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About the Crowell Archives

The Moody Bible Institute Archives exists to collect, preserve, and make accessible archival materials which record the life and times of Dwight Lyman Moody and that illustrate the formation, organization, and history of the Moody Bible Institute. The Archives is a part of the Crowell Library and is located on the lower level of the Sweeting Center for World Evangelization on MBI’s central campus in downtown Chicago.

Some notable holdings include records from MBI Ministries (Broadcasting, Education, Moody Press, Today in the Word, etc.) and documents from significant events including the Civil War, Chicago Fire, evangelistic campaigns in the US and Europe, and biographical material of distinguished Christian ministers (C.I. Scofield, Spurgeon, and others).

The Archives are organized into two major topics: Moodyana and the Moody Bible Institute.



"Moodyana" is a term describing our collections that contain items related to the life and work of D. L. Moody (1837-99), his Chicago residency of 1856-73, and his co-workers. These collections contain thousands of photos, clippings, correspondence, sermon notes, and memorabilia of his campaigns.


Moody Bible Institute

The collection contains records and materials that document:

  • The founding and history of Moody Bible Institute (MBI)
  • The Chicago Evangelization Society (the organization from which the Moody Bible Institute developed)
  • WMBI radio
  • Day, Evening and Graduate Schools
  • Moody Press
  • Moody Monthly

The Archives houses over thirty file drawers full of biographical and photographic material of people who have had some connection with the Institute, including faculty, employees and noted personalities.

The entire archival collection consists of fourteen 5-drawer legal file cabinets, sixty archival boxes, and 221 feet of open shelves housing historical A-V and three-dimensional materials. There are also many finding aids and indexes to aid researchers in their queries.

More information about the Archives and collections and additional resources can be found on the Archives LibGuide.


Accessing the Archives

The collection is available by appointment during scheduled hours. During these hours, a library staff member will be available to answer questions and help locate desired materials. To schedule a research appointment or for more information on reading room regulations or our archival holdings, please contact us.

Hours: weekdays by appointment only.


E-mail us at least two days in advance to schedule an appointment.

The Archives are located in Room 003 on the Lower Level of Crowell Library in the Sweeting Center (820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610). It is ADA accessible. For assistance, please visit the Circulation Desk located on the first floor. Free parking is available. Pease call ahead for instructions for obtaining a visitor’s parking pass.


Accessioning of Records

The archives accept record transfers from within the Institute. The archives may accept donations from outside parties if the materials meet the collection criteria and are items new to our holdings. In order to record provenance, all items must go through a process of documentation. Upon transfer of ownership, donated/transferred items will be processed, indexed, housed, and made accessible to researchers.

MBI Departments represented in our holdings: Administration, Alumni Association, Aviation, the Board of Trustees, Broadcasting, Library, Moody Institute of Science, Moody Publishers, President’s Office, Public Relations, Sacred Music Department, Stewardship, and Student Development.

Types of archival materials: Correspondence and biographical records, fiscal records, MBI catalogs, rare books, periodicals and MBI publications, clippings, microforms, photographs, media, awards & memorabilia, artwork, maps, sermon and class notes, Tunisian Torah scroll, etc.


Archive books and some parts of the Archives' collections can be searched for in the library catalog. Do a search in MBI Books + and limit your results by Location to Crowell Archives.

More information about the Archives and its collections, including finding aids and indexes, can be found on the MBI Archive LibGuide.

To access materials in the Archives make an appointment with the archivist.


Biographical Files

The Archives contain over 1,300 biographical files and 1,200 photograph files of people associated with D.L. Moody and/or Moody Bible Institute.

Additionally, there are collections for many of the former presidents of the Institute including D.L. Moody, R.A. Torrey, and James Gray. More details regarding the D.L. Moody Collection can be found on the Dwight L. Moody Collection page.


Moody Bible Institute History

Records and documents of the Chicago Evangelization Society (CES) comprise some of the earliest sources that chronicle the beginnings of the Institute from 1886–1899.

MBI began as part of the Chicago Evangelization Society under the name The Bible Institute for Home and Foreign Missions; it was renamed Moody Bible Institute in 1900 following the death of D.L. Moody.

The Archives houses records and information documenting the growth and activities of the various departments of MBI including the Education, Alumni, and President's Offices. It also houses collections for associated ministries including Moody Press, Moody Radio, Moody Monthly, and the Moody Institute of Science.


Special Collections

Historic Books

The Archives houses books and pamphlets that pertain to D.L. Moody and his associates, Moody Bible Institute, and nineteenth-century revivalism. All books and pamphlets in the Archives can be found by searching the library catalog.

The Moodyana Collection includes a comprehensive set of books by and about D.L. Moody. It contains more than 80 full-length biographies (including various printings) and more than 25 full-length dissertations and theses that have been written about Moody. There is also a comprehensive collection of Ira D. Sankey hymn and song books.


Historic Bibles

The Archives have numerous historic Bibles in its collection in many languages including English, Dutch, French, German, Danish, Hebrew, and Greek. Some are unique for their hand painted artwork and carvings, which were trademark features of Bibles produced before the advent of modern mass printing, while others are unique for being first or early editions.


Foreign language Bibles

The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in the world. The Foreign Language Bibles Collection contains more than 180 Bibles in more than 100 languages. These Bibles can be searched for in the library catalog and can be accessed via the Archives or Information Desk.


Hymnal Collection

The Crowell Library and the Archives combined contain approximately 1,850 hymnals. We house one of the largest collections of gospel hymn resources in the United States. In addition to hymnals and songbooks the collection contains sheet music, hymnal companions, biographies, and resources related to American hymnody. A large portion of the collection can be found in the southwest corner of the library while a smaller selection is housed in the Archives.


Other Resources & Repositories