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Collection 118 Ephemera of Mordecai Ham

Identifier: CN-118
Newspaper clippings, photograph, scrapbook sermon transcripts and notebooks, microfilm, and oral history interviews relating to the career of evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham.

Series: Papers

Arrangement: Chronological

Date Range: 1927-1944, undated

Volume: 0.44 Cubic Feet, 1 Box

Type of documents: Newspaper clippings, microfilm, periodicals, photographs, sermon transcripts and notebooks

Notes: The collection consists of clippings; a scrapbook; copies of The Echoes, a newspaper published weekly by the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; copies of The Taproot, a monthly publication of the M. F. Ham Evangelistic Party in Louisville, Kentucky; oral history interviews by Ivan Fahs with Grady Wilson and Vernon Patterson; photographs; and microfilm reels of Ham's sermon notes. Other information found in the articles include names of singers, song leaders, ministers who supported the revival, summaries of Ham's sermons, and accounts of meeting activities.

Ham was invited to Charlotte, North Carolina, by the Christian Men's Evangelistic Club and he conducted a revival there which lasted twelve weeks between August 30 and November 25, 1934. He was assisted by his business manager and choir director, William J. Ramsey, and his secretary-pianist, entire Ham-Ramsey revival in that city. The first clipping (folder 1-2) reports a prayer meeting held on July 3, 1934, and the final clipping (1-3) is dated December 11, 1934, describing Charlotte's pastors' reactions to plans to revoke the "blue laws."

The Charlotte campaign was marked by a controversy, reported in the Observer, involving some high school students who were patronizing a house of prostitution in the city. Ham's preaching on the subject aroused much opposition and reaction in Charlotte. The issue ultimately arbitrated successfully with students and community, and the house was raided as a result of the publicity. Information about this situation is also discussed in the interviews with Wilson and Patterson.

Ham's sermon notebooks (reels 1 and 2) are indexed by subject and contain both handwritten and typed notes, some clippings, and outlines which he used in his preaching.

Folder 1-5 contains an undated obituary and twenty-three sermon transcripts of messages delivered over the Kentucky Home Evangelistic Network; fifteen of these are dated between 1941 and 1944 and the rest are undated. Sermon topics include revival, mercy, sinners, the Christian's weapons, the invincible Church, heroes and cowards, Daniel, Babylon, final judgment, money, and the second coming, among others. There are three folders in Oversize Drawer 14 which contain (1) issues of The Echoes (described above), mostly from 1929, with articles by and about Ham as well as printed sermons by Ham; (2) two issues of The Taproot (see above), June and July 1930; and (3) a scrapbook with twenty-three photographs of Ham and his family and two photos of meetings, one in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1934, as well as newspaper and magazine clippings about various meetings held by Ham and biographical material. The sources are not usually identified, nor are they usually dated.

In folder 1-6 are newspaper clippings which were pasted onto eleven hard stock pages containing sermon excerpts from Ham's meetings in 1932 (probably the Chattanooga Campaign) and 1934. Many of the clippings are undated.

Series: Oral history interviews

Date Range: 1930s-1980s

Volume: 0.06 Cubic Feet

Type of documents: Audio tapes

Notes: The interview with Grady Wilson includes Wilson's memories of the campaign as a high school student in Charlotte, his understanding of the behavior of his classmates, and memories of the meeting during which he and Billy Graham went forward to make commitments during Ham's revival. Two interviews with Vernon Patterson, a member of the committee which invited Ham to Charlotte, include an account of initial opposition to Ham's campaign, construction and location of the tabernacle, reaction of the black community, southern attitudes toward civil rights, and observations concerning Graham and the on-going impact of evangelistic campaigns in Charlotte over the years since the early 1930's.

Tapes are recorded oral history interviews with Grady Wilson and Vernon Patterson by Ivan Fahs about Ham's Charlotte, NC, meetings and also about other evangelists such as Billy Sunday.

Grady B. Wilson was interviewed by Ivan J. Fahs on January 3, 1983, in Charlotte, NC. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of topics discussed the interview.


  • Created: 1927-1983

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


0.50 Cubic Feet

1 box (DC), Audio Tapes, Microfilm, Oversize Materials, Photographs (0.5 Cubic Feet) other_unmapped

Biographical or Historical Information

Full name Mordecai Fowler Ham

Birth April 2, 1877, Scottsville, Kentucky

Death November 1, 1961, Louisville, Kentucky


Parents Tobias and Ollie Mc Elroy Ham

Marital Status Married Bessie Simmons, July 1900 (she died December 4, 1905)

Married Annie Laurie Smith, June 3, 1908

Children Children of Mordecai and Annie: Martha Elizabeth, Dorothy, Annie Laurie, Jr.

Conversion About the age of eight


1890s Enrolled in Ogden College (later Western Kentucky State Teacher's College)


1897-1900 Worked in Chicago for a photo-enlarging firm

1901 First revival preached at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church

1901- Held evangelistic campaigns throughout the United States

1927-1929 Pastor of First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1934 Charlotte, North Carolina meetings where Billy Graham was converted

1935 Honorary doctorate degree from Bob Jones University

1936 Engaged in radio evangelism

Other significant information

Published a paper known as The Old Kentucky Home Revivalist

Some of the book he wrote include The Second Coming of Christ, Believing a Lie, The Sabbath Question, and The Jews

One of Ham's favorite practices was to single out the most well-known sinners in town for personal evangelism. The evangelist often encountered opposition to his preaching, enduring threats, bodily assaults, and police arrests. His revivals were also plagued by two men, W. O. Saunders and J. T. Ragsdale, who circulated critical statements and pamphlets about Ham's work.

Accruals and Additions

Materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in December 1979, December 1982, January and March 1983, January 1984, January 1986, and July 1992.

Accessions 79-139, 81-79, 82-173, 83-2, 83-25, 86-1, 92-77

May 7, 1980

Mary Ann Buffington

S. Kouns

August 19, 1983

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

March 21, 1993, Revised

Robert Shuster

M.L. Wohlschlegel

February 13, 1996, Revised

Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Accession: 84-04

September 26, 2003, Updated

Wayne D. Weber
Collection 118 Ephemera of Mordecai Ham
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US