Who was the first British woman General of the Salvation Army?


In 1934 the High Council elected Evangeline Booth to lead the Salvation Army, the first woman General.

Eva, as she was known to her family, was the daughter of William and Catherine Booth, the founders of The Christian Mission which became the Salvation Army in 1878.

Evangeline was steeped in the work of the Salvation Army and preached her first sermon when she was so small she had to stand on a chair to be seen.

Aged fifteen she started selling “The War Cry” and was a full time officer by the age of twenty one years.

She was regarded as a trouble-shooter by her father and was often sent to sort out tricky situations as the Army’s message of strict temperance was less than popular with many of the crowds encountered during their mission.

In 1896, Booth sent his daughter to the USA where one of his sons had become involved in a breakaway group and, having dealt with the rebels, Evangeline took charge of the Salvation Army in America and later in Canada.

In 1898 during the Klondyke gold rush she organised a corps of nurses with whom she rolled up her sleeves and joined in the work.

As General, Evangeline travelled extensively  promoting the work of the Salvation Army which expanded considerably under her leadership during the later nineteen thirties.

She was replaced as General in 1939 and returned to New York where she had attained American citizenship. She spent the remainder of her life in America where she was held in high esteem and died there aged eighty four.

image credit: Bain News Service, publisher, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons