Girl  Evangelists

Most of the girl evangelist were fundamentalists. There is nothing surprising about this. It was on the revivalist stage that most girls found their platform, and the revivalist stage was largely controlled by fundamentalists.

Not all fundamentalists were welcoming of the young girls, and the leading fundamentalist of the day, John Roach Straton, was sharply criticized when he became the primary promoter of young Uldine Utley. Straton responded with a detailed essay on the topic: “Does the Bible Forbid Women to Pray and Preach in Public?”

Many of the leading fundamentalist preachers and musicians recognize that the girls were a useful ally in the fundamentalist cause. Not only did the girl evangelists represent the traditional social and religious values, they served as an attractive counterpart to the wild new image of womanhood reflected in the flappers of the “roaring twenties.”

The girl evangelists were as consistent in the fundamentalist cause as were the adult preachers. They defended such issues as the infallibility of the Bible and the virgin birth of Jesus, the resurrection, the atonement, and miracles, and they mocked Darwin and evolution with such certainty that any fundamentalist would have been made proud. Indeed, the golden age of girl evangelists occurred at the height of the fundamentalists’ clash with evolutionists, best remembered now in what is called the Scopes’ monkey trial of 1925.

George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture. 2nd. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

George M. Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism andEvangelicalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991).

Fundamentalism & Modernism