Praying with Presidents

More than 50 years ago, Billy Graham first made the cover of TIME. His life has shaped both politics and religion in America

In the spring of 1950, Henry Luce's friend Bernard Baruch was staying at his vacation home at Hobcaw Barony, S.C., and following the revival meetings in nearby Columbia of a young and lanky preacher named Billy Graham. "There's a young fellow down here that's not only preaching some good religion," Baruch wrote Luce, "but he's giving some good common sense." Luce, TIME's co-founder, decided to go see for himself.

After attending one of the crusades, Luce met up with Graham at a dinner that evening. The publisher and the preacher talked late into the night. "I think he was trying to...

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