Wednesday, August 21, 2013
RPPC Helen Campbell, Girl Evangelist, 1927
This is a Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) of Helen Campbell. The inscription on front says "Yours in His service" the Evangelist Helen Campbell. Someone has written a date on back, "October 27, 1927". It has an AZO stampbox on back with 4 shaded in squares in each corner, which lends a little credence to the date written on back. This was a formal portrait, there were probably many, many copies made, and some were made into postcards.
This is a girl who definitely had her 15 minutes of fame. There is a site called www.girlevangelists.org, and Helen Campbell is listed there along with 100s of others. Apparently child evangelism was a big thing in the 1920s. There is a short article about her - she was born in 1915, started preaching at age 9, was associated with the Pentecostal movement, was active in the San Francisco & Oakland, CA areas at least, and apparently drew large crowds. I also found a couple of news articles and advertisements about her. When this picture was made she would have been 12 years old, and more or less at the height of her fame.
I have no idea what happened to her. I had never heard of her before I came across this postcard, and I don't know what she did in later life.
You're only a child prodigy when you're a child. At a certain age, you're not much different than anyone else who may be gifted in whatever area you're a prodigy in. I have a feeling this is what happened to Helen Campbell - at some point she was no longer a child evangelist, she was just an evangelist.
I could find nothing about her personal life, other than she traveled with her grandmother. It is even possible that she's still living, she'd be in her late 90s now.