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Collection 120 Ephemera of John Elward Brown, Sr.

Identifier: CN 120

Scope and Contents

Collection includes twelve cassette tapes of John E. Brown's sermons comprise the bulk of the collection. The tapes contain thirty-five sermons and an introduction from the series "Whose Son Is He," recorded by Brown in 1955 on the deity of Christ.

Archive holdings also include a photograph of a children's choir taken during a campaign in Santa Ana, California. The date is unknown.


  • Created: 1955

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

John Elward Brown, evangelist and educator, was born April 2, 1879, on a farm near Oskaloosa, Iowa. His parents John Franklin and Julia Ann Brammer both came from Quaker backgrounds. John Franklin served in the Union forces during the Civil War and returned to Iowa as a farmer. Due to financial hardships encountered by a family with seven children, John Brown received only five years of formal educational training before seeking full-time employment. The older children went to work to help supplement the family's support.

At the age of seventeen Brown and his older brother, Ben, moved to Rogers, Arkansas, to become fruit farmers. The two boys took odd jobs around town to support themselves while working the farm. Brown met a Salvation Army officer, M. M. Olsen, in Arkansas; the meeting led to Brown's conversion in May 1897. The young man felt called to full-time Christian work and so began working for the Salvation Army in Texas and Arkansas.

During 1898, when the United States went to war with Spain, Brown enlisted in the Army. His brief military service was with the bugle corps at Fort Clark, Texas.

Salvation Army work again engaged Brown's attentions until he became disillusioned by the work in Kansas City. Returning home, he was invited to preach at a church in Gravette, Arkansas. Invitations for other meetings followed and his evangelistic work flourished.

During the course of his revival meetings, he met his future wife, Juanita Arrington, a pianist from Ozark, Arkansas. The couple was married December 19, 1899. They had six children Jean, Helen, Juanita, Virginia, Mary Jane, and John, Jr.

Scarritt Collegiate Institute appointed Brown as their President in 1901. Brown served the college two years before resigning to return to full time evangelistic work. During this same period Brown was publishing a weekly newspaper called the Herald and soon added a monthly periodical known as the World Wide Revival.

As an evangelist, Brown conducted campaigns all over the country but particularly in the West and Midwest. Services were held in Tyler, Houston, and El Paso, Texas; Springfield and Fayette, Missouri; Charles City, Iowa; and Glendale, California. Brown helped plan the annual summer Bible conferences held in Siloam Springs from 1913 to 1940. He also assisted in the organization of The International Federation of Christian Workers.

Brown opened the Southwestern Collegiate Institute in 1919 with approximately seventy students in an academy and junior college. The school was designed for poor children who could not afford to pay their own way. To help defray some costs of personnel and maintenance, students worked part-time on the farms, grounds, and buildings. After a year the name of the institution changed to John E. Brown College.

Through the years Brown's interest in education increased. He purchased and developed other schools in Arkansas and Texas such as the Siloam School of the Bible, Brown Military Academy, and Brown School for Girls. The curriculum at the college was expanded in 1935 to include four-year degrees.

Radio evangelism began to interest Brown as he began his own radio program in 1930. The daily broadcast was called God's Half-Hour and featured Brown as the speaker. Brown was honored with an honorary doctorate of laws for his work by Bob Jones University in June 1937.

Brown maintained a rigorous schedule of fund raising, recruitment, and radio evangelism until his death in 1957. He died on February 12, the result of a fall in his California home.


12 Audio Tapes

1 Photograph File

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in February 1979 and January 1980.

Accession 79-18, 80-7

May 9, 1980

Mary Ann Buffington

S. Kouns

Collection 120 Ephemera of John E. Brown, Sr.
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