CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For more than 60 years she stood by the side of America’s most well-known evangelist, praying, supporting and encouraging. He referred to her as his most-trusted advisor and the greatest Christian he has ever known. Now, Ruth Bell Graham will be honored at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte during a special two-month tribute.
“We’ve worked hard to weave together so many pieces of her life into this tribute, spending hours looking at family photos, reading her poetry, and selecting the items that would best describe who she was,” said Debra Blanton, director of the Library. “We already have ‘Ruth’s Room,’ a permanent part of the Library experience, but we wanted to provide an even greater opportunity for our guests to get to know this remarkable woman.”
The tribute will include items from various seasons of Ruth’s life incorporating her early days in China to her years spent raising their five children in the mountains of North Carolina. Among memorabilia on display at the Library are: her wedding dress; numerous entries from her personal journals; correspondence between Billy and Ruth during their early years of marriage; photos from her trips to China; some of her earliest artwork; and even a handwritten letter from Ruth as a young child to Santa Claus.
Born in China to missionary parents, Ruth developed a strong heart for the Chinese people and an even greater love for the Lord. She spent most of her high school years in Pyongyang, what is now the capital of North Korea, before attending Wheaton College in Illinois. It was at Wheaton that Ruth met Billy, and within three months of their meeting he had proposed. They married in 1943 in Montreat, N.C., which later became their permanent residence.
An accomplished author, poet, and artist, Ruth encouraged thousands throughout her life by sharing her personal stories and her deep love for Jesus Christ. Ruth was a lover of people and enjoyed opening her home and heart to many. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, they paled in comparison to Ruth’s greatest pleasures in life – being a mother and wife.
The Ruth Bell Graham tribute begins June 1 and is open to the public through the end of July. In June of 2007, Ruth passed away, and was buried at the Library in its Prayer Garden. Guests at the Library can spend time in reflection and prayer while visiting her grave site.
Part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Billy Graham Library opened in June 2007, and has since had more than 280,000 visitors from around the world. The Library is open Monday –Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information on the Library and the tribute or to schedule a group tour, please visit www.billygraham.org/library.