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Collection 105 Oral History Interview with Paul D. Votaw

Identifier: CN 105

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Paul Dean Votaw (1917-2007) in which he describes his childhood; education at Wheaton College, Dallas Seminary, and Princeton Seminary; and missionary activities in Syria and Lebanon. The time period covered by the interview is roughly 1917-1954.

Reverend Paul Votaw was interviewed by Robert Shuster on March 4, 1980, at the Graham Center offices in Wheaton. The first ten minutes of the interview are barely decipherable due to technical difficulties. The remainder of the interview is clear.


  • Created: 1980

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Paul Votaw was born June 20, 1917, in Kansas City to YMCA secretary Lemoine David Votaw and his wife Edna Frances Severance. He was the third child of the four children in the family. The family attended the Methodist Episcopal Church. At the age of thirteen, Paul had a conversion experience during a series of evangelistic meetings. He later joined the Presbyterian Church. After brief attendance at Texas Christian College (1937-1938), he came to Illinois to attend Wheaton College, from which he graduated in 1941. He then went on to Dallas Seminary where he received a Th.M. degree in February 1945. He next attended Princeton Seminary, where he studied under John Alexander Mc Kay.

On March 29, 1946, he sailed for Syria as a missionary of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. After traveling through Egypt and Palestine, he arrived in Beirut on April 26 and joined the Syria Mission. He was assigned to language study in Jerusalem. In December of the same year, he married Betty Louise Brown, a girl from his home church who went to Syria for the ceremony. They were to have two children: Elizabeth, born in October 1948, and Paul Dean, Jr., born in June 1950. The Votaws had additional language study of Arabic in Sidon the next year and then were sent by the mission to Aleppo, Syria. Paul's main responsibilities there were teaching English and maintaining the mission's English reading room. He also helped distribute supplies in refugee camps. In 1950 the Votaws left Syria and returned to the United States. Paul served as assistant pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh from 1951 to 1954. From 1954 to the late 1970s he was pastor of the Gashland Community Church in Missouri. He retired to Freeport, Illinois in 1985. He died July 30, 2007.


2.00 Audio Tapes

133 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in March 1980.

Accession 80-38

February 9, 1980

Robert Shuster

B. Pitra

M. Arnold

Collection 105 Oral History Interview with Paul D. Votaw
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US