Collection 107 Ephemera of Reuben Archer Torrey Sr.
[Note: In the Scope and Content section, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]
Scope and Content Arrangement: Alphabetical by folder title, most of which correspond to document types (such as Bible study, sermon notes, etc.)
Date range: 1882-1983, n.d.
Volume: 2.57 Cubic Feet, Boxes: 1-5
Geographic coverage: United States, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Tasmania, India, Germany, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada
Type of documents: Diaries, sermon notes, Bible studies, Sunday school lessons, newspaper clippings, correspondence, passport, Bible, photographs, publications, and audio tapes
Correspondents: R.A. Sr. to family members, including daughters Edith and Margaret, granddaughter Elizabeth and wife Clara; also a letter from Clara to Margaret and postcards to Margaret from Clara and others.
Notes: The materials in this collection are not the papers of RA. Torrey, Sr. as kept by him, but are documents created by him or his family collected by the Archives from a variety of sources. This collection documents Torrey's evangelistic, preaching and teaching ministry. There are also some items relating to his ministry in Los Angeles as dean of BIOLA and pastor of the Church of the Open Door.
One large segment consists of sermon notes, both handwritten and typed. Folder 1-9 contains a sermon notebook and folders 1-10 through 1-48 contain individual sermons. The sermons in folders 1-12, 1-13, 1-22, 1-37, 1-40, 1-46, 1-47, and 1-48 are part of a collection of Torrey sermons found in the book, Soul Winning Sermons God Has Used in Saving Myriads of Sinners All Around the Globe. Perhaps the texts in these folders were used to prepared the printed versions. Folders 1-49 and 1-50 contain a collection of clippings from sermons Torrey preached during his Philadelphia campaign in 1906. Other sermons can be found in folder 1-8 (Orlando, 1927) and 2-2 (New Zealand, 1902). This last folder has a copy of The Outlook, Illustrated Memento of the Torrey-Alexander mission in New Zealand, August-September 1902. Its fifty-six pages document with sermons, articles, biographies, and photographs the meetings in New Zealand conducted by Torrey, Charles Alexander, and other evangelists.
Boxes 3 and 4 consist of four diaries of R.A, Senior (folders 3-1 through 3-4) and ten by his wife Clara (folder 3-5 through 4-8). They are extremely valuable for the insight they give into R.A. and Clara as people and also for much incidental information of R.A. evangelistic ministry, particularly during his 1902-1903 world tour.
The diaries of R.A. Torrey covering the years while he was a university student in Germany, held evangelistic meetings worldwide, and events in the last years of his life. The first diary (folder 3-1) begins in July 1882 while Torrey was in the US and describes his daily life, including the texts and title of the Sunday sermons he preached, the books he was reading, people he met with, and daily events in the life of his wife and first child, Edith. He describes his voyage to Germany (Oct. 19-Nov. 2), impressions of the country, his life as a student attending the University of Leipzig, the people of Leipzig, the visit of the King and Queen of Saxony, and the prevalence of dueling in Germany (May 9, 1883). When asked why he didn't drink beer he answered ...ministers in America only drink tea, coffee, milk and water... (May 2, 1883). The diary ends in July 1883 while Torrey was still in Germany. The flyleaf of the second diary (folder 3-2) which begins in August 1906 lists dates and places that Torrey visited during that time period, including his evangelistic campaigns in Buffalo, New York and Montreal, Canada and his visit to East Northfield, Massachusetts. Torrey described his daily life, references to the weather, and his Buffalo and Montreal missions, evangelistic meetings including the texts he preached on and the number of people who committed their lives to Jesus Christ. Two phrases he often used to begin an entry were "A blessed day" and "A good day." The handwriting in this diary is very difficult to read. The entire year of 1926 is covered in the third diary (folder 3-3) which describes Torrey's daily life with references to the weather, people and places he visited, and his physical condition.
Torrey's final diary (folder 3-4) covers the last four months of his life, June-October 1928. His last entry on October 23rd was recorded just three days before he died. Entries dated October 24-26 are not in Torrey's handwriting and were probably written by his wife.
There are ten diaries of Clara Torrey which cover the time period 1902-1936. She describes in detail the events that she observed or heard about and her feelings about some of these. She refers to her husband as "Archie" and her son as "Reuben." Most of her diaries describe her travels with R.A., accompanying him on his evangelistic trips around the world.
The first diary (folder 3-5) begins in March 1902 Shanghai, China, and ends in Rose Bank, Australia, on August 1902. The next diary (folder 3-6) continues where the first left off covering her time in Australia, New Zealand, India, Paris, London, Scotland, Ireland during the Torrey-Alexander meetings. It ends in London in May 1903 and is continued with the third diary (folder 4-1) which covers her travels with R.A. to Germany, Scotland, the US and return to England in June 1904. The next diary (folder 4-2) begins in England in July 1904 and records travels to Switzerland, France and finally ending in Germany in August 1905. Mrs. Torrey continues with her fifth diary (folder 4-3) while in Germany, including travel to England and returning to the US by May 1907. There are gaps in this diary with no entries for days, weeks and some months. The sixth diary (folder 4-4) covers the period when Clara was in the US from June 1907 to September 1908 and a two-day entry for November 1910. Nine years later the seventh diary (folder 4-5) begins covering the period June to October 1919 with Mrs. Torrey first in the US and then her travels to China and Japan and then it covers the period July to September 1921 beginning in Japan then Korea and ending in China. The entry for August 1, 1919, is written in shorthand. A five-year diary (folder 4-6) covering the years 1922 through 1926 (including the death of daughter Margaret) contains several pages of memoranda at the end of it in which Clara recorded her review of the previous years. This diary and the last two cover events in the US. The ninth diary (folder 4-7) begins in January 1927 and ends on October 26, 1928, the day R.A. died. The last diary (folder 4-8) begins May 4, 1934, and ends April 19, 1935. There are several loose pages inserted into the diary which cover entries dated December 11-28, 1936. This diary also records the death of daughter Blanche.
Besides the diaries themselves, many interesting documents are stuck between the pages. Some have letters, plants with seeds, newspaper clippings, brochures, menus, passenger lists, and various other items either pasted, sewn or inserted loose into them. Items tied to a diary needed to be cut loose when the material was microfilmed in 2003, but all items were kept between the pages as they were originally found and leaves and flowers were put in plastic envelopes. In some cases, items were obvious carefully placed in the diary to be between particular places. In many other cases, though, items were obvious placed between pages haphazardly, either by Clara or someone else. Often these items are dated many years after the date of the diary pages they are between. Among the items in the diaries are: (folder 3-5); a handbill from New Zealand celebrating the 1902 coronation of Edward VIII and a program from a Launceston, Tasmania service praying for his recovery from illness (note that the New Zealand brochure has the original June 26 date of coronation, which was postponed of the illness), an example of the card filled out by converts at Torrey's meetings, a magistrate's card from China, (folder 3-6), a booklet of Charles Alexander's evangelistic talks, a brochure about the Woman's Union Missionary Society, a tract containing excerpts from R.A. 1889 diary on how God answered prayer, a booklet explaining how a patient should gather information on her or his symptoms to tell the doctor, clippings about the Torrey-Alexander evangelistic campaign in Scotland, a clipping about Gypsy Smith's 1904 meetings in South Africa, a handbill from Torrey's 1902 meeting in Madras, India, a poem from the 1902 meetings in Christchurch, New Zealand; (folder 4-1) instructions for knitting a cable twist sweater, a clipping about R.A.'s comments on dancing in Australia; a brochure about China by F. C. H. Dreyer; (folder 4-2) a wedding invitation, diary entry and newspaper clipping about the 1904 wedding of Charles Alexander who was Torrey's song leader on his mission trips and met his wife during their meetings in England, advertisements for German tourist attractions, bills for purchases, a clipping of Mrs. Alexander's rendition of a supposed Negro spiritual, a testimonial to R.A. by Robert Honeyman of the Montrose Bible Conference; (folder 4-3) some Oxford postcards, a brochure for the Liverpool Christian Workers' School of Bible Study; (folder 4-4) clipping about the 1905 London mission, clippings describing their daughter Blanche's birthday celebration and wedding, clipping about the 1908 Detroit mission; and (folder 4-9) a page from a letter apparently written during the Torreys' 1919 tour of Japan.
Apart from the sermons and diaries described above, other materials in the collection include (sometimes handwritten, sometimes typed) a series of Sunday school lessons Torrey used from January to May 1916 (folders 1-51 through 1-66); Bible studies of Ruth, Judges, and I Peter (folders 1-3 through 1-6); and an account of the Torrey campaign in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1909 entitled "A City Lifted" (folder 1-2). Incoming correspondence was found on the backs of some sermon notes. Copies of these letters are found in the correspondence folder 1-7. Reminiscences of Torrey's leadership of the Montrose Bible Conference by one of his converts (folder 1-1), Torrey's passport (oversize drawer 14), a Bible presented to Torrey by Moody Church and signed by his staff (folder 1-3), and a souvenir book (folder 1-67) of the Torrey mission in Cleveland, Ohio, are also found among the collection items. Folder 1-8 contains a clipping with a very full text of one of Torrey's sermons from his meetings in Orlando Florida in 1927, the last meetings he held before his death.
The bulk of Torrey's correspondence in folder 2-1 is written to his wife Clara, during two trips to China in August-September 1919 and September 1921. They give some details of his evangelistic schedule, including visits to China Inland Mission stations from a base at Hunan Bible Institute, the China Department of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA), of which Torrey was dean at that time. Letters also comment on his appreciation of China's scenery and provide a more intimate view of Torrey's affection for his wife and family, contrasting with his austere public demeanor. There are two letters to his daughter Margaret written in June 1898 during the time he was ministering as an Army chaplain during the Spanish-American War to soldiers in Georgia, two written in 1906 while on speaking tours in Cleveland and Omaha, and one (1918) in which he wrote on the topics of eternal security, dating Christ's return, the Tribulation, and World War I. A photostat of a 1919 letter to a friend in India tells of the blessings of the meetings he and Charles Alexander recently conducted at BIOLA, his plans to travel to China, and his physical health. Though I am now sixty-three years old, I never was stronger in my life or able to do more hard work. I usually get to bed about midnight or after, and get up at about six or a little before, in the morning. Sometimes I get a little rest in the afternoon, but I do not seem to need more than six hours rest. I am practically never tired. I do take one day a week however, for absolute rest, that is to say rest from my ordinary work. I sleep out doors practically every night, in a tent.
Folder 5-2 contains one letter from Clara to daughter Margaret and five postcards addressed to Margaret, two from Clara and three from other family members.
Folder 5-3 contains miscellaneous materials on Torrey including newsletters, Tabernacle Tidings, of the Tampa Gospel Tabernacle, Tampa, Florida, one of which (January 1926, No. 7) announces a three-week Torrey campaign for the following month, two issues of the Torrey Family Chronicle, 1988, n.d., a 1983 Montrose Bible Conference newsletter and brochure, three articles about Torrey published in Moody Monthly, 1956, Today's Christian, 1973, and Good News Broadcaster and a 1903 newspaper clipping.
Also included are two audio cassette tapes the first one (T 1) with a sermon by Torrey A Reason Why I Believe The Bible to be The Word of God and the second one (T 2) contains remembrances of Torrey by two of his granddaughters, Margaret Shank and Jill (Helen) Renich Meyers, and by a friend and missionary to China, Miss Edith Dreyer, and also a history of the Montrose Bible Conference.
Several folders contain biographical materials relating to Torrey, written after his death. One example is the photostat of a bound set of newspaper clippings (folder 1-68) titled "Life of R. A. Torrey," written by Oscar Sanden. The clippings were published serially in the Mission Friend in 1959, although they were written some years earlier. This compilation was cut and pasted onto sheets of paper by Sanden himself and then was sent, bound, to his friend Wilbur M. Smith. It includes a photostat of a Montrose Bible Conference Fiftieth Jubilee celebration brochure, 1958. A memorial issue of the publication of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, The King's Business, January 1936 (folder 2-3) is dedicated to Torrey and his career, which included being dean of the school between 1912 and 1924. Articles include reminiscences by friends and colleagues of Torrey, among them William Bell Riley, fellow evangelist and president of Northwestern Bible School. Folder 2-4 holds a small number of clippings, dated between 1928 and 1936, and one pamphlet on prayer with a photograph of Torrey on its cover. The clipping published in the Wheaton Record, 1928, was written by Edith Clare Torrey, Torrey's daughter and a Wheaton College professor, describing his last illness. Torrey's personal Bible is found in folder 5-1 with his notations written in it. The Bible includes a section on "Suggestive Helps for Christian Workers" by R.A. Torrey.
Boxes 3-4 contain excerpts from Torrey’s diaries in which Torrey described a busy day preaching in Dwight L. Moody's hometown. Blessed day. Rushed over to Mt. Hermon [Northfield, Massachusetts] & spoke at 10:30 am on "What it costs not to be a Ch'an [Christian]." A young fellow accepted Christ & many stood up for absolute surrender. 4:30 pm I spoke at the Northfield Seminary on "Heros & Cowards." There was 15 or more decisions. 7:30 pm meeting at the church...I spoke on "What shall I do with Jesus." God gave me great liberty. There were 18 or more decisions. God is answering prayer. Sunday, Feb. 24, 1907.
Two years before he died R.A. was still actively preaching the Gospel. This entry from Sunday, Jan. 31st 1926, describes one meeting he held in New York: The last day of our meeting in Brooklyn. Oh how it poured...all day. The church oh was about full up stairs & down in spite of the rain. I spoke on "Hindrances to Prayer." God greatly blessed the Word. Many came with various invitations, e.g. to confess sin in their lives & to renounce it... Clara's entry for the same date reads: Archie said ch [church] was full & quite a number of conversions.
Clara commented about not spending more time with her children when they were small. This is Elizabeth's birthday she would have been fifteen today. It makes my heart ache when I look back and realize how much joy with the children, I lost by letting my time be too much taken up with care, sewing etc. That had to be done but now I feel that I let it keep me too worried. I might have let some things go and taken time to be more at leisure with the children when they were small. But no use to regret. Now I try to make the most of each day and to fully appreciate Archie and the four who are left. I only wish we could be all together all the time. I don't like these separations. I shall never cease to miss Elizabeth. Archie keeps well and Edith is improving all the time. I have so much to be thankful for." March 5, 1905.
His love for his wife is evident in the October 22, 1928 passage written four days before he died: Clara's & my 49 wedding anniversary. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22nd 1879 we were married in Garrettsville, Ohio. It was one of the wisest steps I every took. There have been 49 years... I knew I was getting a treasure... Clara's diary entry for the same day shows her mutual love and concern for Torrey: This is our 49th wedding anniversary and it does not seem possible and I do not feel 69 years old. I thank God for the 49 happy years Archie and I have had. How I long to have his voice restored and his throat made strong & well.
Mrs. Torrey recorded events of R.A's last two days. Thursday, Oct. 25, 1928: Poor Archie in bed all day...He read his Greek & German testaments and had me read Jonah to him. Then we had prayers about four before Dr. R. came....I hope he will have a good night. Friday Oct. 26, 1928: He did "God's finger touched him: and he slept" and awoke in heaven to be with his Saviour whom he loved and served for fifty years. He just peacefully stepped across the threshold into the Father's house between four & six a.m.”
- Created: 1882-1983
Conditions Governing Access
2.40 Cubic Feet
5 boxes (4 DC, 1 RC), Audio Tapes, Books, Glass Negatives, Negatives, Oversize Materials, and Photographs other_unmapped
Biographical or Historical Information
Birth: January 28, 1856 in Hoboken, New Jersey
Death: October 26, 1928 in Asheville, North Carolina and was buried on the grounds of the Montrose conference. in Montrose, Pennsylvania
Parents: Reuben Slayton Torrey and Elizabeth Ann (Swift) Torrey
Marital Status: Married to Clara Smith, October 22, 1879 in Garrettsville, Ohio
Children: Edith Clare (b. 1881), Blanche (b. 1884), Reuben Archer Jr. (b. 1887), Elizabeth Swift (b. 1890), Margaret (b. 1893)
Conversion: 1875 made public confession of faith while attending Yale University
Ordination: December 5, 1878, in the Congregational Church
Walnut Hill School, Geneva, new York
1871-1875 Yale University (A.B.)
1875-1878 Yale Divinity School (B.D.)
1882-1883 Attended Leipzig and Erlangen Universities in Germany
1878-1882 Pastor of the Congregational Church in Garretsville, Ohio; also pastor of a church in Nelson, Ohio. Also secretary of the Temperance Society, president of the county Sunday School Union, chaplain of the Young People's League
1880 Deputy delegate to the Republican party Presidential Convention
1883-1886 Pastor of the Open Door Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota
1886-1889 Pastor of the People's Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota
1886-1889 Superintendent of the City Missionary Society of Minneapolis and oversaw the rescue mission
1889-1908 First superintendent of the Bible Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Evangelization Society (later renamed the Moody Bible Institute)
1898 YMCA chaplaincy work at Camp Chickamauga and elsewhere during the Spanish-American War
1894-1906 Pastor of Chicago Avenue Church (now Moody Memorial Church)
1902-1905 Led evangelistic meetings, with Charles M. Alexander as song leader, in Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, India, England, Scotland, and Germany. (The first and second World Tours; see more detailed chronology in this guide)
1906-1911 Held evangelistic meetings in the United States and Canada (see more detailed chronology in this guide)
1908 Founded the Montrose Bible Conference in Montrose, Pennsylvania
1911 President of the United States Home Council of Africa Inland Mission
1912-1924 Dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA)
1912-1918 Editor, The King's Business (magazine of Biola); contributing editor 1918-1919
February 24-27, 1914 Prophetic Conference at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. Torrey was a prominent speaker at the conference and involved in the preparation of a doctrinal statement afterwards, a step in the development of American Fundamentalism
1914 Torrey took over the editorship of the last two volumes of The Fundamentals series, published in 1915, and in 1917 edited a new edition of the entire series in four volumes. He had been involved in the project, originated by his friend Lyman Stewart, from its beginning. These volumes were the clearest expression of Fundamentalist theology.
1915-1924 Pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles
1917?-1918 YMCA chaplaincy work at Camps Bowie and Kearny and elsewhere during World War I
May 25-June 1, 1918 Active participant at the conference to found the World Christian Fundamentals Association
1919 Held meetings in Japan and China
1921 Held meetings in China and Korea
1924-1927 Continued active in evangelistic work and Bible conference speaking
1927-1928 Special lecturer at Moody Bible Institute
Other significant information:
Torrey, a prolific writer, authored over forty books on topics such as the Holy Spirit, prayer, salvation, soul winning, and evangelism. His books include How to Bring Men to Christ (1893), and How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival (1901)
June 20, 1907 Honorary doctorate conferred by Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA
Trustee of Mount Hermon School and Northfield Seminary for several years; president of the International Christian Workers Association, president of the Open Air Workers' Association, vice-president of the World's Gospel Union, member of the advisory council of China Inland Mission; president of director of several missionary and philanthropic associations in America, England, France and Belgium
Select Chronology of Evangelistic Meetings of R.A. Torrey Sr.
This chronology does not attempt to list all the many, many events that Torrey spoke at, but merely lists some of the more important ones. It concentrates almost exclusively on his evangelistic meetings, as opposed to lectures or Bible conferences addresses. Most of the evangelistic meetings involved cooperative efforts with many churches in one city, but some, particularly in the later years, were single church meetings.
Roger Martin's biography, R. A. Torrey: Apostle of Certainty, was an important source for this chronology.
The newly ordained Congregational minister R. A. Torrey Sr. preached his first sermon at a Methodist prayer meeting in New Haven, Connecticut, USA
First contact with Dwight L. Moody during Moody's evangelistic mission in New Haven while Torrey was in his final semester at the Yale Divinity School
Superintendent of the six months of evangelistic meetings held during the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Dwight L. Moody was the principle preacher.
November Kansas City, Missouri, USA mission (Torrey completed the campaign when Dwight L. Moody could not because of health reasons.)
January 4 Honolulu, Hawaii meeting
Japan tour (Sendai, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nangeya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobi, Yamaguchi, Saga, Nagasaki)
March China Tour (Shanghai, Hangchow, Soochow, Foochow, Canton}
April Melbourne Simultaneous Mission (Charles M. Alexander joined him as song leader)
May-August Australia tour (Warrnambool, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Maryborough, Terand, Launceston, Hobart, Sydney) (Robert M. Harkness joined as pianist during the meetings in Bendigo and continued with Torrey)
August-September New Zealand tour (Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin)
August 28-September 6 Wellington, New Zealand mission
September 7-18 Christchurch, New Zealand Mission
September 18-September 29 Dunedin, New Zealand mission
Farewell service at Melbourne, Australia
October-December India tour (Madura, Madras, Calcutta, Bombay)
October 28-November 1 Madras, India Mission
January 9 Welcome meeting, London, England
Meetings at Mildmay Park Conference Hall, North London, England
Edinburgh, Scotland mission
Glasgow, Scotland mission
Aberdeen, Scotland mission
Belfast, Ireland mission
September Liverpool, England mission
October Dundee, Scotland mission
November Manchester, England mission
January-February Birmingham, England mission
Dublin, Ireland mission
April -July England tour (Bristol, Bradford, Brighton, Blackpool)
September Bolton, England mission
October Cardiff, Wales mission
Liverpool, England mission
December Speech at Leipzig University, Germany
February 4-March 29 London, England mission
April-June Brixton, South London, the Strand, England missions
July Christian Endeavour Conference, Berlin, Germany, followed by several days of evangelistic meetings
Liebenselle, Germany conference
Sheffield, England mission
Plymouth, England mission
Oxford, England mission
November 28 Farewell service, Liverpool, England
January Toronto, Canada mission
February-April Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA mission
May Atlanta, Georgia USA mission
June Ottawa, Canada mission (Alexander's last major mission but one with Torrey)
October 14-November 11 Nashville, Tennessee, USA mission
Omaha, Nebraska, USA mission
January 13-February 10 Cleveland, Ohio, USA mission
March 3-31 Buffalo, New York, USA mission
April 7-May 5 Montreal, Canada mission
October-November Chicago, Illinois, USA mission
March Detroit, Michigan, USA mission
August 21-28 First Montrose Bible Conference, Montrose, Pennsylvania. Hereafter annual Bible conferences were held in August
January Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA mission
Summer Denver, Colorado, USA mission
Fall United Evangelistic mission, England and Ireland
April-June Los Angeles, California, USA mission
Redondo Beach, California, USA mission. Torrey and Alexander united again for this mission.
July-September Evangelistic tour of China (Honkow, Kuling, Changsha, Nan Yuh)
October Evangelistic tour of Japan
July 6-11 Evangelistic tour of Korea
July -September Evangelistic tour of China
Spring Winnipeg, Canada mission
January Lewistown, Pennsylvania meeting
February 7-28 St Petersburg, Florida, USA mission
November 28-December 11 Orlando, Florida, USA mission (First Presbyterian Church)
Accruals and Additions
Accession 77-25, 80-44, 81-48, 81-109, 81-198, 81-123, 82-32, 82-93, 87-123, 90-38, 93-58, 95-87
April 11, 1980
Mary Ann Buffington
Revised: January 8, 1982
Galen R. Wilson
Revised: December 15, 1982
Frances L. Brocker
Retyped, February 27, 1989
Revised, November 3, 2000
Wayne D. Weber
Revised, July 21, 2003
Robert D. Shuster
- Collection 107 Ephemera of Reuben Archer Torrey Sr.
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