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Collection 292 Papers of Silas F. Fox

Identifier: CN 292

Scope and Contents

Diaries, notebooks, correspondence, clippings, magic lantern slides, photographs, home movies, pamphlets, financial statements relating to Fox's career in the Telugu-speaking area of India as an independent missionary. The collection also contains information on indigenous Indian evangelists.

Materials, some in the Telegu language, document daily life, including descriptions of his travels.  Home movies contain many scenes of travel, Indian landscape and animals, including scenes of Taj Mahal, worship, and baptism. Includes a Telegu Bible and dictionary. Topics documented include worship, gift of tongues, millennium, missions, doctrines of Seventh Day Adventism and other mission-related topics.


  • Created: 1949-1973

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Silas F. Fox was born in Josephsburg, AB, Canada on December 22, 1893. He was the youngest of three children born to attorney Caleb and Bessie Fox. Caleb died three weeks after Silas' birth. Silas' siblings were Paul and Florence. Bessie married again to a Mr. Roberts, postmaster and storekeeper. Robert's alcoholism caused the family great suffering and Bessie eventually had to leave him. Because of the family's poverty, Silas went to live with a Baptist preacher uncle.

He attended school from the age of four-and-a-half until 1904. When he was twelve, his family was reunited and moved to Toronto, where his sixteen year old brother Paul had a job working for the railroad. Silas began working as a riveter in a piano factory in 1905. He went on to jobs with other companies as errand boy and store clerk. At the age of nineteen, after being involved in church activities for many years, he gave his life to Christ. He now desired to go into Christian work. In 1915, he enrolled in the Toronto Bible College. While attending the school, Fox became acquainted with an English missionary from the Ceylon and India General Mission and was influenced by him to apply to that mission; he was accepted as one of their workers. Fox graduated from TBC on April 28, 1916, and on November 23 of the same year he married Emma Grau, his childhood sweetheart. Two days later the newlyweds left Toronto for Vancouver and from there they sailed to India, where they arrived in 1917.

For their first term, they were at first assigned to Hindupur, but the illness of another missionary caused them to be based in the town of Madakasira in West Madras. Much of their time was spent learning the Telugu language. Fox also visited some 300 villages around Madakasira, preaching to crowds in the village squares. One of his major co-workers was the Indian evangelist S. K. Agrippa. Toward the end of their first term, the couple went to Bangalore to recover after a serious bout of enteric fever. Around 1921, Fox started a little newspaper called Kalyandrug Sathyadootha, which translates as Kalyandrug Message of Truth. It was printed every month in the Telugu language and filled a need for Christian literature. It consisted of a sermon, anecdotes, questions and answers about Christianity, and notices of meetings. Fox continued for years to edit this paper, which was eventually renamed Kristava Nirikshina or Christian Hope. When the Foxes' first term ended in 1924, they returned to Canada on furlough.

Fox had begun to feel restricted by mission policy during his first term and this led, after discussion with mission leaders during his furlough, to his resignation in 1925, shortly after he had returned to India with his family. Thereafter he was an independent missionary who raised his own support. Fox continued to work in Telugu-speaking India. At various times he was based in Kuppam, Ootacamund, Anantapur, and Bangalore. In addition to editing the paper, he continued to evangelize and established harmonious relations with Brethren, Baptist, Mennonite, Lutheran, and Anglican missions. He was especially known for his willingness to use all kinds of flamboyant methods, from magic lantern slides to sandwich boards, to attract attention for the Gospel. In February of 1968, he left India for the last time and returned to Canada.

The Foxes had six children: Ruth Emma, Donald Silas, John Brainerd, Mary Anna, David Paul, and George Hudson.


2 Boxes

6 Films

2 Photograph Files

8 Slides

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Arrangement description, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

The arrangement for this collection was created by the archivist and is alphabetical by document type.

The bulk of the collection consists of Fox's personal diaries. These diaries present an interesting picture of the daily life of a missionary. The entries for each day are rather short. They describe his travels, impressions of various churches, daily expenses, etc.

The films in the collection are home movies which contain many scenes of travel and the Indian landscape and animals as well as a visit to the Taj Mahal. Also included are scenes of worship and baptism. The newspaper clippings in folder 2-4 seem to consist of stories and anecdotes that would make appropriate sermon illustrations. Similarly, the notes and notebooks in folders 2-5 and 2-6 contain notes and outlines for sermons on various topics, such as the Dragon, worship, the ascension of Christ, etc. The six pamphlets by Fox in folder 2-7 give an idea of his preaching style and cover such topics as the gift of tongues, the millennium, missions, and Fox's criticism of the doctrines of Seventh Day Adventism.

The English correspondence in folder 2-3 is of minor consequence except for a very interesting 1961 letter from the India Gospel Team in which they describe their travels in north and south India.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Donald Fox in September 1983.

Accession 83-102

June 19, 1985

Robert Shuster

T. Reihmer

J. Nasgowitz

Related Materials

The following item have been given to the Evangelism & Missions Collection, Buswell Library:

Fox, Donald S. The White Fox of Andhra (Philadelphia and Ardmore, PA: Dorrance and Company, 1977).

Collection 292 Papers of Silas F. Fox
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