Skip to main content

Collection 224 Papers of J. Stratton Shufelt

Identifier: CN 224

Scope and Contents

Reports, newspaper clippings, handbills, photographs, and other ephemera relating to J. Stratton Shufelt's evangelistic activities as a song leader for Youth for Christ, Jack Shuler, John R. Rice, Harry Ironside and others. This collection also contains information on the Wheaton Revival of 1950.

Topics covered in the collection include Christ for America, evangelistic rallies, Shufelt's tour of Great Britain with Harry Ironside, rescue missions, Youth for Christ, Wheaton College revival in 1950, and various other evangelism-related subjects.  Notable figures featured are Hyman Appelman, Fred Brown, Jesse Hendley, Torrey Johnson, John R. Rice, Jack Shuler, and Bob Wells.


  • Created: 1930-1979

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection

Biographical Information

John Stratton Shufelt was born in Yorkville, Illinois, in 1910, and came to the Lord ten years later. He attended Wheaton Community High School and then Wheaton Academy before going on to a short career in radio and theater. He began singing while a child as a soloist for the Chicago Children's Chorus and later, as a junior in high school, he won a gold medal in the Illinois State Baritone Contest. After high school, he began his two-year career in radio and theater, singing light opera and playing roles in "The Desert Song" and "No, No, Nannette."

One day, while on a train returning home from an engagement at the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was convinced by an old friend of the family, Professor R. L. Park, to give up his promising career to use his talents for the Lord. In the 1930's, he entered Wheaton College to prepare for his career in Christian work. He was a member of the Wheaton College Quintet, which traveled all across the country and was highly acclaimed. After graduating, he also studied at the University of Illinois and the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago. In addition, he taught at the Central School of Music.

"Strat" Shufelt went on to serve as pastor's assistant and music director at two Chicago churches. He spent three years at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church on Chicago's south side under A. W. Tozer. The next eight years he spent at the Moody Memorial Church with H. M. Ironside. There he was the director of a choir of 300 voices and also of numerous smaller choirs.

In 1937, Shufelt married his college sweetheart, Marjorie Ruth Isel, and they were to have two daughters, Rebecca Joan and Dorothy Ann.

In 1938, he went on a trip through the British Isles with H.M. Ironside of Moody Church on the occasion of the British Moody Centenary observance. They retraced the steps of the earlier trip of Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey. They were well received in Scotland, where it was said of Shufelt that he "would make you sing whether you have a voice or not."

In the mid-1940's, he decided to leave the Moody Church to devote his time to evangelistic campaigns. In 1946, he became a member of the first Youth for Christ evangelistic team to Europe. Other members of the team were Torrey M. Johnson of Chicago, the president of YFC International; Charles "Chuck" Templeton of Toronto, Canada; and William "Billy" Graham of Montreat, North Carolina. Graham's work with YFC was the beginning of his career in evangelistic work. West Hartzell, staff writer for William Randolph Hearst's Chicago Herald-American newspaper, went along as the group's reporter. Over 1000 Chicagoland Youth for Christ members saw them off at the airport for their tour of Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and Holland. Their trip held great successes for Youth for Christ International, with hundreds of people saved and many European Youth for Christ groups started.

After this trip, Shufelt continued his trips to Europe. He traveled with another YFC group to Germany and Holland in 1947. Doug Fisher, Eugene "Gene" Jordan, and Spencer DeJong also participated. In 1957, Shufelt went to the British Youth for Christ Annual Convention in England.

Throughout the rest of his busy career, "Strat" toured the United States with many notable evangelists. He worked with Hyman Appelman, Fred Brown, Torrey Johnson, John R. Rice, Jack Shuler, and Bob Wells, as well as singing and directing music for many Christian conferences and conventions.

Shufelt was the author of two songbooks: Revival Choir and Revival Solos, which contain some of his favorite evangelistic numbers. He also made several records for "Singspiration" Records. His life story was told by Basil W. Miller in the book Ten Singers Who Became Famous.

Shufelt died September 22, 1987.


1 Box

1 Reel of microfilm

1 Oversize File

15 Photograph Files

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Arrangement description, the notation Folder 2-5 means Box 2, Folder 5.]

This collection consists mainly of ephemera from J. Stratton Shufelt's many evangelistic rallies. Newspaper clippings, handbills, and posters have been collected from numerous evangelistic rallies, as well as from some of his other performances. The folders in the collection are arranged alphabetically according to title. As much as possible, the material inside each folder was arranged chronologically, with the undated materials toward the back of the folder. Some of the pieces were dated through internal evidence; these are dated in pencil in the upper right-hand corner. The original order of materials within the folders was for the most part maintained, as well as many of the original folder titles.

Throughout his career, Shufelt was involved in many rallies with the national spiritual awakening movement called Christ for America. The group began in the early 1940's with city-wide, country-wide, and even state-wide efforts to spread the Gospel. The ephemera from the rallies in which Shufelt was involved are found in the folders entitled "Evangelistic Rallies," followed by the name of the evangelist. Those which could not be classified in this manner are included in folder 1-1 under "Christ for America."

Folder 1-2 through 1-10 contain materials from Shufelt's many appearances at conventions and evangelistic rallies. He worked with evangelists Hyman Appelman, Fred Brown, Jesse Hendley, Torrey Johnson, John R. Rice, Jack Shuler, and Bob Wells. Especially interesting are materials regarding a rally at Fulsom Prison in California and a poem called "Memories" by Robert Richter, written about evangelistic rallies with Shufelt.

Shufelt's tour of Great Britain with H.M. Ironside, the kick-off of Shufelt's career as an evangelist, was in 1938. Materials from this tour, especially Kilmarnock, Scotland, are found in folder 1-11.

Folder 1-12 contains materials which Shufelt had marked as miscellaneous that could not be classified under any of the other groupings. One interesting piece is a program from the Ninth Annual Easter Sunrise Service at Soldier Field in Chicago. There is also an advertisement for a jet cruise tour called "Missionary Journey of Paul" led by Shufelt an his wife.

Folder 1-13 contains pamphlets from rescue missions from 1953 to 1979, including the Evansville (Indiana) Rescue Mission, and the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission, Akron, Ohio, and the Mel Trotter Mission, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where bob Jones, Jr. was to begin a week of meetings. In each of the events advertised by the pamphlets, Shufelt was the soloist and choir director.

In Shufelt's early days of evangelistic work, he was associated closely with Youth for Christ. In folders 1-16 through 1-18 we find information regarding Shufelt's trip with the first YFC team to Europe, as well as a later trip with YFC leaders to Holland and Germany, and various other items regarding YFC and its beginnings. Wes Hartzell's fairly detailed account of the first trip and Spencer DeJong's letters and reports of the Holland-Germany trip are included in folder 1-17. Folder 1-16 contains the ephemera of two trips, including interesting European newspaper coverage of the trips. In folder 1-18 we find several publications of YFC and other Christian writers describing the nature and origins of the organization, as well as an article by Wes Hartzell about Billy Graham.

Shufelt seems to have valued his days at Wheaton College, for he collected handbills from every performance with the Wheaton College Quintet and newspaper clippings from the revival that occurred at Wheaton nearly twenty years after he graduated. He also sang at several alumni functions in later years. These materials can be found in folders 1-14 and 1-15.

The collection contains many photographs of Shufelt and the people he worked with. Most of them ar identified, although many are not dated. The photos are mostly action shots from evangelistic meetings and give us a good idea of what they were like. Some of the photos are portraits or publicity shots, and there are several that are amusing and personal.

Through the generosity of The Torrey Johnson Evangelistic Crusade and Mr. and Mrs. Torrey M. Johnson, Jr., all of Collection 224 except for oversize materials and photographs has been put on 35mm microfilm for purposes of preservation and access. In March 2003, the contents of box 1 were microfilmed onto one reel. The microfilm (Reel 1) should be used by the researcher instead of the originals.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by J. Stratton Shufelt in March, 1982

Accession 82-21

November 11, 1982

Melinda Collins

R. Shuster

J. Nasgowitz

Retyped, Revised June 16, 1993

M.L. Larson

Revised May 20, 2003

Bob Shuster
Collection 224 Papers of J. Stratton Shufelt
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US