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Collection 311 Papers of Charles J. Guth

Identifier: CN 311

Scope and Contents

Water color paintings and oral history interviews with Charles J. Guth, relating to Guth’s missionary work in Africa with the Sudan Interior Mission. Topics covered by the interviews include: Guth’s education at Wheaton College, preparation for the mission field as a worker with Sudan Interior Mission, his life, work, and contacts as a missionary among the Koma and Maban people of the Sudan; the culture of these peoples; the effect of Sudan's independence on the church in the Sudan, linguistics and translation, and other mission-related topics. The time period covered by the interviews is 1939-1962.

Charles Guth was interviewed by Robert Shuster on September 26, 1985, at the offices of the Sudan Interior Mission in Toronto, Canada.

The collection also includes 4 watercolor paintings by Guth, depicting scenes from the mission field.


  • Created: 1976-1985

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Charles James Guth was born September 21, 1923 in Passiac, New Jersey to Conrad and Ethel Chapman Guth. His father was a farmer. His family was nominally Christian, but he did not have a personal conversion experience until his late teens. He graduated from the Bridgeton, New Jersey High School in June 1941 and then went to the Philadelphia School of the Bible. During this time he also worked in the Cumberland National Bank of Bridgeton, first as bookkeeper and then as a teller. After graduating from PCB in June 1944, he went on to Wheaton College and graduated from there with a bachelor's degree in June 1947. He worked his way through college to pay part of his tuition. That summer he attended the Summer School of Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma and while there met his future wife, Betty Jean Bear.

At about this time he applied and was accepted as a missionary by Sudan Interior Mission. In 1948, after a short period of orientation and training, he left for on a freighter for the Sudan, then in essence a British colony. After landing at Port Sudan and spending a few weeks in Khartoum, where he began his language study of Arabic, he and fellow missionary Sam Burns were assigned the task of starting a mission station among the Koma people in southern Sudan, near the Ethiopian border. They decided on a site at Yabu's Bridge, which was the base of their activities for during his work with the Komas. Guth and Bur ns engaged in evangelistic work and also often gave tribespeople simple medical assistance. In 1949, he and Betty, who had also come to Africa as a SIM missionary, were married. Shortly afterwards, they returned home on furlough.

Sometime after they returned to the Sudan, the Guths were transferred to Doro, where Charles was head of the mission station in the territory of the Mobassan people. The station included a church, boy's school, and hospital. Later Guth developed plans for a Bible school there as well. The Guth's four children, Carol (1950), Judi (1951), Charles (1955) and Douglas (1957), were born in Africa. The family returned to the United States around 1958 and went back to the Sudan in December of the same year.

In 1962 the Guths had to return to the United States because of Betty's health problems. Charles attended graduate school at the State University of Iowa from 1962 to 1963 and received graduate credit in art and journalism. In August, 1963 he was appointed to literature ministry at the SIM headquarters in Toronto, where he did artwork, layout and assisted in the production of the missions magazine and other publications. He continued to serve here through the rest of his missionary career.


0.30 Cubic Feet (Audio Tapes, Oversize Materials)

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in September 1985 from Charles J. Guth, and Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections (Buswell Library) in 2016.

Accession 85-127

May 8, 1992

Robert Shuster

Accession 16-18

June 15, 2016

Paul Ericksen

Collection 311 Papers of Charles J. Guth
Bob Shuster
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US