Category Archives: Collection-related Publications

Charles Blanchard on the Bible

BlanchardThe life of Dr. Charles Blanchard (1848-1925), second president of Wheaton College, was nearing its end just when the Modernist/Fundamentalist controversey was heating up. These hotly divisive years presented stiff challenges to conservative Christians as traditional assumptions were routinely overthrown or mocked. Is the Bible flawed? Is evolution true? Is scripture merely a collection of fictional morality tales? These questions, then as now, plagued educational institutions across the nation. Eventually the battle lines were drawn – and Dr. Blanchard made it very clear where he stood, as evidenced by these words from the Preface of his book, Visions and Voices: Or Who Wrote the Bible (1917):

It is not strange that such a book should be assailed. We do not wonder when we read that its translators, teachers and followers have been strangled, beheaded, burned, drowned and by thousands have died for this wonderful book on bloody fields. It is, however, strange that today men who profess to believe the Bible and are paid for teaching it should join hands with the Paines, Voltaires and Ingersolls of our race to destroy the faith of the people in this book. I do not understand their motives, but I do know the deadly work they are doing, and I entreat all men who honor God or wish well to humanity to resist their desperately evil assaults on this the only hope of the human race.

Masked: The Life of Anna Leonowens by Al Habegger

A brave British widow goes to Siam and—by dint of her principled and indomitable character—inspires that despotic nation to abolish slavery and absolute rule: this appealing legend first took shape after the Civil War when Anna Leonowens came to America from Bangkok and succeeded in becoming a celebrity author and lecturer. Three decades after her death, in the 1940s and 1950s, the story would be transformed into a powerful Western myth by Margaret Landon’s best-selling book Anna and the King of Siam and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The King and I.

But who was Leonowens and why did her story take hold? Although it has been known for some time that she was of Anglo-Indian parentage and that her tales about the Siamese court are unreliable, not until now, with the publication of Masked, has there been a deeply researched account of her extraordinary life. Alfred Habegger, an award-winning biographer, draws on the archives of five continents and recent Thai-language scholarship to disclose the complex person behind the mask and the troubling facts behind the myth. He also ponders the curious fit between Leonowens’s compelling fabrications and the New World’s innocent dreams—in particular the dream that democracy can be spread through quick and easy interventions.

Exploring the full historic complexity of what it once meant to pass as white, Masked (published by University of Wisconsin Press, 560 pages) pays close attention to Leonowens’s mid-level origins in British India, her education at a Bombay charity school for Eurasian children, her material and social milieu in Australia and Singapore, the stresses she endured in Bangkok as a working widow, the latent melancholy that often afflicted her, the problematic aspects of her self-invention, and the welcome she found in America, where a circle of elite New England abolitionists who knew nothing about Southeast Asia gave her their uncritical support.  Her embellished story would again capture America’s imagination as World War II ended and a newly interventionist United States looked toward Asia.

The Kenneth & Margaret Landon Papers (SC-38) are cited as primary source materials and are housed in the Wheaton College Special Collections, available to researchers.


Alfred Habegger is professor emeritus of English at the University of Kansas. His previous biographies are The Father: A Life of Henry James, Sr. and the highly acclaimed My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. He lives in northeast Oregon.

Why She Stayed

In 2006, Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church, author and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, shocked America when he confessed to drug abuse and an illicit affair with a male prostitute in Denver. GayleConsequently, Haggard quit his numerous leadership positions and sought pastoral counseling. Not only was Haggard publicly humiliated, but so was his wife, Gayle. Inundated with a persistent question, she responds in her memoir, Why I Stayed (2010). She recounts her marriage to Haggard, from their meeting as students at Oral Roberts University to the present. Gayle Haggard summarizes her conclusions in the final pages:

Why did I stay married to Ted Haggard? I think the more pertinent question — the one I had to settle in my heart — was, Why should I go? My reasons for staying with Ted were far more compelling than any that would have propelled me toward divorce. I stayed with Ted because to me he’s worth the struggle…But even in the midst of my pain, I believed Ted loved me…I decided that he was worth fighting for, our marriage was worth fighting for, and our family was worth fighting for. I stayed with Ted because commitment means something to me. I’ve committed my life to God, which means that I’ve chosen his ways and I follow his example of love and forgiveness. I’m committed to our marriage, to stay in this journey till death do us part. I am committed to our children, and I want to restore honor and dignity to their lives.

The papers of the National Association of Evangelicals (SC-113), from its inception in 1941 until the mid-1990s, are housed in the Wheaton College Special Collections, available to researchers. The NAE is currently headed by Dr. Leith Anderson.

Ageless Wrinkle

WrinkleThe editors of Amazon released in 2014 their selections for “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” Placing sixth is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The Newberry Award Winning classic celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012.

Other choices include 1984 by George Orwell, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Shining by Stephen King.

The original manuscript for A Wrinkle in Time is housed at the De Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at Hattiesburg, Mississippi; but L’Engle’s remaining correspondence, artwork and manuscripts (SC-03), including the remaining titles of the The Time Quartet, is housed at Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections.

Doing & Being

I have always enjoyed being outside—as a little girl swaying in the tops of evergreens while hiding from my siblings, or lying in sweet-smelling grass looking for shapes in the summer clouds. I visit past moments often in my heart—times when I walked near the ocean that my soul became closely attuned to hearing myself think and God speak.

Some folks believe they have to be “earthy” to deeply appreciate Creation. Not so. We all desperately need the healing balm of nature—a display that can calm and simplify our lives while drawing us nearer to our Creator.

Henri Nouwen suggests in his books The Way of the Heart and Out of Solitude, that we are often motivated by the compulsions of society to measure our self-worth by the many things we can accomplish—some of which are not as necessary as we might think.

I struggle with this compulsion. Yet God’s Creation teaches me about the tension between “being” and “doing.” All things created by God display his glory by simply being what God created them to be. And so, I find myself longing for times of solitude—times of throwing pottery, walking in a park, visiting the ocean bottom, admiring the trees outside my office window, or watching spiders jump along my windowsill.

Nouwen points out that when we let society define us, we take on “false selves.” We get caught up by selfish ambition, doing things that are prestigious and pleasing to our peers, and—so we think—to God. Sometimes in our Christian duty we get the doing part confused with the being part. We think of the things we are to do that will bring him glory more so than what we are to be.

The relationship between being and doing became clearer to me as I related to my sister, Rob, throughout her battle with cancer. Before her illness, I was much better at doing the work of my career than in being there for those who needed me, So, naturally Rob found it difficult to believe that I really cared deeply for her because my work took up so much of my life.

After I turned down two permanent job offers so I could live near her and later took a job in Minnesota near her home, she was finally able to fully realize my love for her.

But more importantly, God began to communicate his love for her through me. Rob eventually moved to Virginia to live with my older sister, Sandy, and I later chose to go there to be with Rob during her last months of life.

During my sister’s battle with cancer, God taught me a lot about the difference between being and doing. I learned what it meant to be myself, to be what God had intended me to be—a channel of his love and grace for Rob. This may not seem like a profound revelation, but it is important for all of us to be reminded that it is not what we do that is most important, but rather what we end up being or becoming.

There is a balance, of course. But God calls us to be his people, to be people who are in close communion with him, and to be our true selves, human beings created in his image to bring glory to him.

The following statement was included at the time of publication (Wheaton Magazine, Summer 1997)

Dr. Nadine Folino, Assistant Professor of Biology earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in zoology from the University of New Hampshire. She is an enthusiastic marine biologist specializing in invertebrate zoology. Her hobbies include pottety, sports of all kinds biking, skiing, and running-cooking, and camping. Dr. Folino enjoys Creation greatly seeing God’s creativeness expressed in all of earth’s many and varied “critters.”

The Geography of Memory

JMWJeanne Murray Walker, poet and teacher, tells the tale of her mother’s slow, agonizing descent into the depths of dementia and eventual death in The Geography of Memory (2013). As her mother recedes increasingly into the past, Walker sees her own childhood illuminated. Better understanding their relationship, mother and daughter bind ever tighter as the days darken.

“Provides us with fresh glimpses into hidden joys and startling surprises.” — Richard J. Foster, author of A Celebration of Discipline

“I read it, mesmerized, wondering my way through this deeply moving portrait.” — Luci Shaw, poet

“A powerful tale of loss but also renewal, pain but also love. A treasure.” — Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian

“This deeply humane memoir is at once a memorial to a mother whose memory failed before her body gave way, a poignant reflection on the sister who lived close by while the author flew in repeatedly from afar, and an insightful exposition on memory itself. With a poet’s eye for the apt image, The Geography of Memory is also a case book of spiritual disciplines taught by what Jeanne Murray Walker calls “the ugly twins, aging and death.”   — Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame, author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

The papers of Jeanne Murray Walker (SC-72) are archived in the Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections.

Listening for Madeleine

MarcusLeonard S. Marcus, author and literary historian, has compiled Listening for Madeleine (2012), a collection of interviews by friends, family, writers and editors who knew Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, Bright Evening Star, Certain Women and many more titles. Sections concentrating on various aspects of her life include “Madeleine in the Making,” “Writer,” “Matriarch,” “Mentor,” “Friend” and “Icon.”

In his Introduction, Marcus describes a 2002 interview with L’Engle, conducted at her home, Crosswicks.

What followed was an utterly remarkable performance, and an act of generosity that must have drawn on every ounce of her strength and determination. I recognized, from the published interviews I had prepped on, her responses to some of my questions. But much of what she said, I thought, was new. When I asked her about the mail she received from readers, L’Engle told the story of a young reader of A Wrinkle in Time who ended what had seemed a typical fan letter with the news that he was ill with cancer. “We corresponded,” she said, “until he died. It was hard and wonderful both.” Then L’Engle said, “My books are not bad books to die with.” As she uttered this extraordinary remark, a chill ran up my spine. “What do you mean?” I asked her. “What I mean,” she said, “is that when I read a book, if it makes me feel more alive, then it’s a good book to die with. That,” said L’Engle, “is why certain books last.”

The papers of Madeleine L’Engle (SC-03) are archived in the Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections.

A Third Testament, available on DVD

Malcolm Muggeridge (SC-04), British journalist, responded with keen sensitivity to pious thought couched in beautiful language, especially as he embraced the Christian faith in his later years. In 1974 he hosted a documentary series highlighting the spiritual contributions of six world-class authors: St. Augustine, Blaise Pascal, William Blake, Soren Kierkegaard, Leo Tolstoy and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Describing their work as a “third testament” (after the Old and New Testaments) testifying to the reality of God and the resurrected Christ, Muggeridge visited their countries, homes and haunts, attempting to capture something of the environment in which they flourished. Two years later he adapted the series into a book, each chapter profiling one of the featured authors.

Unavailable for many years, A Third Testament, a two-disc DVD containing six 55-minute episodes, is now available from Ignatius Press, or 1-800-651-1531.

New Book on Evangelical Left Published

A newly released book by Wheaton College graduate, David Swartz is receiving favorable reviews by scholars and critics alike. Significant research was conducted in the Sojourners Records and other archival resources of the Archives & Special Collections prior to publication of Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism (University of Pennsylvania Press). Dr. David R. Swartz is an assistant professor of history at Asbury University. He earned his Ph.D. in American history at the University of Notre Dame under the direction of George Marsden and Mark Noll. Areas of expertise and teaching interest include American religious history, twentieth-century American politics, global religion, and issues of war and peace.

According to the book’s website, “Moral Minority charts the rise and fall of a forgotten movement: the evangelical left. Emerging in an era when it was unclear where the majority of evangelicals might emerge politically, the evangelical left held great potential. The convergence of civil rights and antiwar activism, intentional communities, and third-world evangelicals in the early 1970s prompted the Washington Post to suggest that the new movement might ‘launch a movement that could shake both political and religious life in America.’

In the end, it did not. Moral Minority charts how identity politics roiled the evangelical left–and how the Democratic Party in the 1970s and the religious right in the 1980s left progressive evangelicals behind. The failure of the evangelical left, thus, was the product of a particular political moment more than a reflection of evangelicalism’s inherent conservatism. As a new century dawns, Swartz suggests that this marginalized movement could rise again, particularly if the Democratic Party reaches out to evangelicals and if Christian immigrants from the Global South are able to reshape American evangelicalism.”

According to the New York Times:

“Moral Majority is a vivid topography of a little-understood corner of evangelical thought. It is not an account of a political movement–because there was no movement to speak of. This is a story of failures and might-have-beens, but it is just as illuminating as a history of political success.”

Royalty in Our Midst

Guest posting by Special Collections staff member

The current King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is known as a stern and tough Monarch. Though his authority is not absolute, he continues to wield considerable influence within his country and beyond. In line with past Kings and Queens of Thailand, he is known for having those who criticize him jailed for 3-15 years under Thailand’s lese-majeste laws. He has been on the throne longer than any living Monarch–since 1946.

It is not as widely known that both the King’s mother (Sangwan Talapat) and father (Prince Mahidol) lived and studied in the United States prior to their marriage in 1920. Sangwan had received a scholarship to study nursing and Prince Mahidol was studying public health at Harvard at the time. This candid photo, dated 1919, shows the Prince and his wife-to-be in front of the home of Mrs. Strong in Hartford Connecticut. Sangwan lived with the Strong family for several months in 1918 and 1919, prior to her engagement and eventual marriage to the Prince. It was apparently Sangwan’s first time to see snow. The photograph is part of the Margaret and Kenneth Landon Collection.


The Margaret and Kenneth P. Landon Papers are housed in the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections and are available for research.