- Prominent American Religious - Biographies By Last Name
Richard Allen (1760-1831) was an influential black minister who established the first black denomination in the United States.
Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was the preeminent leader of American Methodism after the Revolutionary War.
Orestes Brownson (1803-1876) was a public intellectual who defended Catholicism and its compatibility with American Society.
John Carroll (1735-1815) served as the first Catholic bishop in the United States and helped expand the Catholic Church domestically.
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) was a prominent labor leader who fought on behalf of American farm workers.
Charles Coughlin (1891-1979) was a Catholic "radio priest," who was controversial for his anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi views leading up to World War II.
Crosby, Frances "Fanny"
Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) wrote thousands of famous hymns, including "Blessed Assurance," "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross," and "To God Be the Glory."
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was a Catholic activist, known for co-founding the Catholic Worker movement, leading anti-war and anti-nuclear proliferation movements, and promoting assistance to the poor.
Eddy, Mary Baker
Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) founded the Christian Science movement.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is the most influential theologian in American religious history and helped start the First Great Awakening.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) promoted Transcendentalist thought, which emphasized experiencing God through lived experience and intuition.
Charles Finney (1792-1875) was a prominent evangelical and revivalist during the Second Great Awakening.
Fuller, Charles Edward
Charles Fuller (1887-1968) was a prominent evangelist on the popular evangelical radio show "The Old Fashioned Revival Hour" and founded Fuller Theological Seminary.
James Gibbons (1834-1921) was an American cardinal archbishop who guided the Catholic Church through historic changes and mediated relations between American Catholics and the Vatican.
Graham, William "Billy"
Billy Graham (1918-present) was the preeminent evangelist of the second half of the 20th century, preaching to millions in the United States and abroad.
Heschel, Abraham Joshua
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was an important Jewish theologian and social activist in the 20th century.
Hubbard, L. Ron
L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) founded Scientology, a controversial new religious movement.
John Hughes (1797-1864) was a New York archbishop, who oversaw growth in the American Catholic Church due to Irish immigration and advocated Catholic parochial education.
Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was one of the first American missionaries to travel to Burma, inspiring other Protestants to engage in overseas missionary work.
King, Martin Luther
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was an African-American Baptist minister and civil rights leader who combined Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy and Christian love to fight racism.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Catholic monk and prolific writer, who denounced social inequality and opened up interfaith dialogue.
William Miller (1782-1849) predicted that the return of Christ would occur in 1843, garnering both religious fervor and criticism.
Moody, Dwight L.
Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) was a 19th century Protestant revivalist, whose popularity led to the Moody Bible Institute and the growth of fundamentalism.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) was an influential theologian who advocated social justice and critiqued aspects of theological liberalism. He also is credited with the Serenity Prayer.
Ockenga, Harold John
Harold John Ockenga (1905-1985) led the new evangelical movement by helping co-found Fuller Seminary, the National Association of Evangelicals, and Christianity Today.
The American writer Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) depicted fictional Southern characters confronting grace in depressing circumstances.
of Constantinople, Athenagoras I
Athenagoras (1886-1972) was an important archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America and later served as Patriarch of Constantinople until his death in 1972.
William Penn (1644-1718) was a Quaker activist, religious tolerance advocate and founder of the Pennsylvania colony.
Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) was the main founding theologian of the Social Gospel.
Russell, Charles Taze
Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) sparked the religious tradition later known as the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Ryan, John A.
John A. Ryan (1869-1945) was a Catholic priest and moral theologian who fought for economic justice. He helped inspire and support Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs.
Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) was a famous evangelical apologist who denounced the spread of relativism in modern society.
Junipero Serra (1713-1784) was a Spanish Franciscan priest who strengthened Spanish control of California and helped bring Catholic faith to the New World.
Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) was a popular Catholic leader, who appeared on popular radio programs ("Catholic Hour") and television programs ("Life is Worth Living").
Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a controversial and influential new religious movement in America.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) was a women’s rights advocate who pioneered feminist theology through her controversial biblical commentary known as the The Woman’s Bible.
Sunday, William "Billy"
Billy Sunday (1862-1935) was a prominent evangelist who led revivals, appealed for a prohibition of alcohol, and strengthened conservative Protestantism.
Tillich, Paul Johannes
Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was a German American theologian and public intellectual who connected Christian faith to modern culture.
Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) oversaw the completion of the Second Vatican Council and authored Humanae Vitae, an important and controversial document in modern Catholicism.
Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was an important leader of the Methodist movement, the younger brother of John Wesley, and an influential hymn writer.
John Wesley (1703-1791) founded the Methodist movement.
White, Ellen Gould
Ellen Gould White (1827-1915) was the co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She promoted Saturday as the Christian Sabbath and advocated biblically-based health initiatives.
White, James Springer
James White (1821-1881) was the co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church along with his wife, Ellen Gould White.
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was the leading preacher and revivalist of the First Great Awakening in the American colonies.
Frances Willard (1839-1898) was a social activist who promoted temperance, women’s suffrage, labor reform and home-centered family life.
Roger Williams (1603-1683) was a theologian, advocate for the separation of civil and church authority, and founder of Rhode Island.
John Winthrop (1588-1649) was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was famous for describing the colony as a "city on a hill."
John Witherspoon (1723-1794) was a Presbyterian minister, president of the College of New Jersey, and the only clergy signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
Malcolm X (1925-1965) was an active minister and spokesman for the Nation of Islam from the mid-1950s until 1964.
Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) called the Second Vatican Council, one of the most significant events in the modern Catholic Church.
Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918-2008) was the founder of Transcendental Meditation and a popular religious figure of the 1960s and 1970s.
Brigham Young (1801-1877) succeeded Joseph Smith as Mormon president. He led a Mormon exodus to Utah and helped expand the church to 150,000 members.