Girl  Evangelists
 
Biographies of Girl Evangelists

In our initial research, we were able to identify by name nearly two hundred girl evangelists in the 1920s and 1930s. This represents, at best, but a slice of the total. The list was largely compiled from searchable newspaper databases, a tool that made our study possible. But there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of newspapers yet to be scanned and made available in searchable form. This represents many hundreds of millions of newspaper pages yet unstudied for accounts of girl evangelists.

Further, many girl evangelists would not have gained sufficient public fame even to make the pages of their local newspapers. They might still have had considerable success within their own denomination or local church. Indeed, in some cases, a successful girl evangelist does not get any mention in the newspaper record presently available, though she does appear in publications of her denomination.

Denominational magazines fill in some gaps, but the newspaper record has been, by far, the most valuable source. This newspaper interest was spawned, it seems, because the girls could be set up as a counter-type of the new image of the feminine being marketed in the 1920s—the flapper. The story of this clash of culture made a good story. Besides, the young girl evangelists were a curiosity in a world where novelty and oddity were touted, where young stars were adored, and where girls were challenging the norms of the day in almost every conceivable way.

We are posting here biographies of girl evangelists mainly from the 1920s and 1930s. Most of these are brief. We hope that by bringing the subject of girl evangelists in the 1920s and 1930s to public attention, rich resources from that period might be recognized and made available for researchers.

Do you have relevant information you are prepared to share? Check the list of girls we are collecting information about, or tell me about others I have missed. Please contact me at the address below:

    Professor Thomas A. Robinson
    Department of Religious Studies
    The University of Lethbridge
    Lethbridge, Alberta, T1K 3M4
    CANADA

   Click here for email link.

Check under THE GIRLS to see the full list of girl evangelists. Any name in bold type has a brief biography page.

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