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Aimee Semple McPhersonDownload nowEnlargeShow similar images

Title: Aimee Semple McPherson

Description: Aimee Semple McPherson (AKA: Sister Aimee; 1890-1944), Canadian-American evangelist, delivering one of her passionate sermons at the Angelus Temple, established in 1923 in the Echo Park district; McPherson, an itinerant Pentecostal preacher, who advertized herself as "The World's Most Pulchritudinous Evangelist" headed what she called the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; the blonde-haired revivalist arrived in Los Angeles in 1917 in a broken-down jalopy, two small children, her mother, Minnie (Ma) Kennedy, and less than $100, but, within five years she had raised enough funds from her evangelistic tent shows to erect the $1.5 million Angelus Temple that seated 5,300 persons, with a $75,000 radio studio, a Cradle Roll Chapel for babies, a lonely hearts club, a Miracle Room for discarded crutches and braces left behind by those Aimee had reportedly "healed," and where avid followers filled the temple three times a day seven times a week, pouring a fortune into the coffers of Sister Aimee, making her a millionaire many times over (she maintained a luxurious home and several limousines with liveried chauffeurs); McPherson's image was considerably sullied when, on May 18 1926, she was reported missing from an Ocean Park beach, but turned up on June 22, 1926 in Douglas, Arizona, to claim that she had been kidnapped and held for ransom in a small Mexican border town (by a man Sister Aimee only knew as "Steve," who, she said, sadistically burned her with cigars, and told her that if she did not pay him a half million dollars, he would sell her to a Mexican bandit and sex fiend named Filipe whose obsessive appetite for bosomy blondes was reportedly insatiable), a tale disproved when confidantes disclosed the fact that she had run off with Kenneth G. Ormiston, the married director of her radio station for a secret tryst; Aimee fought this fairly substantiated allegation in court (she and her mother were charged with obstruction of justice), where she cried out against her prosecutors: "I have waged unrelenting battle against the bat-like demons from Hell and they fear me and revile me as the Devil hates Holy Water...I am being crucified by the very bats of hell, who have gone the limit of perfidy, brutal, conscienceless, hardly human. They have gone to the extent of the mummer's art in 'making up' women to look like me and pose in questionable places as Sister Aimee..." all charges were later dropped against her and her mother, but the evangelist's career went into a slow decline thereafter; McPherson was profiled in the role of Florence "Faith" Fallon enacted by Barbara Stanwyck in Frank Capra's 1931 film The Miracle Woman, and in the role of Sister Sharon Falconer, enacted by Jean Simmons in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry; activists; affairs; clergy; evangelism over the airways; evangelists; Jazz Age; Pentecostal preachers; radio operators; religion;

Location: Los Angeles, California, 1925

Keywords: revivalism, revivalists, Roaring Twenties, scandals

Orientation: Portrait

Dimensions: 1200 x 1458 (1.75 MPixels) (1.22)

Print Size: 10.2 x 12.3 cm; 4.0 x 4.9 inches

File Size: 5.01 MB (5,254,858 Bytes)

Resolution: 300 x 300 dpi

Color Depth: 16.7 million (24 BitsPerPixel)

Compression: None

Image Number: 0000096124

Source: Jay Robert Nash Collection

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