R.G. LeTourneau

Museum & Archives


  • Museum Info
  • The Man
  • The Machines
  • The Mission
  • By R.G.
  • About R.G.

R.G. LeTourneau, co-founder with his wife, Evelyn, of LeTourneau University was an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, educator and most importantly, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you happen to be in the Longview, Texas area, you might enjoy touring the R.G. LeTourneau Memorial Museum and Archives, located on the campus of LeTourneau University.

  • The museum consists of both exterior displays, including three examples of early earthmoving equipment, and a visitors center, located on the third floor of the Memorial Student Center at the heart of campus. 
  • The museum follows the footprints of one of the most influential Christians of the 20th Century: The Man, The Machines, and The Mission. Highlights include:
    • a look at the life of R.G. LeTourneau
    • an overview of his legacy as the father of the modern earthmoving industry
    • a snapshot of his nearly 300 inventions
    • his personal speaking ministry
    • missionary efforts in Africa and South America
    • the founding of LeTourneau University
  • The museum is free and usually open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. To verify that it will be open when you plan to visit and to apprise of large groups, please contact us.
  • The R.G. LeTourneau archives contain thousands of papers, films, tapes and memorabilia connected to R.G. and Evelyn LeTourneau. 
  • Both R.G. and Evelyn LeTourneau are buried on the LeTourneau University campus. Their grave sites may be found near the front entrance.
  • A bibliography that includes both texts written by R.G. LeTourneau and texts written about him is available for you to download. If you are aware of a publication that is not listed on either of these bibliographies, please don't hesitate to contact the Library with the information that needs to be added. 

Robert G. (Gilmour) LeTourneau
1888-1969

(The comments below are excerpted from Mr. LeTourneau's obituary.)

Robert G. LeTourneau was born on November 30, 1888, to godly parents. From infancy he heard the Gospel. For a time, he rejected the message, but through the faithful prayers of his parents he was, at the age of sixteen, won to Christ. At 30 he dedicated his life to be God's businessman. He recognized the danger of that dedication being dimmed by his love for his machines, but by the grace of God that commitment extended over a period of fifty years.

He designed and built machines beyond the imagination of ordinary men. He introduced into the earthmoving and material handling industry the rubber tire, which today is almost universally accepted. He invented and developed the Electric Wheel. He pioneered the welding of various metals. His huge mobile offshore drilling platforms are supporting the machines that drill for the rich petroleum reserves under the seas around the world.

He demonstrated his concern for the Gospel witness by establishing regular chapel services and by employing three full-time Chaplains in his manufacturing plants. The monthly publication NOW begun by him reached 600,000 persons during his lifetime and circled the world with its message. He s traveled the world as a witnessing Christian businessman.

Many books about his life have published, including his best-selling autobiography, Mover of Men and Mountains (Zondervan), which is still in print, thirty years after his death. This book has been translated from English into several foreign languages. Who can tell how many have come to faith in Christ through his missionary ministry in Liberia, West Africa and Peru, South America? The outreach for God through aid to individuals and organizations by the LeTourneau Foundation has been worldwide.

LeTourneau University which he, together with his wife, founded may well prove to be one of his greatest accomplishments as his influence is multiplied and spread throughout the world by dedicated Christian young people who have studied at the college.

His life's verse was Matthew 6:33: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."

R.G. LeTourneau's last patent was granted on July 13, 1965, when he was 77 years old. In the 42 years between these two inventions he was granted 297 more patents and became one of the top inventors of all time.

These 299 inventions included the bulldozer, scrapers of all sorts, dredgers, portable cranes, rollers, dump wagons, bridge spans, logging equipment, mobile sea platforms for oil exploration, the electric wheel and many others.

LeTourneau built 70% of the heavy earthmoving equipment used by the allies in World War II. During the height of the war, from 1942 to 1945, his fertile mind pumped out 78 inventions, many of which were instrumental in helping to win the war.

Although LeTourneau had only a few years of formal education, his prodigious inventive efforts were recognized with dozens of industrial awards and he was presented with honorary doctorate degrees from five different colleges and universities.

 

R. G. LeTourneau felt that he was clearly led by to to business as his calling. The workplace was his mission field. It was as "God's businessman" that he pursued his reason for existence: to glorify God and spread the Gospel message.

His ministry, however, was not limited to business enterprises. At his own expense, he founded missionary efforts in Liberia, Africa and Peru, South America that encompassed evangelistic as well as economic initiatives. He traveled around the nation and the world preaching and sharing his testimony at his own expense as well. Visitors to the R. G. LeToruneau Museum frequently recall the impact these messages had on them and their family members.

Mr. LeTourneau always felt that his lasting spiritual legacy would be the college he and his wife founded in Longview, Texas in 1946. The college--now LeTourneau University--continues to hold to its spiritual foundations and has produced more than 20,000 alumni who are faithfully serving the Lord in all 50 states and 40 nations. The mission continues to grow and thrive as LeTourneau alumni claim every workplace in every nation as their mission field.

BOOKS:

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour. Mover of Men and Mountains; Autobiography. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1967. In the LeTourneau University Library: TA 140 .L63 A3

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour. R.G. Talks About...: The Industrial Genius, Practical Philosophy, and Christian Commitment of Robert G. LeTourneau. Edited by Louise LeTourneau Dick. Longview, Tex: LeTourneau Press, 1985. In the LeTourneau University Library: TA 140 .L63 A35

FILM (8mm-32mm):

Mountain roads to market (color film) -- R. G. LeTourneau, Inc.

The archives of R. G. LeTourneau at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, houses many other films which show LeTourneau machinery in operation around the world. These films also contain footage of R. G. LeTourneau, his staff and company operations in the U.S. and abroad.

AUDIOTAPES:

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour. Friction (Chapel services at LeTourneau College, February 16, 1965). Longview, Tex: LeTourneau College, 1965. In the LeTourneau University Library: Audio Cassette BV 26 .L47 L4

ARCHIVE MATERIALS:

LeTourneau College NOW. Vol. 1, No. 1 - ; 1936 - . Title varies: 1936-46: NOW published by R. G. LeTourneau, Inc. (college and company news combined); 1947-Feb. 1961: LeTourneau Tech's NOW; July 1955: divided into two publications: LeTourneau Tech's NOW (college) and LeTourneau Scope (company); March 1961-1989 LeTourneau College NOW; 1989 -present LeTourneau University NOW. In the LeTourneau University Library (non-circulating): RARE LD 3061 .L4563 a12

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour. Background Information on Robert G. LeTourneau. Longview, Tex: R. G. LeTourneau, Inc. News Bureau, 1957.

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour. Progress in Earthmoving, G. Edwin Burks Lecture 1967, Society of Automotive Engineers Earthmoving Industry Conference, Central Illinois Section, Peoria, Illinois, April 12, 1967. New York: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), [196-]. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room: RARE TA 725 .E3

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour. The San Francisco Earthquake: A letter written to his family describing the San Francisco earthquake in April, 1906. Longview, Tex: LeTourneau University. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room: RARE QE 535.2 .S62 L4 1906

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour, interview in Machine and Tool Blue Book (September 1958): 101-105. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room: RARE TA 725 .M3

LeTourneau, Robert Gilmour, interview, Word of Life Broadcast (May 12, 1945). Transcript of interview located in Rare Vertical File: LeTourneau, R.G. -- Biography.

Momentos, Advertising, various company records, files of speaking engagements of R. G. LeTourneau . July, 1955 - . R. G. LeTourneau, Inc. (company newspaper; contains company news formerly included inNOW and LeTourneau Tech's NOW).

 

BOOKS:

Ackland, Donald F. Moving Heaven and Earth: R. G. LeTourneau: Inventor, Designer, Manufacturer, Preacher. New York: Iversen-Ford Associates, 1949. In the LeTourneau University Library: TA 140 .L63 A5

Allhands, J. L. Tools of the Earth Mover: Yesterday and Today Preserved in Pictures. Huntsville, Tex: Sam Houston College Press, 1951. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room (non-circulating): RARE TA 725 .A55 Foundation Directory

Geller, Edward. The Story of Ambitious Men Who Made Jobs for Thousands Through Free Enterprise. Detroit, Mich: E. & I. Geller, 1952. Cartoon strips originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room (non-circulating): RARE JUV E 176 .G45

Haskins, Dorothy C. Christians You Would Like to Know. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1954. Chapter on R. G. LeTourneau. In the LeTourneau University Library: BR 1700 .H28

Huffman, Lambert. Not of this World. Lambert Huffman, 1951. [Chapter 12, pgs. 148-149]. In the LeTourneau University Library: BX 8143 .H8 H8

Laird, Donald Anderson. The Technique of Building Personal Leadership: Proved Ways for Increasing the Powers of Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1944. [pgs. 4-5]. In the LeTourneau University Library: BF 636 .L273

Lorimer, Albert W. God Runs My Business: The Story of R. G. LeTourneau. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1941. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room (non-circulating): RARE TA 140 .L63 L67

Lorimer, Albert W. God Runs My Business: The Story of Robert LeTourneau. Translated by Claes Collenbert. Stockholm: Missionsforbudnets Forlag, 1948. (Text in Swedish). In the LeTourneau University Library: TA 140 .L63 G4

Lorimer, Albert W. Robert LeTourneau: The Life of a Sincerely Dedicated Christian Man. Translated by Demetrius I. Magkriote. Athens, Greece: O Logos, [nd]. (Text in Greek). In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room (non-circulating): RARE TA 140 .L63 L676

Margaret Estes Library. Memorial Rites and Tributes for Mr. R. G. LeTourneau. Reproductions of obituaries and tributes from Texas newspapers and funeral program. Longview, Tex: LeTourneau University, 1972. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room: RARE TA 140 .L63 Z5
National Cyclopedia of American Biography. In the LeTourneau University Library (non-circulating): REF E 176 .N28C

Nichols, Herbert L. Jr. Moving the Earth: The Workbook of Excavation. Greenwich, Conn: North Castle Books, 1955. Contains pictures and descriptions of many LeTourneau earthmoving machines. In the LeTourneau University Library (non-circulating): REF TA 735 .N52

Selby, Robert Haralson. Earthmovers in World War II: R. G. LeTourneau and His Machines. Doctoral dissertation -- Case Western Reserve University, 1970. In the LeTourneau University Library (non-circulating): REF TA 725 .S4

Stjernstrom, Nels E. The Joy of Accomplishment: It's Always Too Soon to Quit. Longview, Tex: LeTourneau University Press, 1989. In the LeTourneau University Library: TA 140 .L63 S74 1989

Who's Who in America, 1958-1959. In the LeTourneau University Library (non-circulating): REF E 176 .W642

Who's Who in Engineering.

Who's Who in Industry.

Who's Who in the South and Southwest. In the LeTourneau University Library (non-circulating): REF CT213 .W45 ... Vol. F 1939-1942. pgs. 76-77. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1967. pg. 944 lists the LeTourneau Foundation.

VIDEOTAPES:

Louise Dick, interview by Joan Hallmark, September 21, 1987, videotape recording, Proud of East Texas television program, KLTV-TV, Tyler, Texas. [contains discussion of R. G. and "Mom" LeTourneau]. In the LeTourneau University Library: Videocassette TA 140 .L63 P76 / LOST 1/26/2009

ARCHIVES MATERIALS:

Generations of Caleb T. LeTourneau (1857-1927) and Elizabeth Lorimer (1854-1933). Vertical File - Rare Book Room, LeTourneau University Library, Longview, Texas. (genealogical information on LeTourneau and Lorimer families)

Hay, Thomas Arthur. Martin genealogy. (genealogical information on LeTourneau family)

LeTourneau College NOW. Vol 1, No. 1- ; 1936-. Title varies: 1936-46: NOW published by R. G. LeTourneau, Inc. (college and company news); 1947-Feb. 1961: LeTourneau Tech's NOW; July 1955: divided into two publications: LeTourneau Tech's NOW (college) and LeTourneau Scope (company); March 1961-1989 LeTourneau College NOW; 1989 -present LeTourneau University NOW. In the LeTourneau University Rare Book Room: RARE LD 3061 .L4563 a12

LeTourneau Scope. July, 1955 - . R. G. LeTourneau, Inc. (company newspaper; contains company news formerly included in NOW and LeTourneau Tech's NOW).

Longview News-Journal clippings - 1946 scattered to 1969. Located in Rare Book Room, LeTourneau University Library.

Lorimer, E. Albert. Genealogical record of the Bordie, Lorimer, LeTourneau, Hay, Dallof, and Martin families.

Momentos, Advertising, various company records, files of speaking engagements of R. G. LeTourneau are housed in the R. G. LeTourneau Archives of LeTourneau University.

R. G. LeTourneau, Inc., Annual Report. 1936 - 1970. Located in gray acid-free box in LeTourneau University Margaret Estes Library Rare Book Room.

WABCO Construction and Mining Equipment Group. A Tradition of Excellence: A history of earthmoving and WABCO Construction and Mining Equipment Group, An American-Standard Company. Peoria, IL: Westinghouse Air Brake Company, 1974. Contains section on R. G. LeTourneau, pgs. 11-13. In the LeTourneau University Rare Vertical File - LeTourneau, R. G. -- Biography.

To learn more and inquire about museum hours, accessing the archives or scheduling a group visit please, contact: 
library@letu.edu 
903.233.3260