University City

Exhibit focuses on Ruth Graham, her love for China

A new display at the Billy Graham Library will feature a country close to Ruth Bell Graham's heart.

Ruth Graham, Billy Graham's wife, grew up in China. She was the daughter of medical missionaries. Her love for the country extended to her children and husband, who also have visited there. Ruth Bell Graham died in 2007.

"She just had this passion about her (childhood) years, and she just wanted to share it with the people she loved," said Diane Wise, promotions manager for the Billy Graham Library.

"The Bible in China: A History of Hope and Transformation" will be on display at the library Nov. 8-Nov. 19, the last stop on its four-city tour, which included Washington, D.C., Chicago and Dallas.

The Charlotte exhibit will feature a special display of Ruth Bell Graham's family legacy in China.

Ruth was born in China, the second daughter of medical missionary Nelson Bell and his wife, Virginia.

"(Nelson Bell) was just and incredible man, and he made a huge impact in China," Wise said. "Generations later people in China remember his presence there and what he did for the people of that area."

Ruth left China at age 13 to attend school in Korea, but she longed to become a missionary in Tibet. Her plans changed when she met Billy Graham when she was a student at Wheaton College.

Ruth returned to China several times as an adult to visit her childhood home in Huai'an.

Her sisters, her husband and her children accompanied her on trips.

In 2010, Franklin Graham and other family members visited Huai'an for the opening of Central Church's Ruth Bell Graham Bible Institute, the first museum in China dedicated to Christian ministry, Wise said.

"It's a culmination of this love for China and this impact this family has had in China over the years," she said.

The Billy Graham Library has a permanent exhibit about Ruth's connection to China, but the new display includes much more information about her father's work there.

"The Bible in China" exhibit traces the 1,400-year history of the Bible in China and how it has influenced Chinese life and art.

Visitors also will learn about the printing and distribution of more than 55 million Bibles in China. Historic Bibles and pages that are centuries old, as well as religious artifacts, will be on display.

The exhibit is free and will be open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, visit or call (704) 401-3200. The library is at 4330 Westmont Dr.