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from the Billy Graham Library

Ruth 100: Ruth as a Collector

July 10, 2020

Categories: Ruth Bell Graham


Ruth Bell Graham was a self-proclaimed pack rat. It is thanks to this quality that the Billy Graham Library has much of its memorabilia.

When Ruth wrote her book, Legacy of a Pack Rat, she began it with a story of triumph of her collecting. After years of teasing from Billy about how Ruth would “need a bulldozer” to clean out their attic, filled with everything from crutches to Christmas ornaments to arrowheads and spearheads from Australia, Ruth found Billy engrossed one evening in a stack of papers. When she asked him about what he was reading, he said, “Just look at these! The best stuff I’ve ever come across in all these years since Bible school…My old Bible school notes.” The notes had come from a notebook that had been stored in the attic over the years. The next day, when Billy was talking with a friend about his find, he told the friend “it was found in Ruth’s attic.” It was a huge win for Ruth, the Pack Rat.

This month, we’re featuring a couple of archive items from Ruth Bell Graham’s personal collection to show the variety of things she collected.

A tin can with a lid that sat on Ruth Bell Graham’s bookcase in her bedroom for many years
A ceramic black lamb with wool which sat on a shelf in Ruth Bell Graham’s bedroom

Today, the bookstore at the Billy Graham Library is called Ruth’s Attic, in honor of Ruth’s self-proclaimed status as a pack rat. In the bookstore, you can find everything from books to t-shirts to unique gifts and other Christian collectibles. To find out more about Ruth’s Attic and to plan your visit, go to billygrahamlibrary.org/what-to-expect/

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