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Collection 140 Oral History Interview with Everett Mitchell

Identifier: CN 140

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Everett Mitchell (1898-1990) who as a teenager sang invitation songs at Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns. Other topics discussed include: Mitchell's background, music and radio career, musical training, Billy and Helen Sunday, evangelistic work in Chicago, Gipsy Smith, Homer Rodeheaver, other evangelists, career as a war correspondent during the Korean War, religious use of radio, evangelistic rallies and crusade music. The time period covered by the intervew is roughly 1898-1980.

Everett Mitchell was interviewed by Galen Wilson on September 18, 1980 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1989-1980

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Everett Mitchell was born on the west side of Chicago, March 15, 1898. His father was a vegetable farmer in what was then a rural area. Interested in music from his childhood, Mitchell was a vocalist. His voice changed when he was twelve, which cost him his place in the children's choir, but which gave him three years of experience as a baritone before he auditioned for Billy Sunday in 1913. The next four summers, Mitchell spent in the employ of Sunday, singing invitation songs at rallies and crusades. His last appearance with Sunday was in Chicago in 1918.

In 1923, Mitchell auditioned as a radio vocalist for Chicago station KYW, beginning a thirty-eight year career in radio broadcasting. In his career, Mitchell worked for stations WQJ, WEBH, WMAQ, WENR, and WHT. His program was the National Farm and Home Hour, sponsored by Allis Chalmers farm equipment company. The phrase "It's a beautiful day in Chicago" was coined by him in 1932 at the depths of the Depression; it was originally intended as a spirit-builder.

An extensive traveller, Mitchell was a war correspondent in the Korean War, and journeyed to the Orient, Europe and Russia on federal government missions.

Mitchell married in 1951 to Clara Christenson, and they were the parents of one son, Peter Michael. The couple retired to Wheaton, Illinois where Everett died on November 9, 1990.


1.00 Audio Tapes

79 Minutes

Language of Materials