Norman V. Peale

From Ohio History Central
Peale, Norman Vincent.jpg
Norman Vincent Peale, half-length portrait, seated at desk, facing front

Norman Vincent Peale was born on May 31, 1898, in Bowersville, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and became one of the most influential ministers of the twentieth century.

In 1922, Peale was ordained as a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as pastor in churches in Berkeley, Rhode Island (1922?24), Brooklyn, New York (1924?27), and Syracuse, New York (1927?32). In 1932, he left the Methodist Episcopal Church and was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church. In that same year, Peale became minister of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. He remained at the church for the next fifty-two years. Under his leadership, the congregation grew from six hundred to five thousand parishioners.

Peale became known for his dynamic and energetic sermons. He preached an optimistic message that many Americans accepted during such trying events as the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement. His sermons were broadcast on the radio and shown on television all across the United States. Peale also published forty-six books. His most popular book was called The Power of Positive Thinking. Peale encouraged his readers and listeners to identify their goals and to maintain a positive outlook so that they could and would achieve them. Peale believed people could succeed in overcoming the most trying of circumstances by being positive. To spread his message further, Peale began to publish a weekly magazine in 1945. Guideposts printed positive stories of people achieving their dreams. In 2005, four million people subscribed to the magazine. It was the thirteenth most popular journal in the United States. At the height of his popularity, more than 750,000 people received Peale's sermons through the mail every month. Norman Vincent Peale's radio program, "The Art of Living," was among the most popular broadcasts in America for almost fifty years.

Peale died on December 24, 1993.

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