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Sojourners Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC-023

Scope and Contents

The Sojourners Collection contains the archival papers of the Christian social concern and community group known by that name.  Sojourners traces its origin to a group of seven students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, (see Jim Wallis) who called for a new and rigorous application of Biblical ethics to American Culture.  Believing that the church was losing the current generation, they spoke of a need for "an orthodox Biblical theology and the total Gospel of Jesus Christ [which] necessitate a radical commitment to and activism for social justice."  The organization began publishing a newspaper in 1971 and was incorporated the next year as The People's Christian Coalition. Housed in the collection are items relating to Sojourners magazine and the Washington, DC community. Occupying approximately 38 linear feet, the material is divided into the following series: The first five series deal with the official organ of the organization; Sojourners magazine.  First published in 1971 as Post American: Voice of the People's Christian Coalition, the periodical changed its title in 1975.  A complete run of the magazine is housed with the collection. The "Postmark" series contains subscribers' letters to Sojourners, where they are published under that name.  The original order of these documents was topical through 1984, and chronological after that date.  This order was maintained. Original article manuscripts and "residue" from Sojourners, dating back to 1974, are filed by date in the third series.  "Residue" refers to papers created in the process of publication: copy edit sheets, articles from other publications, unpublished items, etc. Administrative and clerical records relating to the magazine are arranged alphabetically by topic.  Included in this category are circulation reports, direct mail packets, founding documents, IRS correspondence and tax returns, and reprints of articles. Letters to Sojourners have been arranged alphabetically by the writer's surname.  Writers who have significant correspondence, or who are prominent figures in Christian social action have individual files following the general folders. Material dealing with the Washington, DC Sojourners community is arranged alphabetically by topic under the "Sojourners Community" series.  File headings in this category include Bulletins, Calendars, Finances, Groups and Leadership, and News Articles about the community.  Included among the Bulletins are "Updates," in which community news and information is published. The series "Other Communities" contains correspondence with similar groups as well as information on the Summer Festival 1984. In addition to written documents, non-print media is housed with the collection.  Video tapes of selected addresses by Jim Wallis, films produced by the organization, as well as audio tapes are included.


  • Created: 1971-2017
  • Other: Date acquired: 1988


Conditions Governing Access

There are no specific restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Duplication may be restricted if copying could cause damage to items.


92 boxes

38 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by series with folder level control.

Source of Acquisition

The establishment of the collection at Wheaton College dates to 1988, when the first of several shipments arrived from the Sojourners' office in Washington, DC. The donation became official in 1990.

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Correspondence and articles by or about Jim Wallis are located in the Jim Wallis Papers (SC-109).  Wallis is the editor of Sojourners and a co-founder of the group.

Other Descriptive Information

The Sojourners Collection at Wheaton College details the history and activities of the Christian social action and community group Sojourners. Sojourners is a group of Christian people dedicated to the application of Biblical ethics and social justice to contemporary American society.  The organization publishes Sojourners magazine and operates a community in Washington, D.C. Included as well is information about the Sojourners community itself and the group

Sojourners Records
Buswell Library Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

501 College Ave.
Wheaton IL 60187-5593 USA