Skip to main content

Collection 511 Oral History Interviews with E.J. Cummins

Identifier: CN 511

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Dr. Erwin Jephthah Cummins, Jr. (1918-1997), SIM International medical missionary to Nigeria from 1952 to 1983. Topics discussed include Cummins's Christian background and education; early medical training and practice in Chicago, involvement in Christian Medical and Dental Society; transition to the mission field in Nigeria; medical work building and directing leprosaria in the Nigerian interior; indigenous church administration; Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA); appointment as SIM Medical Secretary; transferring SIM ministries to indigenous leadership; short-term vs long-term missionary candidates; Cummins's work teaching seminars in Christian management principles. Other topics discussed include: the challenges of missionary life; raising a family on the foreign mission field; interpersonal conflict between missionary colleagues; Nigerian independence from Great Britain and later political instability. The time period covered by the interviews is 1918 to 1995.

E.J. Cummins was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on January 25, 1995 at the Cummins home at the SIM Retirement Village in Sebring, FL.


  • Created: 1995

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Dr. Erwin Jephthah (E.J.) Cummins, Jr.

Birth: June 2, 1918 in Minneapolis, MN

Death: November 15, 1997 in Sebring, FL


Parents: Dr. Erwin J. Cummins and Edna Frances Goffe Cummins

Siblings: Hazel, Bill, and Bob

Marital Status: married Marjorie Schaefer in 1943

Children: Cynthia Kuhn (b. May 10, 1945), Christine Piepmeier (b. Sept 2, 1947), and a son


1935-1936 - College of Mines and Metallurgy (now University of Texas at El Paso)

1936-1939 - B.S. Wheaton College

1939-1943 - M.D. Northwestern University Medical School


1952 - Joined SIM and sailed in May for Africa to oversee leprosy hospital near Minna in northwest Nigeria.

1959 - Created a Medical Auxiliaries Training School in Jos to equip nationals to practice remedial medicine in the interior.

1966 - Furlough in United States. While there took course a course at Moody Bible Institute taught by Olan Hendrix and Virgil Newbrander.

1968 - Transferred by SIM back to full-time leprosy work at a different hospital at Kano, Nigeria.

1971 - Furlough in the United States. Lost son-in-law and grand daughter in a car accident.

1973 - Returned to Jos to work in hospital administration. Appointed Medical Secretary for all SIM medical operations in Nigeria until 1979.

1979 - Relinquished position of Medical Secretary before going on furlough. After returning to Nigeria, transitioned to work in the SIM Christian Education department.

1983 - Retired from the mission field and returned to the United States where he continued to give management seminars for the Christian Medical and Dental Society for the next ten years..


6.00 Audio Tapes

330 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The oral history interviews in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by E.J. Cummins in January 1995.

Accession: 95-19

October 19, 2015

Katherine J. Graber

Collection 511 Oral History Interviews with E.J. Cummins
Katherine Graber
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US