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Dwight L. Moody Papers

 Collection
Call Number: RG 28

Scope and Contents

Boxes 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of this collection have been digitized and are available through the D.L. Moody Digital Archives, https://archives.moodycenter.org/. Consult with the Special Collections Librarian for more information.
The first series, Correspondence, can be divided into four categories:
  1. a.) Letters to and from Dwight L. Moody, his wife, daughter, sons, granddaughter, secretary and other family members.
  2. b.) Letters of condolence written on the occasions of Moody's illness and death in 1899 and the death of his wife in 1903.
  3. c.) Letters written in response to requests for previously unpublished anecdotes of Moody's life.
  4. d.) A group of material compiled by Moody's granddaughter, Emma Moody Fitt Powell (Mrs. Edward M. Powell), which describes chronologically the major events of Moody's life using memoirs, memos and typed copies of correspondence to and from Moody and other family members.
A considerable portion of the correspondence in Series I is that of Moody's family and his secretary, Arthur Percy Fitt. The letters of his wife, Emma C. Moody (1843-1903), are a valuable source of information about Moody's home life and travels, particularly those written to her daughter and to Mrs. Jane MacKinnon, a friend in Scotland. A. Percy Fitt who eventually married Moody's daughter, was his secretary for many years and took charge of his business affairs. After Moody's death, Fitt continued to take a leadership role in the projects which Moody had begun and also collected biographical information about Moody. His correspondence includes letters to and from evangelists Billy Sunday and Gypsy Smith as well as former associates Moody such as C.I. Scofield and G. Campbell Morgan. Some of the correspondence of family members and associates included in this series is from a time considerably after Moody's death and is not directly related to his life and activities.

The letters in Series I illustrate the wide range of associations and activities which Moody pursued throughout his life. His letters to his children and grandchildren provide a vivid insight into his personal life and family relationships. His sense of humor is particularly evident in a letter to A. Percy Fitt which he finished for his daughter, having distracted her attention from it. The correspondence also includes letters from such influential men as J. E. Kynaston Studd, Lord Cairns and the Duke of Sutherland in England and Cyrus McCormick and John Wanamaker in the United States, though the letters of these men included in this collection are not substantive in content. The collection would be most useful for biographical research about Moody, rather than research into social issues of the time.

The second series, Sermons, contains valuable original material in the form of sermon notes, as well as typed transcripts of several sermons and compilations of sermons published by the Moody Centenary Committee. Moody prepared for his many speaking engagements by labeling 5" by 8" envelopes with various subject headings and filling the envelopes with applicable material and thoughts which came to him while he studied. The contents of fifty-two such envelopes are included in this collection. Also included are fifty envelopes which were labeled with subject headings but contained no notes. Additional information about Moody's sermons is located in Series I in the material compiled by Emma Moody Powell, and in the newspaper clippings describing his evangelistic campaigns located in Series III.

The last series, Journals, Clippings, Articles, contains material describing Moody and his career. Journals by Emma C. Moody and Mrs. Jane MacKinnon shed light on Moody's 1873-1875 Great Britain campaign as well as providing information about family activities. Newspaper clipping collections are nearly complete for two campaigns, New York in 1876 and New Haven in 1878, and other clippings contained in two large scrapbooks provide a wealth of similar material. Many of the articles written in praise of Moody appeared either following his death or on the occasion of centenary celebrations in 1937.

The material compiled by Mrs. Emma Moody Powell and the Moody sermon outlines were given to the Yale Divinity School Library in 1962 by Mrs. Powell, granddaughter of Dwight L. Moody. The balance of the Moody Papers were donated to the Library in 1975 by Mrs. Powell's children: Virginia Moody Powell McDonald, Edward M. Powell Jr., John Douglas Powell and David Stephen Powell. Other Moody papers are located in the following places:
  1. a.) Moody Museum, Northfield, Massachusetts
  2. b.) Northfield and Mt. Hermon Schools
  3. c.) Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois
  4. d.) National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  5. e.) State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  6. f.) Syracuse University Library, Syracuse, New York

Dates

  • 1854-1968

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Existence and Location of Copies

Portions of the collection have been digitized by the D.L.Moody Digital Archives Project: https://archives.moodycenter.org/

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The material compiled by Mrs. Emma Moody Powell and the Moody sermon outlines were donated by Mrs. Powell in 1962. The balance of the papers were donated in 1975 by Virginia Moody Powell McDonald, Edward M. Powell, Jr., John Douglas Powell and David Stephen Powell.

Arrangement

  1. I. Correspondence, 1825-1965
  2. II. Sermons, 1875-1899
  3. III. Journals, Clippings, Articles about Moody, 1875-1943

Extent

6 Linear Feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/divinity.028

Overview

The collection provides valuable biographical information about Dwight Lyman Moody. Correspondence includes family letters, letters of condolence on the occasions of Moody's illness and death in 1899 and the death of his wife in 1903, letters regarding anecdotes of Moody's life, and memoirs, memos and letters compiled by his granddaughter. Sermons contain notes, transcripts and published compilations of sermons. Journals, clippings and articles consist of material describing Moody and his career. Dwight Lyman Moody was born in Northfield, Massachusetts in 1837. After organizing his own mission Sunday School in 1859, he devoted his life to evangelism, leading campaigns across the United States and Great Britain. He established two schools in Northfield: Northfield Seminary for young women and Northfield Mount Hermon School for older boys. In 1887, he founded the Chigcago Evangelization Society, which operated the Bible Training School later known as the Moody Bible Institute. Moody died on December 22, 1899 in Northfield Massachusetts.

Biographical / Historical

1837 February 5
Born in Northfield, Massachusetts
1854
Left home to work for uncle in Boston
1856
Moved to Chicago
1859
Organized his own mission Sunday School
1860
Renounced his success in business, devoted himself to the evangelizing of Chicago
1861
Married Emma C. Revell, who became the mother of his three children: Emma Reynolds, William Revell and Paul Dwight.
1871
Great Chicago fire influenced Moody's decision to expand his work beyond the city of Chicago
1872
Visit to Great Britain
1873
Returned to Great Britain with Ira D. Sankey to conduct evangelistic campaigns
1875
Returned to United States as a well-known evangelist
1875-1899
Using Northfield as a home base, travelled throughout United States leading evangelistic campaigns
1879
Began his efforts to establish two schools in Northfield: Northfield Seminary for young women and Mt. Hermon for older boys
1886-1888
Annual summer conferences at the Northfield schools included special sessions for college students from which the Student Volunteer Movement arose
1887
Chicago Evangelization Society founded which operated the Bible training school later known as Moody Bible Institute
1899 December 22
Moody died in Northfield, Massachusetts
Title
Guide to the Dwight L. Moody Papers
Author
Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
Date
1975
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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