Explaining the Phenomenon

Thomas A. Robinson and Lanette D. Ruff

in Out of the Mouths of Babes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199790876
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919192 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

Explaining the Phenomenon

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The 1920s was the golden age of the girl evangelist phenomenon. A primary reason for this was the dominant flapper in this period, for which girl evangelists presented a stark and curious contrast. However curious such girls were, they fit a decade noted for the strange and the novel. Also of importance was the role of Aimee Semple McPherson, who forged new avenues for women preachers and who trained even young children for evangelism. The popularity of Uldine Utley would have sparked some interest in preaching in other young girls, somewhat creating a copy-cat movement of girls into preaching careers. The renewal of revivalism by Pentecostals provided a ready platform for the young girls. As well, the general interest in society at large in child stars would have also provided some easy acceptance of the girl preachers. The role of the press was equally important, giving a nation-wide spotlight that the girls would not have otherwise had. Finally, the chapter deals with the survival of the phenomenon into the 1930s, a decade starkly different from the 1920s, when most of the novelty of the 1920s disappeared. Finally, comments are made on the significance of the phenomenon of girl evangelists.

Keywords: the roaring twenties; flappers; Aimee Semple McPherson; Uldine Utley; 1920s; 1930s; the press

Chapter.  5160 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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