I started my research about Billy Sunday in 1998 while reading an ABEKA textbook about the Christian history of America. More about that in another post. One of the more interesting places to visit during my research time about Billy Sunday was at the Billy Graham Library in Wheaton, Illinois. This is what I want to write about to you today.
My desire to go to Wheaton was two-fold. One to learn about writing and publishing at a Write to Publish Conference After going to sessions and listening to the speakers I came to the conclusion “I know nothing about the writing business!” There is really a craft and process a person needs to learn and one of the things for non-fiction is to write a non-fiction book proposal. I did that and went to other writing events and became a better writer. You are given 15-30 minute sessions with published authors. They listen to your ideas, look at your writing and give you an honest opinion of what they think of what you are doing. I would encourage any would be writer to attend one of these conferences to learn about writing and publishing.
The second important reason I went was to research in the Billy Graham Archives about Billy Sunday. They are correctly titled Papers of William Ashley “Billy” Sunday and Helen Amelia (Thompson) Sunday. Collection 61. The originals of all this material is in the Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. They were processed, organized and microfilmed in 1978 by a team under the supervision of archivist Robert Shuster and placed in the Graham Library in Wheaton. The material is organized by subject and given specific numbers and then they will find the appropriate box, folder, picture or record you are looking for. There is so much material you could spend days there. I spent much of my time looking at the pictures which I used for my book. The staff is very helpful and as you can see they used me as a photo opportunity, which I did not ask for. Now all these years later, I am glad they did, It brings back many fun memories.