Girl  Evangelists
 
Helen V. Campbell
(1915-)

Helen Campbell was converted at age eight and started preaching at age nine. Helen was not going to wait until she earned a reputation—she was going to proclaim great accomplishments from the beginning. One early ad (at age nine) promoted her as “a genius of the age.” The ad announced that Helen was to speak at the “Big Tent” in Oakland, California on Thursday night. The second half of that half-column ad announced that the Saturday evening service would be under the direction of the KKK. While still nine, the year she started preaching, she published a twelve-page booklet titled “Life story of Helen Campbell, the child evangelist, nine years of age, started preaching July 1924 in San Francisco.” At age twelve, her ads proclaimed her as “the world’s youngest girl evangelist,” that that claim was being made by many (both younger and older) at the time.

One ad emphasized that there were 3000 seats available, suggesting that Helen was drawing considerable audiences. At age thirteen, a clip of Helen preaching is part of a newsreel film. At age fifteen, a five-inch ad announces that Helen will conduct a wedding ceremony. Since some churches ordained young girls, such ordination gave them the right to officiate at weddings.

Her claim to preach the gospel “by inspiration” was a fairly standard claim of girl evangelists—and revivalists in general, young or old, male or female. Helen also attributed her ability to the fact that she had “received the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” which places her in the circle of Pentecostalism.

Helen was sometimes accompanied by Lois Mays, a “singing evangelist,” who was a year old than Helen. Helen travelled with a manager and her grandmother.

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