Skip to Main Content

Reverend Talmage: Topics in Chronicling America

In the late 1800s, Rev. Talmage became the first "money-making" American preacher. This guide provides access to materials related to “Reverend Talmage” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Sketch of Reverend Talmage at his desk. April 22, 1902. The Semi-Weekly Messenger (Wilmington, NC), Image 6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Despite Rev. Talmage’s blatant disregard for pressing issues like hunger and poverty, the firebrand preacher ravages the countryside with his fire and brimstone speeches, making him America’s “most famous pulpit orator” in history. Newspapers contest Talmage as both wildly brilliant and scandalous, but the press unanimously agrees “the world will never see another Talmage” after he passes away in 1902. Learn more about the original “money-making preacher”. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1884-1894 Reverend Thomas De Witt Talmage becomes famous after being syndicated in national newspapers.
1894 Talmage resigns from his position at Brooklyn Talmage and it quickly goes bankrupt; papers suspect his financial motivation.
October 19, 1895 Talmage takes a position with the largest Presbyterian Church in the nation, the First Presbyterian Church of Washington, DC.
March 10, 1899 After some political problems within the church, Talmage resigns from his position at First Presbyterian Church.
1899-1902 Talmage continues giving sermons, preaching against intellectual heavyweights such as Sigmund Freud.
April 12, 1902 Rev. Talmage passes away.