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Collection 101 Papers of Robert W. Roberts

Identifier: CN 101

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, account books, photographs, and other records mostly concerned with Robert William Roberts' tasks as a worker for the American Sunday School Union from 1907 to 1913.

Most of the records in the collection date to Roberts' career as a worker for the American Sunday School Union from 1907-1913. A few items are from his post-1913 career. The bulk of the collection is made up of his account books with one folder each of commissions, correspondence, obituaries, ordination records, and temperance materials and several photographs in the photo file. The files are arranged alphabetically according to title. The material within each file is arranged chronologically where possible.

The accounts which Roberts kept from 1907-1913 each contain three sections. The first section is a detailed listing of Roberts' activities. Each day is summarized in one line and each month occupies one page. Two columns on the right contain the daily tally of miles traveled and of families visited. The great variety of the work can be studied through these brief synopses. Next comes the monthly reports, each of which occupies two pages. These reports are mainly concerned with the statistics of the various Sunday schools Roberts started and led. Statistics such as number of teachers, number of pupils, name of superintendent, etc., are included. Finally comes the accounts current, one page per month, which lists the financial credits and expenses. Each account book also contains several pages of instructions explaining what is expected from each worker in the way of reports, accounts, claims, and letters to supporters.

Other files also contain documents of his Sunday school work. Folder 1-8 has the commissions given to Roberts at regular intervals by the Union. These briefly define his duties. Folder 1-9 contains letters written to Roberts by friends or notes written about Roberts as references. Some letters, such as those from Adam Green of Illinois and George Stauke of South Dakota describe how the schools founded by Roberts are progressing. Other letters are from the Union's secretary of missions, G. P. Williams, who wrote to Roberts on both Union and personal matters. A particularly interesting record is in folder 1-11 which contains documents of Roberts' ordination including his statement of beliefs and his description of his call to the ministry.

The photographs in the collection show Roberts and his bride as young people and also group pictures of several of his Sunday schools.

There are a few items dated after 1913. Among them are a handbill and a petition illustrating Roberts' leadership in the fight for temperance in Canby, Minnesota. Another item is a xerox copy of several newspaper obituaries published after Roberts' death.


  • Created: 1907-1964

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Roberts was born in Camroden, New York, on August 25, 1875, to Ellis and Elizabeth Jones Roberts. Upon completing his education at Storrs College in Connecticut, the University of Wisconsin, and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, he became a missionary for the American Sunday School Union with the task of starting or teaching Sunday schools in rural communities in Illinois (1907-1908), Wisconsin (1909-1911), and Minnesota (1911-1913). He also served for a brief time as an evangelist. In 1911, he was ordained into the Baptist church. After leaving the Union in 1913 he pastored Baptist churches in Minnesota (Canby), Wisconsin (Brainerd), and New York (Bartlett, South Trenton, North Gage, and Unadilla Forks). In 1908 he married Josephine VanDer Voort and they had three children: Dorothy (Mrs. William Griffith), Dwight, and Marjorie (Mrs. Albert Frost). They also brought into their home three foster children: Josephine (Mrs. William Abbe), Marjorie (Mrs. Joseph Krasko), and Alvin Anderson.


1 Box

3 Photograph Files

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in January 1980 from Marge Frost, Roberts' daughter.

Accession 80-13, 80-15, 80-16

January 31, 1980

Robert Shuster

S. Kouns

Collection 101 Papers of Robert W. Roberts
Bob Shuster
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