National Women’s History Month: Honoring Evangeline Booth

As we wrap up the Celebration of National Women’s History Month and how their roles impact The Salvation Army, we end by honoring “Evangeline Booth.”

Eva “Evangeline” Cory Booth (1865-1950):
Eva Cory Booth, the seventh child of William and Catherine Booth, was born on Christmas day of 1865. It was the same year that her parents had responded to God’s call to minister to the poverty-stricken people in the East End of London.

Although Eva was often featured as a singer or musician at her father’s meetings, she had to wait until she was fifteen to wear the uniform of a sergeant and put on the Salvation Army bonnet designed by her mother. She would later influence thousands with her impassioned sermons at Great Western Hall.

Looking for a way to get closer to others in the East End, she put on a tattered dress and joined the flower girls on the steps of the fountain in Picadilly Circus. Later she would enthrall audiences in this attire as she gave her dramatic presentation billed as “Miss Booth in Rags.”

Eva was convinced by her father that it was not in her best interests to marry. Not to be denied motherhood, however, she adopted and raised four children.

In 1896, Booth ordered Eva to Canada-a great responsibility which she handled well. That same year, she traveled to New York and with her persuasive oratory; she kept most of the officers from joining her brother Ballington when he formed his own organization, the Volunteers of America.

In 1904 she was given command in the United States. At this time, on the advice of friends, she changed her name to Evangeline. She was an excellent athlete and played several instruments. In fact, many of her songs are sung in the Army today. Her dramatic ability was often compared to Sarah Bernhardt.

As National Commander, she was largely responsible for The Salvation Army’s volunteers who served as chaplains and “Doughnut Girls” during World War I. During her 30 years as America’s commander, she instituted many changes, including the division of the country into four territories.

On November 11, 1934, Evangeline became the Army’s fourth general. She left America on the highest crest of love and popularity she had ever known, and retained her American citizenship. Originally published by www.salvationarmyusa.org

“There is no reward equal to that of doing the most good to the most people in the most need.” .– Evangeline Booth, 1919

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