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Collection 205 Oral History Interviews with Robert D. Carlson

Identifier: CN 205

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Robert Dean Carlson in which he discusses his childhood in China and Tibet, the condition of the Christian church in those countries, social and religious customs, and the Chinese language. The time period covered by the interviews is 1928 to 1982.

Robert Carlson was interviewed by Robert Shuster on February 27 and April 17, 1982.


  • Created: 1982


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Robert Dean Carlson was the son of Christian and Missionary Alliance workers C. Edwin and Carol Hammond Carlson. He was born July 2, 1928, while his parents were home on furlough in Wheaton, Illinois, from their mission station in Gansu Province, China. When he was only a few months old, his family returned to the Far East. Several years of Robert's childhood were spent in the Tebe Valley in Tibet, where his parents were attempting to win converts to Christianity. From the fall of 1934 to the spring of 1936, the family was once again in the United States on furlough. From this time until 1942, Robert and his sister Carol Jean were educated at home because the unstable political situation in China made it seem too dangerous to send them to boarding school. In 1942, he was briefly at the high school run by the United Church of Canada in Chengtu, Szechuan Province, but this school was soon forced to close, whereupon Robert went to India to study at the Woodstock School in Mussoosie. In 1944, he again returned to the United States with his parents for their furlough. The family owned a home in Wheaton, where the two children continued to live when their parents returned to China, since they were almost old enough to go to college.

Robert graduated from high school in 1948 and enrolled in Wheaton College, from which he graduated in 1951. While at Wheaton, he met his future wife, Margaret J. Larson. They were married in 1952 and they had four children: Roberta (1954), Eric (1957), Ted (1959), and Carol (1965). After service in the army, part of which he spent as an interpreter stationed in Taiwan, Robert attended Wheaton Graduate School, from which he graduated in 1957 with an M.A. in biblical literature. From 1956 to 1960, he taught Greek at Wheaton College. In 1960, he, Margaret, and the children traveled to Hong Kong, where Robert taught Greek and Bible courses at the Christian and Missionary Alliance School and Margaret served as school nurse. They remained in Hong Kong until 1968, when they returned to Wheaton and Robert became chief surveyor for a land surveying and civil engineering firm.


2.00 Audio Tapes

182 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

Thes materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Robert Carlson in February and April, 1982.

Accession 82-31, 82-50

October 14, 1982

Robert Shuster

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 205 Oral History Interviews with Robert D. Carlson
Bob Shuster
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US