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Collection 515 Papers of Ernest Wilson

Identifier: CN 515

Scope and Contents

This collection contains an oral history interview with Ernest "Ernie" Wilson in which he describes his parents, his childhood in Panama, the evangelistic work of his father, his conversion as a young man, the experience of preaching, and his education at the Philadelphia Bible Institute and the Reformed Episcopal Seminary. Rev. Wilson was interviewed by Bob Shuster on March 22, 1995, at Wilson’s home in Philadelphia. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1911-1995.

The collection also includes papers documenting Wilson's evangelistic work in the United States and other parts of the world. There are three folders of documents: Folder 1-1 contains brochures put out by Ernie Wilson Ministries describing his work, as well as handbills and itineraries from his various evangelistic meetings. Folder 1-2 contains a newspaper clipping about meetings Wilson held in Norristown, Pennsylvania. The clipping also contains a good deal of biographical information about him. Folder 1-3 contains correspondence – both personal letters and prayer letters. The personal letters from Trinidad, Guyana, and Zimbabwe contain reports on Rev. Wilson’ ministry in those countries about the activities of other Christians, as well as prayer requests. The prayer letters are from Wilson’s ministry and describe his recent activities. There is also one letter from the Black National Religious Broadcasters informing Wilson that would be receiving a BNRB Pioneers award in 1993.


  • Created: 1947-1995

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full name: Ernest “Ernie” L. Wilson

Birth: January 22, 1911, in the Canal Zone in Panama

Death: February 15, 1998, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Parents: Ernest and Matilda Wilson

Siblings: Twelve

Marital Status: Married to Lucille

Children: One son, two daughters

Conversion: ca. 1931


1947: Graduated from the Philadelphia Bible Institute (later the Philadelphia College of the Bible)

Dates unknown: Attended Reformed Episcopal Seminary

1953: Honorary doctorate from Carver Bible College, Atlanta, Georgia


1941-?: Worked for the Signal Corp of the Army in Philadelphia

1946-1959: Pastor of the Christian Union Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Co-founder of Manna Bible Institute, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1955: Co-founder of the Afro-American Missionary Crusade and first president

1950: Traveled to Panama to start a Bible school, with assistance from Latin America Mission. In later years he later went on to hold evangelistic campaigns in the Caribbean, Central and South America, East and West Africa beginning in 1960), and India (1969)

Started a radio ministry, “The Joy Hour”

Cooperated with Campus Crusade for Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Youth for Christ, the World Wide Evangelization Crusade, John Haggai, and Ross Rhoads of Church Centered Evangelism


1 Box (DC)

1 Audio Tape

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Rev. Ernest L. Wilson in March 1995.

March 21, 2017Accession: 94-47, 95-42Bob Shuster

Collection 515 Papers of Ernest Wilson
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