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Collection 137 Papers of Ira E. Hartman

Identifier: CN 137

Scope and Contents

Sermons and sermon outlines, diaries, poetry, financial ledgers, and other items related to Ira Everett Hartman's evangelistic ministry. Primarily sermons and sermon outlines--over 250 in all--delivered by Hartman in evangelistic services in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado. The sermons also contain reflections of contemporary issues and mores. Diaries covering 1939-47 report national and international news; financial ledgers reflect the Great Depression.

Sermons and outlines cover a variety of religious subjects including the Bible, temptation, Jesus Christ, various holidays, the Christian life, evangelism and missions, the Church, holiness, faith, repentance, resurrection, salvation, sin and conversion; on biblical passages from both Old and New Testaments; and various topics of contemporary political and social interest like patriotism, temperance, capitalism, and Abraham Lincoln.

The diaries report national and international news; World War II predominates.  The financial ledgers reflect the impact of the Great Depression.  The collection also includes a biographical sketch, chronology, genealogy and obituaries for Hartman and his wife Minnie.


  • Created: 1901-1958

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Ira Everett Hartman was born September 6, 1867, on a farm near Polk City, Iowa, the fifth child of Joseph S. Hannah Elizabeth (Russell) Hartman. In 1885, the Hartmans and four of their children moved from Iowa to the Dakota Territory, where they homesteaded hear Tripp. The family soon returned to Iowa where Ira became a student and railway telegraph operator.

On July 18, 1891, he married Minnie Elizabeth Kaster (1871-1954), daughter of Friedrich and Minnie (Hildebrand) Kaster, who were German immigrants. Throughout the decade, he worked as a carpenter, paper hanger, and painter to support his wife and children: Jesse Ray (1893-1979) m. Bertha Nelson, Lillian Victoria (1894-) m. Fred Smith, Verna Viola (1897-1979) m. George Ellicott, and Margaret May (1903-1971) m. Clarence Mitchell.

About 1899, Hartman became a Christian and shortly enrolled in a four-year seminary course, which he completed in three years, and was then ordained in the United Brethren Church at Goodell, Iowa. Hartman served Iowa congregations in Des Moines, Ventura, Lovilia, Stilson, Goodell, and Dumont. In 1909, the failing health of Mrs. Hartman necessitated a different climate, and the family moved to Colorado where Hartman served as a supply minister in the Manitou Springs area. Later, he was pastor in the United Brethren Churches of Mead and Delta, Colorado; Bayard, Nebraska; and Niwot and Yuma, Colorado, after which he retired from the active ministry although yet a young man.

In 1913, the Hartman family moved to Longmont, Colorado, where Ira set himself up as an optometrist. Although no longer in the pastorate of any one congregation, he continued to preach as an evangelist throughout the area. A list of the Iowa and Colorado towns in which he preached can be found on the Chronology page in this guide.

In July 1951, the Hartmans celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Less than a month later, on August 10, Rev. Ira Hartman died at their home in Longmont. His widow died October 16, 1954, in the same house; they are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Longmont.


From notes on his sermon outlines, Ira E. Hartman preached in the following places:


Lovilia - December 1905; April, July, September, October, November, December 1906

Coal Creek - October, November 1906

Edwards - October, November 1906

Carmel - January 1907

Goodell. - May, December 1907; January, February, May 1908; February 1909

Stilson - February, May, November, December 1908

Dumont - May, July 1909

Ventura - October 1903; August 1931


Mead - November, December 1909; January, July 1910

Dilly Chapel (west of Johnstown) - April 1910

Longmont - November, December 1914; February 1915; April 1916; 1919; 1922; 1923; 1947; 1948; 1950; and many other times

Berthoud - 1910; 1926; 1927

Loveland - 1923

Johnstown - 1927

Lake View - April 1910

Grover - January 1919

Peetz - May 1916; 1918

Padroni - 1916

Buckingham, Marcy - 1920

Eckley - December 1916

Genoa - December 1914

Flagler - 1918

Seibert - December 1915; June 1916; May 1920

Stratton - 1912; 1915; 1916; 1923

Holyoke - July 1916

Bryant - 19??; 1917

Soddy - December 1919

Plain View - 1917

Pleasant Valley - 1916; 1917; 1922; 1923

Kit Carson - 1916; February 1919

Arlington - November 1919; December 1922

Kansas Valley - December 1922

Roggen - April 1916


Bayard - February, March 1912

Crete - June 1919

Lamar - 1919


2.00 Boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

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

This collection consists primarily of over 250 sermons and sermon outlines by Hartman. The majority of these are individually foldered and arranged in two groups: titled and untitled. The titled sermons (folders 1-14 through 1-175) are arranged alphabetically; the untitled ones (folder 1-176 through 1-259) are arranged by Scripture text in keeping with the order of the Bible. Many sermons have dates and places of presentation jotted in the margins. In these cases, the earliest date appears on the folder. These preaching-dates are probably indicative of writing-dates, but this cannot be taken absolutely.

Sermons also appear in folders 1-4, 1-11, 1-12, and 1-13. Folder 1-11 consists of the contents of one envelope in Hartman's papers, labeled "Revival Sermons used at Pleasant Valley and Plain View." These have been kept together to illustrate the range of topics and texts which Hartman night use in any particular series of meetings. The specific rallies in question have been tentatively dated 1917, which puts them in the same year that evangelist Billy Sunday was drawing huge crowds in New York City. Folders

1-4, 1-12, and 1-13 are notebooks which contain sermons, notes and texts that for obvious reasons cannot be interfiled by title with the main run of sermons. Lists of sermons within these volumes are found in each folder.

Although peppered with allusions to the great men of the past--British monarchs, John Bunyan, the Wesleys, the Pilgrim Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln (an entire sermon, folder 1-100)--Hartman's sermons address themselves to contemporary issues as well. The Titanic disaster (folder 1-174), social activism under the guise of "Christian capitalism" (folder 1-13, pg. 110), patriotic celebrations such as the Fourth of July and Decoration Day (folders 1-47, 48, 70): all these find themselves the subject of Hartman's speaking. Hallmarks of his era are a racist (but not intentionally malicious) poem, "Ringing the Changes" (folder 1-10), and an anti-Mason tract and a piece of Ku Klux Klan smear-tactic literature against presidential candidate Al Smith in 1928 (both folder 1-7). One sermon of special note is "The Minister as a Prize Fighter," an example of early twentieth century analogy concerning manhood. Also of interest is a description of the more memorable events of the Hartmans' sojourn to the Dakota Territory, recorded in his essay, "Through Fire and Storm" (folder 1-2).

box 2 consists of Ira Hartman's diaries (1939-1945, 1947) and his financial ledgers (1929-1932, 1944-1954). The diaries are principally one-line, factual entries apparently filtered from news broadcasts through Hartman onto the diary pages. The supposition that Hartman relied on the radio (rather than newspapers) for his raw material is supported by his marginal notations of broadcast times and often by mention of the reporter's name: H. R. Baukhage during the war years, and Lowell Thomas and Drew Pearson in the 1947 volume. His original spellings (eg. Ugo Slavia and Isenhower) undoubtedly stem from hearing these names without seeing them in print. There is little editorializing on Hartman's part, and his opinion is seldom given. (Three examples of such personal input are January 28, 1939, which relates his fears of encroaching socialism, and January 16, 1941, and January 7, 1945, both of which tell Hartman's opinion of why World War II was being fought.)

The staples of Hartman's diary are local and national crimes and disasters, deaths of famous persons, domestic and foreign politics (especially the presidential elections of 1940, 1944, and 1948), and World War II. The war occupies over ninety percent of the diary, with news both of the warfronts and of the war effort at home. The earlier sections of the diary deal extensively with the "Townsend Plan," an old age pension scheme proposed by Francis E. Townsend, a private citizen. On March 20, 1947, Hartman notes that his and Mrs. Hartman's first pension checks arrived.

No mention is made of Hartman's evangelistic activities, which largely pre-date this diary. He often reports in detail the topics of sermons he has heard, many of which directly concern the war and patriotism, even before Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. He tells about a 1939 Thanksgiving sermon on "God and the American Way," and an October 1940 sermon on God and Americanism in general. Two evangelists' deaths are noted in short entries: Aimee Semple Mc Pherson, October 13, 1944; and Gipsy Smith, August 5, 1947.

The financial ledgers are a parallel log of income and expenses. The volume for 1929-1932 is interesting for its reflection of the economy from the months before the stock market crash to the middle of the Depression's nadir. The volume for 1951-1954 contains brief eulogies of both Rev. and Mrs. Hartman, written by members of the family.

Accruals and Additions

These materials were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives from the Hartman family in August 1980, and December 1980.

Accession 80-101, 80-159

September 5, 1980

Galen Wilson

M. Buffington

S. Kouns

February 20, 1981, revised

Galen R. Wilson

M. Buffington

S. Kouns

Collection 137 Papers of Ira E. Hartman
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