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Louis H. Evans, Sr. Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description





Collateral Material

Sermon Material

Sermon Background Material



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Louis H. Evans, Sr. Papers, 1915-1981 | College Archives & Special Collections

By The Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections Staff

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Collection Overview

Title: Louis H. Evans, Sr. Papers, 1915-1981Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1940-1970

ID: SC/031

Primary Creator: Evans, Louis Hadley (1897-1981)

Extent: 13.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged by series with folder level control.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1985

Subjects: Evans, Louis Hadley, 1897- - Manuscripts., Hollywood Presbyterian Church (Hollywood, Calif.), National Presbyterian Mariners., Prayer - Christianity., Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Clergy - Biography., Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Clergy., Sermons, American, Sermons, American - 20th century., Sermons, American - Manuscripts., Third Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Forms of Material: Articles, Audiotapes, Diaries, Memorabilia, Phonograph records, Photographs, Poetry

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers of the late Dr. Louis H. Evans, Sr. were received by the Wheaton College Special Collections in 1987. Dating from 1915 to 1981, they were donated by his wife, Marie. The major portion of the collection consists of sermon notes and materials used by Dr. Evans from the 1930s to the 1970s. The collection also contains biographical information, photographs, audio recordings, correspondence, 16 mm. films, and writings by Dr. Evans.

The "sermon material" was received in the Special Collections in 7"x10" three ring binders which were labeled by Evans. A list of the titles of these binders is included later in this guide. Titles were supplied for those binders for which there was no label. Evans used a combination of topical and geographical arrangement, and this original order was maintained for material within the binders, although the binders themselves were arranged alphabetically by title. Within the binders, Evans often grouped pages with paperclips or index tabs. To retain as much of the original order of the papers as possible, container list entries were marked with a "P," "T," or "L" to indicate items "paperclipped," set apart by a "tab," or "loose" in the binder. Evans' sermon notes were often typed in an abbreviated form; words were shortened by leaving out vowels and other letters. In addition to sermon notes, items from the binders included outlines, agendas, audio recordings and statistics. One binder contained a collection of hymns, four held exclusively poetry, and another consisted entirely of prayers.

Distinct from "sermon material" are the "sermon notes." The "sermon notes" arrived in a separate shipment without binders. The order of the material in this series was entirely reconstructed. Sermons were arranged by the archivist, and titles supplied. Non sermon material, including magazine and newspaper clippings, prayers, poems, anecdotes, and business cards were categorized and stored under the heading "Collateral Material."

The remaining series of the collection are more limited in size, but varied in content. The collection contained little biographical data, aside from information on Evans' years as pastor of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. The photograph depict topics ranging from church activities and athletics to family portraits. There are two types of audio recordings: phonograph records of sermons, and a cassette tape of a play written by Dr. Evans. A collection of 16mm. films from a television series featuring Evans is also available for researcher use. Mrs. Evans has said that the film on the Gospel of John is "especially characteristic of Louis' teaching and preaching."

No personal correspondence was received with the collection. However, a few letters of a general nature are included. these include a copy of the letter Evans wrote to his Pittsburgh congregation explaining his reasons for accepting the Hollywood pastorate and a letter from the Tau Kappa Alpha Society naming him Speaker of the Year in the Field of Religion.

Biographical Note

Louis Hadley Evans, or Louie as he was known by many, was born in Goshen, Indiana on May 31, 1897 and was of Welsh and Norwegian heritage. Louis Evans’ father was Dr. William Evans. The senior Evans was the first graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1892.

When William Evans returned to the Chicago area to begin teaching on the faculty of Moody Bible Institute in 1903, he and his family settled in Wheaton, Illinois purchasing a home at the edge of the Wheaton College campus. While the family lived in Wheaton, Louis attended Wheaton Academy, which was then located across the street. After graduating from the Academy he enrolled in Wheaton College.

While growing up Louie truly enjoyed sports. He played on the 1914-15 Wheaton College baseball team. Despite all of the changes in his life in the years to come, sports was one of the things that would remain a constant companion.

Louie withdrew from Wheaton after one year when the family moved to California. It was here that Louis enrolled in Occidental College, a Presbyterian-affiliated school located in Eagle Rock, now a neighborhood of Los Angeles. All of Evans' children would also attend and graduate from Occidental. While a student at Occidental, Louis took up football and became an All-American tight-end. After his graduation in 1918 he returned to Chicago to begin studies at McCormick Theological Seminary.

While at Occidental, Louis had met Marie Egly and on December 27, 1921 they were married. She was to be his wife, companion, friend, and supporter for almost sixty years. Their union was blessed with four children: Lauralil, known as Lolly, Louie, Jr., Mary Eileen, known as Marily, and William.

When Louis Evans graduated from Chicago's McCormick Theological Seminary in 1922 he assumed the pastorate of First Presbyterian Church, a tiny church 4 miles from the US/Canadian border with 29 members in the prairie town of Westhope, N.D. (pop then, 439). When he arrived Evans was told that the boys of the town were hellions. Evans promptly commandeered a hotel, rallied the town’s boys with saws and hammers to convert it into 'Evan’s Gym.' By the time he left, three years later, order was restored and his congregation had swelled from 29 to 125.

Evans most certainly realized the importance of mixing athletics and the Christian faith for evangelism and discipleship. This experience also shows Evans' desire to minister to youth and to provide for them resources for living. From Westhope, Evans moved to seaside Wilmington, California, to the west of Los Angeles, in 1925. While in Wilmington Evans launched another ministry, this one to families.

In 1927 he founded Presbyterian Mariners, drawing its name and nomenclature from nautical terms and the sea. The mission of the Mariner program is to nurture marriages and families in spiritual growth and service through organized groups in Presbyterian congregations. Evans pastored in Wilmington until 1928 when he moved to Pomona, California, east of Los Angeles.

In 1931 Evans moved his family once again, this time it was not a simple move across town but nearly to the shores of another ocean. He accepted a call to the Third Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This church was a steel-rich conservative church of some size and resources and served as a training ground for future ministry. It was here in Pittsburgh, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Branch Richey, that Evans became familiar with many Christian business men who would later help fund a future ministry involving athletes.

In 1941 he received a call from First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood. By this time he honed his pastoral and preaching skills. In various articles his preaching was described as the direct yet eloquent expression of a man who evidently believed intensely in the truth of what he was saying. He was a straight-from-the-shoulder pulpit speaker.

The ministry of Hollywood Presbyterian saw great advancement under Evans' ministry. In his twelve years there he saw the congregation increase from 2300 to 6400. Evans told Life Magazine that it made a rancher out of him instead of a shepherd. At Hollywood Evans placed an emphasis upon people. During his tenure the Hollywood church grew so much that the church held three services each Sunday in its 1700-seat sanctuary and each year the church would hold its Easter sunrise service in the Hollywood Bowl, seating over 12000 parishioners.

When Louis Evans arrived in Hollywood he came to an able staff. Henrietta Mears was on staff as Director of Christian Education and teacher of the college department. She had been serving in that position since 1928 and would continue until 1963. While at Hollywood, Mears founded Gospel Light Publishing using the curriculum made famous at the church.

At age 56 Evans became a "twentieth-century circuit rider." From 1953 to his retirement in 1962, Dr. Evans was Minister-At-Large for the United Presbyterian Church and spoke to groups ranging from atomic scientists to the Ethiopian General Assembly. This period also afforded Evans the time to write. Five of his eight books were written during this time. In addition to this Evans appeared in numerous films that were distributed to churches or broadcast on national television. Before he left Hollywood Evans also wrote a play titled Christ on Trial.

It was during his time as Minister-at-Large that Evans was able to devote more attention and energies to areas of ministry that he loved. He earnestly desired to bring individuals into relationship with Jesus Christ through the church universal. One such organization that received his help was Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Evans loved sports and he saw their utility in his own life and the life of the Church. Evans was instrumental in establishing Fellowship of Christian Athletes in its early days and was also influential as it took toddling steps in growth and made sure that it maintained its Christian focus, rather than become pluralistic. Evans served as its president for 2 years.

Louis Evans spent his life ministering to others, establishing individuals in their faith and seeking to build things that last. He was active until the four months preceding his death in September of 1981.

Subject/Index Terms

Evans, Louis Hadley, 1897- - Manuscripts.
Hollywood Presbyterian Church (Hollywood, Calif.)
National Presbyterian Mariners.
Prayer - Christianity.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Clergy - Biography.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Clergy.
Sermons, American
Sermons, American - 20th century.
Sermons, American - Manuscripts.
Third Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Administrative Information

Repository: College Archives & Special Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 7 linear feet

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this collection.

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

Acquisition Source: Gift

Acquisition Method: The collection was the gift of Mrs. Louis H. Evans in May of 1985.

Preferred Citation: Louis H. Evans, Sr. Papers (SC-31), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.

Other Note: Material pertaining to Dr. Louis Hadley Evans (1897 1981), renowned preacher and Minister At Large for the United Presbyterian Church forms a collection occupying approximately 13 linear feet. The material dates from 1915 to 1981, with the majority of the material falling into the period from 1940 to 1970. Items include sermon notes, video and audio recordings of sermons, an audio recording of a play written by Evans, magazine articles, photographs, books, and secondary material.

Other URL: http://library.wheaton.edu

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical],
[Series 2: Photographs],
[Series 3: Correspondence],
[Series 4: Writings],
[Series 5: Collateral Material],
[Series 6: Sermon Material],
[Series 7: Sermon Background Material],
[Series 9: Media],
[Series 10: Memorabilia],

Series 4: WritingsAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 2: EssaysAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 53: "Your Will: One Way of Living On"Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical],
[Series 2: Photographs],
[Series 3: Correspondence],
[Series 4: Writings],
[Series 5: Collateral Material],
[Series 6: Sermon Material],
[Series 7: Sermon Background Material],
[Series 9: Media],
[Series 10: Memorabilia],

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