arthur McKee

  • Folders 58-6 through 62-1 contain stenographic notebooks from 1925-1928, apparently in the Gregg system of shorthand, which can be read by someone familiar with that system. Most of these appear to be shorthand transcripts of Philpott's sermons, although there are some books of office dictation and minutes of church meetings. Others contain sermons by other preachers who spoke from Moody's pulpit, such as William Biederwolf (folders 58-7, 60-1), Charles Blanchard (folders 58-7, 59-2), John E. Brown (folder 60-2), H.D. Campbell (folder 58-6), Robert Glover (folder 59-4), Jonathan Goforth (folder 58-6), James Gray (folders 58-7, 59-4, 62-1)), Charles Hurlburt (folder 58-6), H.A. Ironside (folder 59-4), John E. Jaderquist (folder 58-7), G. Campbell Morgan (folder 61-1), Gypsy Smith (folder 61-3), John Roach Stratton (folder 59-1), and Billy Sunday (folder 59-2). Also of interest are the stenographer’s notes for the memorial service for Emma Dryer (folder 58-6) and a sermon by Philpott in folder 62-1 on the Holy Spirit and fanaticism, possibly an attack on Pentecostalism.

    Folder 2-9 contains a copy of the Moody Church News with the article about Philpott's resignation. Folder 2-17 contains some information about his ministry after he left Moody, and anniversary information from the Philpott Tabernacle (later the Philpott Memorial Church) which he founded in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1892. Folders 9-7 and 18-7 contain some of his correspondence with Ironside.

    Charles Porter was an associate pastor under Philpott and Ironside. Folder 2-18 contains a report on his work from 1940.

    Subseries: H.A. Ironside

  • Arrangement: Correspondence arranged chronologically
  • Date Range: 1913-1950
  • Volume: 13.4 linear feet
  • Boxes: 3-29

  • A large portion of this collection (boxes 3 through 29) consists of H.A. Ironside's correspondence and diaries. He was sometimes called "the bishop of Fundamentalism" and his letters, which cover only a small portion of his time as pastor of Moody, illustrate why. He was continually corresponding with other Fundamentalist leaders and pastors about current events, Christian prophecy, and theological issues; counseling Christians who wrote to him with personal problems, answering requests for his books; and exchanging letters with missionaries, soldiers, prisoners and others. His agreement with the church when he became pastor in 1930 included the understanding that he would be allowed to spend much of his time traveling around the country to speak at other churches, schools, and conferences. Indeed, he was usually away from Chicago forty weeks of the year, but he was usually back on Sundays to preach. Much of his correspondence concerns plans for speaking engagements.

    There is virtually no Ironside correspondence prior to 1940. Folders 3-1, 3-7, 4-5, 6-8, 13-3, and 22-8 contain what there is. Of especial interest are the postcards he sent back to Chicago when he was traveling in Europe (folder 3-1).

    Here is a select list of Ironside's correspondents. Please note, this list is only a sampling. It does not include everyone who wrote to him or to whom he wrote and for those people who are on the list, it does not necessarily include every folder with a letter from them or to them:
  • Jessie Blanchard of Africa Inland Mission (folder 11-3, 16-3)
  • Julia Blanchard (folders 11-3, 16-3)
  • H.D. Campbell of Moody Church and Africa Inland Mission (folder 12-4)
  • Christian Businessmen's Committee of Chicago (folder 11-1)
  • Gordon Clark of Wheaton College (folder 8-5)
  • J. Hoffman Cohn of the American Mission to the Jews (folders 8-5 and 20-6)
  • J.E. Conant (folder 3-8)
  • L.S. Chafer or Dallas Seminary staff (folders 3-6, 8-5, 11-1, 12-4, 20-7)
  • Percy Crawford (folders 3-8, 20-4)
  • Ralph Davis of Africa Inland Mission (folders 4-1, 8-6)
  • Peter Deyneka, Sr. (folders 4-1, 20-7)
  • Alex Dodd (folder 24-3)
  • V. Raymond Edman of Wheaton College where Ironside was a trustee (folders 4-2, 13-1)
  • Howard Ferrin (folder 24-5)
  • Herman Fischer of Wheaton College (folders 7-6, 7-7)
  • Robert Glover of the China Inland Mission (folders 4-4, 13-4, 17-1, 24-6)
  • Clara Guilding of Africa Inland Mission (folder 13-4)
  • Ira Hartman (folder 25-1)
  • Will Houghton of Moody Bible Institute (folder 4-7)
  • Leslie Huber (folder 9-4)
  • John Huffman (folder 4-7)
  • Karl Hummel of Central America Mission (folder 4-7)
  • Morris Inch (folder 21-4)
  • Torrey Johnson (folder 21-5)
  • Bob Jones, Sr. (folders 9-7, 11-3, 13-6, 21-5)
  • Reuben Larson of HCJB (folder 9-9)
  • Loizeaux Brothers (Ironside's publisher) (folders 5-3, 10-1, 14-2, 17-6, 22-1, 25-1)
  • William McCarrell (folder 20-4)
  • Robert McQuilken of Columbia Bible College (folders 5-7, 14-3)
  • J. Palmer Muntz of the Winona Lake Bible Conference, known also as the Winona Lake Christian Assembly (folders 5-5, 5-6, 13-6, 14-3, 21-5, 25-6, 26-1)
  • Harold John Ockenga (folder 6-4)
  • J. Edwin Orr (folder 6-4)
  • William L. Pettingill (folder 18-7)
  • P.W. Philpott (folder 18-7)
  • Guy W. Playfair (folders 18-7, 33-4)
  • Daniel Poling (folder 26-5)
  • James Rayburn (folders 6-7, 10-10)
  • John R. Rice (folders 6-7, 10-10, 18-8, 26-6)
  • Joy Ridderhof of Gospel Recordings (folder 10-10)
  • William Bell Riley (folder 18-8)
  • Homer Rodeheaver (folder 18-8)
  • Judson Rudd of William Jennings Bryan University (folder 6-7)
  • Ernest Sandeen (folder 27-1)
  • Harry Saulnier of the Pacific Garden Mission (folder 11-1)
  • George Beverly Shea (folders 11-1, 18-9, 26-7)
  • John Stratton Shufelt (folders 18-9, 27-1)
  • Oswald Smith (folders 19-2, 22-5, 27-2)
  • Rodney "Gypsy" Smith (folders 7-2, 27-2)
  • Wilbur Smith (folders 19-2, 22-5)
  • Peter Stam, Jr. (folder 11-1)
  • A.H. Stewart (folders 7-1, 11-1)
  • Paul Pinney Stough (19-11)
  • Louis Talbot (folders 7-3, 11-2, 15-3)
  • Clyde Taylor (folder 15-3)
  • Henry Clarence Thiessen (folders 7-3, 11-2, 15-3)
  • W. Cameron and Elvira Townsend about their translation work in Mexico (folders 7-3, 19-4)
  • Dawson Trotman (11-2)
  • Charles Troutman (folder 11-2)
  • United Aborigine Mission of Australia (folder 7-3)
  • Abraham Veriede (11-3)
  • John Walvoord (folders 7-6, 11-4)
  • Evan Welsh (folder 7-6)
  • J.W. Welsh of the College Church of Wheaton (folder 11-4)
  • T.R. Westervelt (folder 7-6)
  • J. Elwin Wright (folders 7-7, 23-1)
  • Jack Wyrtzen (folders 7-6, 15-5)
  • Andrew Wyzenbeek (folder 27-5)
  • Fred Zafara of the Mel Trotter Mission (folder 19-8)
  • P.J. Zondervan (folder 7-9)

  • Topics:
  • Africa Inland Mission (folders 3-3, 8-2, 12-2, 16-1, 19-11, 23-6)
  • American Council of Christian Churches (folder 14-7)
  • China Inland Mission (later the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, folder 13-4)
  • Jewish evangelism (folders 20-7, 23-7)
  • Christian Endeavor Society of China (folder 33-4)
  • Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy in a letter to a Mr. Soeyer (folder 11-1)
  • Dallas Theological Seminary (folders 3-6, 4-1, 8-5, 11-1, 12-4, 20-7)
  • Sesquicentennial of Charles G. Finney (folder 9-2)
  • Moody Bible Institute (information in many folders, but see especially folder 6-9)
  • Multnomah School of the Bible (folder 11-1)
  • National Association of Evangelicals (folders 14-7, 23-1)
  • Pentecostalism (folder 21-4)
  • Moody Church radio broadcasts over station WMBI (folder 6-8; folder 4-7 contains a letter about the church's plans to move from WMBI to WCBD)
  • Salvation Army (folder 11-1)
  • Southern Bible Training School - a school for African Americans (folders 4-4, 4-6, 4-7, 9-4, 11-1, 15-1, 19-3)
  • Warfield Bible Institute (folder 7-7)
  • and the departure of Gordon Clark from Wheaton College because of his so-called "hyper-Calvinism" (folders 8-5, 11-2)

  • Since most of Ironside's correspondence comes from the period when the United States was a belligerent in World War II, some of the letters contain information about the war fronts and home fronts. For example, folder 19-6 contains several letters from African-American serviceman Tom Wilson about his evangelistic activities in the North African and European theaters. Folder 16-3 contains material from the Chicago Board of Education about the effect of closing Manly High School in order to turn the building over to the Navy. The same folder contains a letter from the Keswick Convention of England mentioning how their meeting had been disrupted by the German's 1944 rocket attack on London. Folder 20-4 contains an interesting letter that includes the testimony of Don Castel, a stretcher bearer who had been awarded the Silver Star. Folder 7-9 contains correspondence Ironside had with missionary Esther Yaeger in the Philippines just before those islands were invaded by the Japanese.

    Ironside diaries are in folders 28-1 through 29-4. They cover most of his life from 1913 until 1948, the year he left Moody Church. Most entries are very brief, usually about two hundred words a day, although in some cases, like 1944, he wrote more if the physical size of the journal allowed more. He wrote about sermons preached, classes taught, occasionally a reference to events of the day, contacts with other evangelists, etc. Folder 29-5 contains his life record as a minister, including a register of the marriages, baptisms, and funerals he performed. A list just of marriages performed between 1931 and 1942 can be found in folder 10-4. Folder 27-8 contains one of his New Testaments, annotated with his comments.

    Series: Committees' Files

  • Arrangement: Alphabetical
  • Date Range: 1895-1998
  • Volume: 9.0 linear feet
  • Boxes: 31-39

  • As might be expected in a church with a strong historical tradition, the laity of the congregation played a strong, often dominant part in its governance. This is reflected in the committee files found in boxes 31 through 39. They contain reports and correspondence from the various groups that supervised the main and varied aspects of the church's life. For a full list of the folders with materials from committees, the researcher must consult the Box List found near the back of this guide.

    The Executive Committee files (folders 31-11 through 31-13) are a rather haphazard collection of materials, mostly from the 1910s and '20s. The committee, serving as the governing body of the church, consisted of the pastor, the assistant pastor, the elders, the head usher, the Sunday school superintendent, the deacons, the clerk, the treasurer, the financial secretary, and the trustees (the trustees were the people legally responsible for the church). Among the items of interest are the following from folder 31-11:
  • A 1892 memo from Fleming Revell suggesting that the most appropriate way to celebrate D.L. Moody's birthday would be to set up scholarships at the Bible Institute
  • A resolution thanking James Gray for his acting as a supply pastor in 1897
  • aA resolution of mourning passed after the death of elder Eugene Kappeler in 1904
  • A 1917 letter (possibly from Paul Rader) on the need for a membership secretary
  • A letter sent to A.F. Gaylord in 1918 when he withdrew from the church
  • statistics on people who were put in contact with the church after they had come forward during evangelist Billy Sunday's 1918 meeting in Chicago (the scrapbook in Photo Album XII contains one or two forms from this campaign; folder 62-2 contains a sample of sermon notes for one of Sunday's sermons)
  • A resolution of appreciation on the service given the church by elder Robert Aitchison
  • Attendance lists for committee meetings in the early 1920s
  • A letter about the gift from the Waterman estate to the church (see also folder 51-1)
  • resignations from the board for various reasons
  • Forms signed by committee members indicating their acceptance of the Moody constitution
  • Letters relating to charges of false beliefs or unbecoming conduct against church members
  • Lists of committee members for various years
  • Materials from the later 1950s and early 1960s relating to changes in the church's constitution

  • Folder 31-9 contains executive committee-type material although labeled "church committee." Folder 31-13 contains two pamphlets relating to a dispute the executive committee had with former elder W.R. Newall. Folder 47-4 contains letters about J.A. Forestor's resignation from the executive committee in the 1920s. Folder 31-13 contains letters relating to the ordination of Christian workers to various tasks. These appear to be only a small fraction of the letters of ordination actually issued by the committee.

    The Nominating Committee at one time had questions about belief and practice which every candidate for office in the church had to answer. Folder 38-7 contains samples of these questions. (See also the reports of the nominating committee for the Sunday school in folder 64-1).

    The file for the Music Committee (folder 38-6) contains several long reports by Arthur McKee (whose resignation letter is in folder 48-3) about the all aspects of the yearly musical activities at the church, both vocal and instrumental. Of related interest is the correspondence from a slightly later period of music director Richard Oliver in folder 52-3. Included in this file are letters from Roy McGhee about his work as a musician with the YMCA in Paris after World War I. McGhee describes an occasion when he saw Woodrow Wilson during the peace negotiations. Folder 49-3 contains Oliver's letter explaining why he was leaving Moody to work with Paul Rader at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle.

    Folder 38-11 contains a miscellany of reports, including from the children's home, the Yokefellow Band, minutes of 1897 annual business meeting, plans for 1908 reunion week, the Fire Committee (which oversaw fire safety), the Girls Mission Study Circle, the Flowers Committee, the Vacation Camp Committee, the Kitchen, the Baptismal Committee, and the Building Committee.

    The Mission Committee or committees took various forms through the church's history, but generally was responsible for helping to select the home and foreign missionaries the church supported (missionaries had to be members of the church) and helped to plan the missions rally held at the church each year to inform the congregation and raise support for missions. Folders 32-1 through 38-3 contain the records of the committee, almost all of the documents from the time periods of 1911-1917 or 1940-1944. For the years 1940 to 1944, there were separate files for letters to mission boards (usually about gifts made to the mission) and letters to individual missionaries. However, filing was rather haphazard, so some letters to or from the same individual might be under their name or under the name of the board they served under or, in a few cases, the name of the country or region they were serving in.

    Following is a (non-inclusive) list of the countries, organizations, and types of work the church supported:

  • Africa Inland Mission (letters from individual AIM workers can be found throughout Ironside's correspondence as well as throughout the Mission Committee's; among other files, see folders 3-3, 4-1, 8-2,6, 12-2, 16-1, 19-11, 23-6, 32-1,6, 33-6, 35-6)
  • Alaska (folder 32-6)
  • American Bible Society (folders 32-1, 33-6)
  • American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (folders 32-2, 33-6)
  • American-European Fellowship (folder 33-6)
  • American Mission to the Lepers (folder 33-6)
  • Angola (folders 34-2, 35-9), Arabia (folder 32-6)

  • Belgian Congo (present day Zaire, folders 34-2,3, 35-6)
  • Roland V. Bingham (folders 1-6, 33-4)
  • Bolivia (folders 34-3, 35-8)
  • Bolivia Indian Mission (folder 34-3)
  • Brazil (folders 32-1,5, 34-3,6)
  • Evangelistic and humanitarian work in Bulgaria during the 1912-1913 war (folder 32-6)

  • Central American Mission (folders 1-10,11, 3-7, 4-7, 34-4)
  • Ceylon and India Mission (folder 32-3)
  • Chicago Hebrew Mission (later known as the American Messianic Fellowship, folders 1-9, 32-2)
  • Chicago Tract Society (folder 32-2; see also reports of the Moody Tract League in folder 52-2)
  • Children's work (folders 30-3, 32-1, 33-4, 35-8, 39-4, 40-1)
  • China (folders 4-3, 13-4, 17-1, 24-6, 32-2,4,6, 33-4, 34-3,4, 35-6,10)
  • China Inland Mission (includes letters from both Canadian and United States home boards, folders 4-4, 13-4, 17-1, 24-6, 32-1,2,4, 34-4,5)
  • Christian and Missionary Alliance (folders 1-8, 34-4)
  • Colombia (folders 32-1, 33-4)
  • Home mission work among migrant cotton pickers (folder 35-8)
  • Ivy Craig in Rhodesia (folder 34-5)
  • Evelyn Crane among the Lisu people of southern China (folder 34-5)
  • Cuba (folders 34-4, 36-7)
  • Cuba Evangelization Society (folder 34-4)

  • Enock Dyrness of Wheaton College (folder 20-7)
  • Evangelical Union of South America (folder 37-1,2)

  • Famine relief (folder 33-4)

  • Gideons (folder 35-5)
  • Work with girls (folder 32-1)
  • Guatemala (folder 34-3)
  • W. Guilding's postcards from the German internment camp after the ship he was traveling on (the Zamzam) was sunk by the Germans during World War II (folder 35-6)

  • Hebrew Christian Alliance (folder 35-7)
  • Honduras (folder 35-8)
  • Sarah Hosmon's work in Arabia (folder 32-6)

  • India (folders 1-9, 32-3, 33-3,4, 34-6, 36-4)

  • Japan (folders 33-2,4; folder 35-3 has reports on the church in Japan just before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor)
  • Japan Independent Mission (folder 33-2)
  • Jewish evangelism (folders 1-16, 8-5, 20-7, 23-7, 35-7)
  • W.R. Johnson's work among the Navaho people (folder 32-6)
  • Clarence Jones (folders 35-9, 47-4)
  • Ann Jordan of AIM (folder 32-6)

  • Kenya (folders 34-3, 35-6,8)

  • Work with lepers (folders 33-3,6)

  • Mexico (folders 7-3, 19-4, 33-4, 34-6, 35-2, 37-1,2)
  • Methodist Episcopal Mission to Italy (32-6)
  • Mission to Lepers in India and the East (later known as the Leprosy Mission, folder 33-3)
  • Moravians (folder 32-6)
  • Morocco (folder 32-2)

  • Doris Needham's work in Mexico (folders 36-4,5)
  • Home missions work among New Orleans children (folder 35-8)
  • Nigeria (folders 32-6, 33-4, 34-2,3, 35-8, 36-7)
  • Northeast India General Mission (folders 36-4,9)
  • Nyasaland (folder 35-3)

  • Peru (folder 36-7)
  • Presbyterian missions in China (folder 33-4)

  • Diary of Rees-Jones journey from Chicago to South India via Japan, Manila, Hong Kong, and Ceylon (folder 33-4)
  • Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe, folders 34-5, 35-9)
  • Rural Bible Crusade (folder 36-9)
  • Russia (folders 2-12, 20-7, 32-2, 36-9)
  • Russian Gospel Association (later the Slavic Gospel Association, folders 20-7, 36-9)
  • Work among Russian war prisoners in Germany during World War I (folder 32-2)

  • San Pedro Mission (later known as the East Bolivian Mission, folder 33-4)
  • Scandinavian Alliance Mission (later known as The Evangelical Alliance Mission or TEAM, folders 34-5, 37-1,2, 58-2)
  • South Africa General Mission (folders 26-7, 33-5, 37-1,2)
  • South America Evangelical Mission (folders 32-5, 33-5)
  • Robert Speer (folder 33-4)
  • Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon, folders 32-3, 33-4)
  • Andrew Stirrett's work in Nigeria (folder 33-4)
  • The Stott family of Grace Evangelical Mission in China (folder 33-4)
  • Sudan Interior Mission (folders 18-7, 26-7, 33-4, 34-5, 37-1,2)

  • Wheaton College (folders 1-8, 2-12, 4-2, 7-6,7, 8-5, 11-2, 13-1, 20-7, 37-6)
  • Wycliffe Bible Translators (also known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, folders 26-5, 36-4,5, 37-6)

  • Zambesi Mission (folder 37-7)

  • There are many items of interest in the Missions Committee files. For example folders 33-1 and 38-3 contain lists of missionaries supported by the church. Similar material can be found in folder 20-5. See also the ledger in folder 42-7 of funds raised to support missionaries. Folder 32-1 contains a brochure on the plans of the Canadian Congregational Foreign Mission Society to found a school to train Africans to be evangelists. Folder 33-4 contains the Missionary Committee's explanation not to participate in the 1913 World in Chicago Exposition because of its secularism.

    The missionary rally held each year for home and foreign missions was a major event in the life of the church. Representatives of different mission boards would report on their activities, there would be sermons on the purpose of missions, people would be encouraged to consider whether they had a call to be a missionary, and offerings would be taken for various mission programs. Many files throughout the collection have information relating to the rallies, especially folders 6-1, 10-5, 14-4, 18-3, 22-4, 38-1,2, and 53-11. Other folders containing material relating to the church's mission programs include 14-5, 16-5, 18-2, 26-1, 38-11,14, and 42-7.

    Church Organizations

    As noted above, the Sunday school was founded before the church, and the collection contains a great deal of information about its programs. Almost every folder contains something related to the program. Folders 62-3 through 64-4 contain reports, statistics, lists of officers, teachers, and students, minutes of the governing board, and a copy of the constitution. Folder 53-12 through 54-4 contain programs from various events such as Rally Day or the annual Christmas program.

    Folders 57-5, 57-6 and 57-7 contain various publications of the Sunday school, such as attendance sheets, class lists, and the innumerable colorful small cards that were distributed to invite children and adults to classes. More such publications are in folders 57-6,7, 65-5, and Photo Albums XIII and XIV. Others can be found intermingled with other church publications in scrapbooks in Photo Albums IX through XII. Folder 70-4 holds various ephemera from the Sunday school program, ca. 1892-1937, including a certificate of membership, several recruitment tools, copies of "Little Will and May" or, "We’ll Go Where Grandma Go’ed."; and various hymns. It also includes application papers to teach Sunday school. Another file with information about the Sunday school (besides the church bulletins and minute books described elsewhere) is folder 42-3.

    The church's conference grounds were used extensively for events aimed at Sunday school students and other children, although it was also the site of events for adults. Folders 30-3,4,5,6,7 and 65-1 contain records about Cedar Lake, the site of the camp for several years. The camp was sometimes referred to as Cedar Lake and sometimes as Restawhile. Most of the materials in these folders refer to the financial management or ownership of the camp, such as the legal papers in folder 30-6 or the payroll in folder 30-7. Folder 30-3 has some information on its program, as does a brochure in folder 42-3. Other information on Cedar Lake can be found in the church scrapbooks in Photo Albums IX, X, and XII, as well as in folders 1-4 and 2-10. There is a little material in folder 64-11 on the camp the church purchased later at Lake Loon in northern Illinois. See also the photo album labeled "Moody VI" for additional information on the church's camp program.

    The church as an organization and its members as individuals were often involved in evangelistic outreach in Chicago or the surrounding area, as documented in the membership files and the minutes, among other places. The work among the Italian immigrant population, first at 400 W. Chicago and eventually headquartered in a church at the corner of Elm and LaSalle, is described in the statistical reports in folder 38-5, among other places. The mission later became the independent LaSalle Street Church. The Mission Church of Ravenswood (4803 N. Claremont) was another congregation started by Moody and supported by the church until at least the mid-1930s (folders 31-16, 44-16,17, 50-4). The Moody Gospel Mission (604 N. Clark) for the poor and derelict was another outreach of the church. Besides the reports in folders 38-4 and 48-4, the ledgers in folder 65-2 contain descriptions of the daily expenses of the staff. There does not appear to be any significant amount of material in the collection about the Clyburn Gospel Mission, also started by the church. Reports on some of the open air evangelistic preaching undertaken by church members are in folders 38-8 and 49-2. In the latter part of the 20th century, the church became the base for reaching children through the telephone ministry called Dial-a-Story. Children could call up to hear stories from the Bible or about the Christian life. Information on this program is in folders 39-4 and 69-5. The newspaper clippings in folder 52-4 also have information about some of the outreach programs of the church. Folder 39-1 contains a report from 1897 about meetings held to convert women.

    The church also made use of radio to broadcast its services and other types of evangelistic outreach. They began broadcasting the church services over WMBI (the radio station of Moody Bible Institute) in 1934. Folder 6-8 contains correspondence about the shift from WMBI to WCBD in 1939 (see also folders 1-9 and 4-7). In 1968, the radio program "Songs in the Night," which had been broadcast since 1943 by the Village Church of the Chicago suburb of Western Springs, was moved to Moody Church. Folder 53-5 contains a booklet from the program's thirtieth anniversary with a brief history. Folder 57-8 contains two of the show's newsletters.

    Within the church there were many programs, Bible studies, Sunday school classes, and other groups that developed strong identities of their own. The collection contains records of several of these. In a church the size of Moody, the ushers were an important group. Besides helping to manage the services, the Moody Usher Band organized evangelistic outreach of their own and held regular social events. Some of these activities are documented in folder 64-10, which includes reports, lists of members, banquet programs, and a newsletter. Folders 31-2,3,4,5 contain reports, minutes, newsletters and other records of the Christian Companionship Club, which was a group for young adults. The materials in the file document their social events and evangelistic outreach. Other groups for which there are files include the Christian Clarion Club (folder 54-7), Christian Endeavor (31-6), the Friendly Bible Class (folder 39-7), the Friendship Club (folder 39-8), the Great Commission Prayer League (folder 42-2), the Moody Tract League (folder 52-2), the Women's Home and Foreign Missions Society (folder 38-14), and the Young Married People's Bible Class (folder 64-4).

    Series: Membership records

  • Arrangement: Primarily alphabetical
  • Date Range: 1864-1942
  • Volume: 4.6 linear feet
  • Boxes: 43-52

  • The membership records of the church are another rich source of information about the congregation. Besides yielding genealogical information, the materials in these files document the development of the church over the years and offer many glimpses into the everyday life and beliefs on the individual members. Folder 43-3 contains a member’s address list. Folders 43-4 through 44-20 contain small cards which were kept for each member, giving basic information such as when they joined the church, address, etc. Folders 45-1 through 51-2 contain membership files. These are arranged alphabetically by members’ names, although often there is no order within a particular file. Among the types of documents that can be found in a file are letters transferring membership from Moody to another church or from another church to Moody, certificates of membership, documents relating to an investigation or criticisms of a member's conduct, letters from members explaining what the church means to them or giving them reasons for leaving and much miscellaneous material. Several files contain reactions of members to Rader's departure.

    Among the items of interest are:
  • A 1927 letter from a woman who was resigning from Moody to join the Foursquare Lighthouse, partly in protest against attacks on Aimee Semple McPherson (folder 45-1)
  • A letter from Norman Camp about the need for an evangelistic ministry among the unchurched of the Roger's Park area and letters from the prize fighter-turned evangelist J.C. Cardiff (folder 46-1)
  • Papers relating to J.A. Forest's resignation from the executive committee (folder 46-4)
  • A.F. Gaylord's complaint that the church supported divine healing and was going into debt (folder 46-5)
  • A 1917 letter by Cecilia Larson describing how she had come to the church as a lonely young woman in a big city and how much the congregation had meant to her (folder 48-1)
  • The 1921 program from Clarence Jones' graduation from Moody Bible Institute (47-4)

  • Additional lists of members, officers and properties can be found in the directories in folder 56-5.

    The membership registers in folders 51-4,5 and 52-1 include lists of the first members, often giving the address and marital status of each, and indicating if the member had left, died, or was dismissed. The register in folder 53-3 contains the list of the very first members, starting with Dwight L. Moody, but the record appears not to have been made in 1864 when the church started but sometime later. Folder 39-5 contains another list of members who had been transferred to another church, died, or been excommunicated. Folder 43-2 contains a (seemingly incomplete) list of marriages performed at the church between 1920 and 1940 (see also folder 10-4). Folder 39-3 lists the deaths of members.

    Activities at the church

    Another major source of information for the life of the church are the church bulletins contained in folders 54-8 through 56-1. (Folder 54-5 contains a single bulletin from the Moody Tabernacle.) These folders contain bulletins from 1911 to 1983, although the series is only reasonably complete for 1947 to 1966. In these publications are the usual kind of information found in church bulletins: title and text of sermon, Sunday school classes, deaths, marriages, upcoming events, etc. Sometimes there are announcements of events going on in Chicago, such as the information about Billy Graham's 1962 Chicago Crusade in bulletins in folder 55-6. Another, even more valuable source of information is in the Wheaton Library's Evangelism & Missions Collection: the church's newsletter, which was published under a variety of names. These contain stories about people and events at the church for the years from 1888 through 1980. (See the description of periodicals by format in this collection description for more information.) Reports and receipts for the publication of the newsletter in the 1930s are in folders 57-1,2. Folder 57-9 contains an interesting analysis from the mid-1960s on the strengths and weaknesses of the congregation.

    Other folders concerning church events include 69-1, which contains promotional materials for the church, such as informational brochures and programs. Tickets of different colors and sizes for Moody events, ca. 1873-1910, are found in folder 70-6. Folder 69-2 covers various aspects of Moody centennial celebrations, with special focus on the church’s 100th anniversary in 1964. Documents included are correspondence between Bernard DeRemer, who was in charge of Moodyana at Moody Bible Institute, and various staff from Moody Church, such as Alan Redpath and Richard Maund, the pastor and business manager at the time, respectively. A brochure of the Sunday School Centennial is also included.

    Events at the church are also documented by the voluminous scrapbooks in Photo Album File IX through XIV. (These folders have been microfilmed and researchers will be asked to use the film.) These contain hundreds upon hundreds of handbills, letters, brochures, programs, cards, posters and other items (some of them very colorful) published by the church to announce Sunday school classes, concerts, evangelistic campaigns, picnics, and much more. One scrapbook is concerned almost entirely with meetings led by Paul Rader (Photo Album XI). Others contain only items about the Sunday school (Photo Albums XIII and XIV). Dwight L. Moody used to hand out small cards announcing his meetings and the church continued this tradition, as illustrated by the multitude of colorful cards in the scrapbooks and folder 57-4, among other places.

    There is another set of scrapbooks in the collection which should be mentioned. Four books, two of them very large, document the life and influence of William W. Borden, a wealthy young man who died just before he began his work as a foreign missionary. He had been a member of the church and gave one hundred thousand dollars in his will (as well as bequests to other mission organizations totaling one million dollars) for the support of home and foreign missions. The origins of the memorabilia scrapbooks are unclear, but perhaps they were put together by his mother Mary and given to the church as a memorial. They describe his life and the continuing impact of his efforts after his death and appear to be grouped roughly by topic. Scrapbook I (folder 71-1) contains Borden's childhood notes, materials about the founding and outreach of the Yale Hope Mission in New Haven, Connecticut (which worked among the indigent and poor of New Haven), letters from friends remembering Borden (including Kenneth Scott Latourette), a photo of the 1910 World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh, Bible study notes, and Princeton memorabilia. The second scrapbook (folder 71-2) includes a consolation letter to Mary Borden from Moody Church after her son's death, letters from friends around the world including James M. Gray, material on the National Bible Institute in New York (Borden served on its board of directors), articles and reports and other material about the Borden Memorial Hospital in Kansu Province of China, materials about work among Muslims in China, photos of scenes in Mecca and other Muslim sites, a copy of [a bulletin?] from one of Borden's memorial services led by Samuel Zwemer, letters from Robert Speer and John R. Mott, and a pamphlet containing Borden's will and probate documents.

    Borden took a trip around the world with Rev. Walter Eerdman in 1905, partly to visit missionaries and find out more about their activities. Folder 71-3 contains a scrapbook of postcards from that trip. They contain very brief messages and have printed scenes from Japan, China, Ceylon, India, Palestine, and Lebanon. A photo album from the same trip is described in the Photo Album descriptions (Moody Church - VIII). Additional information about Mary and William Borden can be found in folders 1-8 and 30-2.

    The scrapbooks about events at the church are supplemented somewhat by the programs and publications in folders 53-5 through 57-8. These include bulletins, programs to special events (folders 53-5,6,7,8,9,12, and 54-1,3,4), conferences (folder 53-11), letters sent to raise funds for special projects (such as the 1924-1925 construction of the new church structure at the corner of North and Chicago Avenues in folders 56-6, 57-5), newsletters or other materials for special groups within the church such as parents with babies (folder 56-4), or the Christian Clarion Club (folder 54-7). Another interesting folder is 64-5, which contains poems and other memorabilia created to commemorate someone, such as a popular Sunday school teacher. For example, the folder has a pamphlet about Mrs. Thomas Smith (her own first name not given) who died in 1943. She was a church elder who was involved in many ministries with business and professional women over a forty-year period and the booklet includes letters of appreciation from many of these, including Amy Lee Stockton and Rita Gould. Several pieces written by the Poetess of the church, Avis Christiansen, are also located in this folder.

    Administrative records

    These documents are contained in many folders across the collection. Perhaps most important are the minute books of the executive committee in folders 66-1 through 68-1. (These minutes have been microfilmed and researchers will be asked to use the film.) These go back to within a decade of the founding of the church. Perhaps earlier records were destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. For the earliest minute books, from 1876 to 1878, the Archives does not have the minute books but only photocopies made much later and of poor quality. Folder 66-2 contains the original thermofax wet copies, which are badly fading. Folder 66-1 contains dry copies made by the Archives staff on acid free bond. Because they were made from the fading thermalfax copies, these copies are also not very readable. These files describe the large and small decisions made by the board of trustees of the church over more than fifty years. The books include discussion of the spiritual needs of the congregation, work of the Sunday school, disciplinary action taken against church members, appointments, annual budgets, future plans, purchases of new property, reports of the annual church meeting, fund raising, and much more on matters large and small. The reports of the trustees are a helpful supplement to the minutes, although there are not many of them. They give an annual picture of Moody Church's activities and finances (folder 64-9). Very similar are the reports of the church clerk contained in folder 31-8 and the much later annual reports in folder 58-1.

    The various financial records of the church, of course, also show the congregations' activities and priorities. Among the type of records included are the annual reports of the treasurer (there are only a relative few of these, as in folder 64-8), annual financial reports from the 1950s (folder 39-6), ledgers on the management of Cedar Lake campground (folders 30-4,5,6,7), correspondence of the church's finance committee for a few years at the beginning of the century (folder 31-15), receipts for gifts received during the 1920s, mostly for the building fund (folders 40-2 through 41-8), a variety of ledgers (folders 42-4,5,6,7,8) from the 1910s, '20s, and '30s such as a listing of church accounts (folder 42-5), pledges and the poor fund (folder 42-8), a journal of purchases giving an idea of daily expenses (folder 65-4), and a book of funds raised for missionaries (folder 42-7).

    Of particular interest is the Northside Tabernacle account book (folder 68-3), likely the oldest item in the collection, which was started after the Chicago Fire. It contains the various incomes and expenditures of the Tabernacle beginning in November 1871 through January 1874. It includes accounts for the General Fund, Tabernacle School Fund, Tabernacle Relief Fund, and the Relief Fund, and features entries concerning D.L. Moody as well as Ira Sankey.

    The office correspondence in folders 52-5 through 53-4, although only an incomplete series, illustrates the daily concerns of the staff. (It also contains interesting information about current evangelistic activities, such as the report on the religious campaign among British and Allied soldiers in Europe in folder 53-4 or the report in folder 53-3 from John Matson, a guard at a POW camp in Canada.) Generally, the correspondence in these files seems to be many things mixed together: receipts, information about pledges, reports, etc.

    Other documents that are helpful in understanding Moody Church are its constitution, by-laws, and manuals, which have undergone revisions over the years. Folders 56-2,3 and 69-3 contain samples of these documents as they evolved over the years. This last folder also includes one copy of the manual for volunteers with the Sunday school.

    The minute books in folders 66-1 through 68-1 usually contain some information about changes that occurred. Reports on proposed constitution changes in the 1960s are in folder 31-11. New members were required to sign a statement affirming their acceptance of the constitution and rules of the church, and many examples of some forms can be found in the membership files.

    Very early, Moody Church seems to have developed a strong sense of historical tradition, as shown by the various pamphlets written on the history of the church and the efforts to preserve and use its documents. Folders 56-7 and 69-6 contain many of the pamphlets on church history that were written. Often, the latest version seems to be a somewhat modified version of the previous one. This folder also has programs from the 1925 dedication of the Clark and LaSalle structure. In 1968, a church history center was dedicated and folder 42-3 contains correspondence about people donating materials to it, as well as some of the documents themselves. Among the items in this folder are a booklet about the Cedar Lake conference grounds, a 1937 pamphlet on the history of Moody Sunday school, a 1944 brochure about a youth campaign by Bob Jones, Jr., notes for a speech about John Harper, training notes meant for people who would be giving tours of the church building, Moody Bible Institute bulletins from the time of Dr. Gray's retirement (May 1935) and his death (November 1935), and a pamphlet from the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Sunday school. This folder also contains a diary from 1905 kept by someone only identified as Elisabeth S. It does not appear to have any connection to Moody Church.

    Also of interest to a student of the church's history are:

  • The plans in folder 38-11 for the celebration of the 1909 jubilee
  • The material in folder 51-3 about the celebration of the centennial of Dwight L. Moody's birth
  • In folder 31-8, of a draft of a resolution from the Chicago Avenue Church to the Moody Church
  • Programs for historical services may also be found in folder 69-6

  • Folder 69-4 contains miscellaneous correspondence. Items of interest include a Christmas greeting card, a letter to Mrs. Fitt on Jubilee Year letterhead, a letter to the Moody Bible Institute Executive Committee from J.P. Clapham with some notes and figures attached, and an order of The Romance of a Doctor’s Visits, one of the books published by Moody Press, from Rev. Fred Champion. Folder 69-7 contains a collection of historical recounts relating to Moody Church members and events. Items included in this folder are several updated drafts of those who sang or spoke in the church (ca. 1920); recounts from the 1908 reunion; and writeups concerning the church’s building and history.

    Folders 70-1,2,3 contain miscellaneous items relating to additional aspects of Moody Church history. Several of these items relate to the history of the buildings, including a sketch of the original building (which was burned in the Chicago Fire) and the North Side Tabernacle (which was used for two years after the Chicago Fire); programs for the final service held in the Chicago Avenue structure; and a photo commemorative from the 2007 dedication of the Christian Life Center. Other notable items include a booklet of "Campaign Rally Songs for the Dry Chicago Federation"; a pamphlet of hymns for "Meetings for Sober - Unemployed Men Every Morning" from 1908; an unrevised copy of the church constitution; random worship service programs; and a negative and photographic print copy of a brief 1887 history of the "Chicago Avenue Church" written by D.L. Moody.

    Custodial History

    Accessions: 84-20, 86-46, 86-50, 88-40, 92-100

  • December 6, 1994
  • Robert Shuster
  • Kerry Cox
  • Steven Gertz
  • Stephen Ericksen, volunteer
  • Edna McEwen, volunteer

  • Revised, November 10, 1998
  • Robert Shuster

  • Accessions: 96-62, 98-71, 98-72, 99-41, 01-60, 12-21
  • Revised, March 12, 2013
  • Brittany Adams

  • Accession: 2022-047
  • Revised, October 24, 2022
  • Bob Shuster
  • Provenance

    Except for a few photos, the materials in this collection were given to the Archives by Moody Church in May 1986 and Moody Bible Institute Archives in 2012. A list of all the books that were given from this collection to the Billy Graham Center Library is available upon request.

    Collection 330 Moody Church Records
    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