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Collection 517 Papers of Armin R. Gesswein

Identifier: CN 517

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews and photographs relating to the ministry of Armin R. Gesswein in which he discusses his childhood as the son of a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor, the characteristics of that denomination, his education, his conversion, the influence of Paul Rader upon him, his work at Concordia Seminary, his work with Walter Maier, his first pastorate and first experience of revival, his involvement in revival in Norway 1937-1938, friendship with Billy Graham, Charles Fuller, and J. Edwin Orr, discussion of importance of revival and prayer in the church. The time period covered by the interviews is 1907 to 1997.

Armin Richard Gesswein was interviewed by Robert D. Shuster on April 19, 1995 and April 24, 1998, at Gesswein’s home in San Juan Capistrano, California.


  • Created: 1995-1997

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Armin Richard Gesswein

Birth: November 28, 1907, Corning, Missouri on Thanksgiving Day

Death: March 10, 2001, San Juan Capistrano ,California


Parents: Theodore and Lydia (Hilgendorf) Gesswein

Siblings: Ada (older sister), Ilma (younger sister, died at 4 years), younger brothers Herbert, Paul (missionary to Dutch New Guinea) and Myrta (youngest sister)

Marital Status: Married Reidun Gabrielsen, August 6, 1938 in Norway

Children: Armin Richard, Jr. “Dick” Gesswein, Sonja R. (Gesswein) Goodson, Carol Joy (Gesswein) Dye

Conversion: As a young man

Ordination: August 2, 1931, in St. John’s Lutheran Church, LaPorte, Indiana


ca. 1920-1924 - Concordia Collegiate Institute, Bronxville, New York (a Lutheran high school and junior college)

ca. 1926 - Graduated from Concordia College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1931 - Graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri


1931 - Pastored Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Long Island, New York

1932- circa 1935 - Pastored Garden City Park Church, Long Island, New York

1937-1938 - Ministered in Norway’s spiritual revival (1-1/2 years)

Circa 1938-circa 1955 - Conducted evangelistic crusades

1940 - Founded the Revival Prayer Fellowship

1943-1946 - On faculty of Gordon College and Divinity School

1945 - Moved to Pasadena, California and begins to work for Charles Fuller

1949-1969 - Participated in several Billy Graham Crusades: Los Angeles, 1949 & 1963 (associated evangelist); New York, 1957 (associated evangelist in charge of international prayer ministry); Anaheim, 1969 (associated evangelist)

1956 - Director of Commission on the Spiritual Life of the National Association of Evangelicals Revival editor of Christian Life magazine

Other significant information:

Armin was a Missouri-Synod Lutheran pastor and later was associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.

Authored Is Revival the Normal? (1956); How to Overcome Discouragement (1991).


0.06 Cubic Feet

3 Audio Tapes

1 Photograph

Language of Materials