Skip to main content

Collection 108 Papers of J. Palmer Muntz

Identifier: CN 108

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, a book manuscript, a film script, tapes of sermons and speeches, and other items which describe Muntz's early career as director of the Winona Lake Bible Conference, the early development of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the criticism it received, the careers of Billy Sunday and other evangelists. There are also several sermons on Christian prophecy and evangelism to the Jewish people. Topics covered include information on Palmer's career as director of Winona Lake Bible Conferences, early development of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, BGEA crusades and staff, criticisms of Billy Graham, his participation in many organizations (such as Youth for Christ, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, National Prayer Breakfasts, Wheaton College) and cooperation with Catholics and liberal Protestants, production of a film about Billy Sunday, letters and writing about other Christian workers such as Billy and Helen Sunday, Homer Rodeheaver, William Bell Riley, Harry Rimmer, etc. Collection includes photographs of many evangelical and fundamentalist figures and recordings of many Evangelical and Fundamentalist speakers.


  • Created: 1947-1986

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: J. Palmer Muntz

Birth: March 20, 1897

Death: April 29, 1992 in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.


Parents: Rev. John and P. Libbie Landefeld Muntz

Marital Status: In 1922 he married Laura E. Wedekindt

Children: Ernest, J. Richard, Howard O., and Carrie O.

Conversion: Ordination Ca. 1921


1917 Graduated from State University of New York's College of Teachers

1921 Graduated from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA

1923 Graduated with a Th.M. from the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary of Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was one of the first, if not the first, to receive a master's degree in theology from the seminary.

1927 Graduated with a B.A. from the University of Buffalo, New York, USA


1917-1919 Instructor at the Black Rock Vocational School

1918 Served in the U.S. Navy

1922-1924 Pastor of Baptist Church of Chaffee, New York, USA

1924-1963 Pastor of the Cazenovia Park Baptist Church in Buffalo, New York, USA until his retirement

1939-1958 Director of the Winona Lake Christian Assembly in Indiana.

1949-1950 President of the Conservative Baptist Association

1957-1959 Vice-president of the American Association for Jewish Evangelism

1957-1959 Chairman of the board of directors of the World Evangelical Fellowship

Other significant information:

Muntz grew up in Buffalo, New York, and spent many summers at the Montrose Bible Conference in Pennsylvania.

He received honorary degrees from various institutions in the United States, including Wheaton College in Illinois, Taylor University in Indiana, Biola College in California, and Asbury College in Kentucky.

One of the Muntz's main responsibilities of as director of the Winona Lake Christian Assembly was to arrange each summer for well-known and respected Fundamentalist and Evangelical leaders to address the assembly. While serving as director, he played a part in the founding of Youth for Christ International in 1944-1945.

Served on the advisory council member of the World Radio Fellowship and Child Evangelism Fellowship, as well as many other posts in other evangelistic or missionary societies.

After his retirement, he moved to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.


2 boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

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

Paper Records (Box List)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by folder title, the titles having been supplied by the Archives staff.

Date Range: 1947-1978

Volume: .8 Cubic Feet, 2 Boxes

Geographic coverage: United States

Type of documents: Correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, a book manuscript, brochures, form letters, and a movie script.

Correspondents: Gerald Beaven, Leighton Ford, Donald E. Hoke, R. T. Ketchem, Paul Maddox, J. Palmer Muntz, Walter H. Smyth

Subjects: Protestant Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism; Winona Lake Christian Assembly; Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA); Billy and Helen Sunday; William Bell Riley; Harry Rimmer

Notes: This series consists of a few folders of material given to the archives by Dr. Muntz from his private papers. Most of the information in the collection relates to Billy Graham but there is also data about Helen Amelia "Ma" Sunday, Harry Rimmer, and William Bell Riley, among others.

Exceptional Items:

Scattered throughout the collection is a great deal of information about Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Some of the most interesting information is in folder 1-1, which contains articles, letters, and brochures by Fundamentalist Protestants who were critics of Graham, basically because of his willingness to accept the help of liberal pastors and Roman Catholics who were willing to participate in a BGEA crusade. There are copies of correspondence between BGEA staff member Gerald Beaven and R. T. Ketchem of the Baptist Bulletin about these complaints, critiques by John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr., several items by G. Archer Weinger attacking the supposedly ecumenical characteristics of the 1958 San Francisco Bay Cities Crusade, and a paper attacking Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship because of its support of Graham.

Folder 2-4 contains ephemera such as newsletters or pamphlets from various BGEA crusades, including the 1950 Atlanta Crusade, the 1950 Greater Portland Gospel Crusade, the 1957 New York Crusade, the 1959 Australia and New Zealand Crusades, and the 1960 African tour. Particularly interesting are the mimeographed notes dated 1956 from BGEA staff members Betty Lowry and Willis Haymaker about how to handle publicity, finances, prayer, tickets, minister and church participation, auditorium arrangements, transportation, platform arrangements, etc., for the 1956 Buffalo rallies. There are numerous photographs of the Buffalo meetings in the photo file and several newspaper clippings in the clippings file. Also in the folder are transcripts of talks Graham gave at Wheaton College in 1956. Folder 2-4 also contains some brochures describing the BGEA's early film ministry. More information on the film ministry, originally called Billy Graham Evangelistic Films but later changed to World Wide Pictures, can be found in folder 2-4.

Folder 2-5 contains several form letters from BGEA associate evangelist Leighton Ford which describe his evangelistic campaigns. Folder 2-3 contains newspaper clippings describing the 1958 "J. Palmer Muntz Day" held in Winona Lake, Indiana, to mark Muntz's retirement from the post of director of the Winona Lake Christian Assembly. Billy Graham was the principal speaker. Folder 1-2 has a few letters about Muntz's participation in the work of the Billy Graham Center.

Folder 2-1 and 2-2 contain a photocopy of a book manuscript by Mignon Brandon Rimmer in which she describes the life of her husband, Harry Rimmer, evangelist, debater, and Bible teacher. It includes lengthy excerpts from his letters to her written while he was traveling.

Folders 1-5 and 1-8 contain documents about the careers of Billy Sunday and his wife, Helen. Westminster Films premiered Twenty Years With Billy Sunday in 1956, a film made with the cooperation of Sunday's long-time co-worker Homer Rodeheaver. Folder 1-5 contains a copy of the director's script for the film and some correspondence about its origins and purpose. Also in folder 1-8 is a manuscript of a talk Mrs. Sunday gave in 1947 in which she talked about her husband and his work. The folder also contains one of her letters giving a portion of her very busy speaking schedule, an article about her life, and an address preached in her memory in Buffalo, New York, by Muntz in February 1957.

There are a few other miscellaneous items of interest in the collection, such as the program for the funeral service of William Bell Riley (folder 1-7) and reports on the National Prayer Breakfasts held in Washington D.C. in 1954 and 1973 (folder 1-6). Photographs in the collection include pictures of R. G. Le Tourneau and R. G. Lee, along with dozens of photographs of various prominent Christian leaders who spoke at the Winona Lake Christian Assembly.

Audio Recordings

Arrangement: Chronological, with undated material last

Date Range: 1953-1986, undated

Volume: 2.76 Cubic Feet

Geographic coverage: United States, Israel

Type of documents: Audio recordings of sermons, speeches, a dinner, reminiscences about Billy Sunday

Subjects: Evangelism, Bible studies, Christian prophecy, evangelism to the Jewish people

Notes: These were tapes belonging to Rev. Muntz which he donated to the Archives. Many but not all were from meetings at the Winona Lake Christian Assembly. Several of the later ones are from the 1986 annual conference of International Ministries to Israel (formerly the American Association for Jewish Evangelism). The location record for audio tapes describes the contents of individual tapes in more detail.

Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in March 1980 and March 1981 from J. Palmer Muntz. A list of books from this collection given to the Evangelism and Missions Collection of Buswell Library is available upon request.

Accession 80-45, 81-27

February 19, 1981

Robert Shuster

A. Peterson

B. Pietra

November 23, 1981, revised

Robert Shuster

J. Malone

J. Nasgowitz

June 22, 1993, revised

M. L. Larson

Acc. 93-106

August 29, 2007, updated

Bob Shuster

K. Haywood

Collection 108 Papers of J. Palmer Muntz
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