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Are You a Man? Then Read This

by Ronald R Johnson (

In January 1908, Lloyd Douglas began a series of Sunday afternoon lectures designed specifically for men. The Lancaster Eagle reported him saying that “there are many men in the city who have nowhere to go on Sunday afternoon, and who would be glad to avail themselves of the opportunity to spend an hour hearing good music and a sermon-lecture of a popular nature.” If this seems unlikely, bear in mind that most public places were closed on Sundays, and this was the dead of winter. The Gazette added Douglas’s suggestion that there were some men “who may find it more convenient to attend a church service on Sunday afternoon than at the regular hours of service, and who might be more inclined to attend a men’s meeting than one designed for a mixed audience.” The day before the first meeting, the Eagle said that there would be a large male chorus led by “Prof. E. R. Barrington, the noted baritone of Columbus.”

To help spread the word about these meetings, Douglas had the following cards printed, which were handed out to men on the street. The first page was really a half-page, and the man to whom it was handed was invited to flip open the page:

Although it’s hard to believe that anyone would take the time to do this, apparently some men did, perhaps because they were intrigued. They stopped “within” (probably the church) and were given a flyer describing the upcoming meetings:

Then they went outside and handed the “Are You a Man?” card to the next male who passed by.

(This was just the kind of thing Douglas loved, by the way: one person not affiliated with the church handing an invitation to someone equally a stranger to the church. He used something similar years later in his novel, Green Light, when Dean Harcourt of Trinity Cathedral would have a counseling session with a woman who was not a churchgoer, then, on her way out, ask her to introduce the next person who had come for counseling.)

This passing-of-the-cards technique, although interesting, was not the primary way that Douglas got the word out; he also prepared a number of press releases in the days leading up to the meetings, and the local papers ran them. He doesn’t seem to have run any paid advertisements; he didn’t need to. The articles raised enough interest on their own.

When the first meeting was held on Sunday, January 5, 1908, at 3:15 pm at the First English Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Ohio, the Eagle reported it as “the largest assemblage of men ever seen in a Lancaster church edifice… beyond all expectations, the seating capacity of the church auditorium being overtaxed, even the gallery of the church which has not been occupied for many months had to be thrown open and was well filled… It was an inspiring sight to see such a large audience of intellectual men and thrilling to hear the songs as they were rendered by that multitude of male voices.” Another paper (presumably the Gazette) declared the event “a great success” and counted “about four hundred men in attendance.”

Douglas told the story of Esau and his brother Jacob from a man’s perspective. He called Jacob “a mama’s boy.”

“To me,” he said, “one of the most unfortunate mistakes parents can make in their attitude toward their children is to single out one or two and to treat them as favorites.

“I have heard it said many a time, and so have you:

“‘Yes, Jimmy is mama’s boy. Johnny and Billy and Annie and Susie all run after their father but Jimmy is mama’s boy, ain’t you Jimmy?’

“And Jimmy replies truthfully and awkwardly that the allegation is correct.”

“I see a future for Jimmy that is neither bright nor dim – just a sweet twilight. People will say of Jimmy to their own sons:

“‘See here, Thomas, why don’t you keep clean, and play in the house, and say “Yes, ma’am,” and “If you please” like Jimmy does?’

“And so all the boys will come to hate Jimmy…”

Jacob’s brother Esau, on the other hand, “was a born sportsman. As a boy he wandered the fields with his bow and knife. No tent for him. He belonged to the sunshine, and he meant to live in it.”

And with this down-to-earth introduction, Douglas told the story of Jacob cheating his brother out of his birthright. I can’t say I’ve ever heard the story told the way Douglas told it, but it must’ve held the attention of the four hundred men sitting shoulder-to-shoulder that day, for the following week one of the papers said that the church “lacked seating capacity for the large audience that attended,” and another paper reported “one hundred more” in attendance than the previous week.

His messages continued to defy prediction. From the story of Judas Iscariot, for example, he extracted the unusual question, “What do you think about when you’re alone?… What are you thinking about when you take that long walk by yourself out into the country and sit down on some hilltop to survey the landscape?” In reply to his own question, he said, “Show me a stenographic report of five minutes’ meditation up there, and I believe I can tell you what kind of a man you are.”

From the New Testament story of Ananias and Sapphira, he ended up talking about what happens when you let your insurance policy lapse, and then he used that as a metaphor to explain why he thought deathbed confessions were useless.

The fourth and final Sunday he preached on “The Failure of a Loan and Trust Company,” which turned out to be about the Parable of the Talents.

As one of the local papers remarked, “Men of every church in the city have united heartily in these meetings and there have been many men in attendance who have no regular church homes. Perhaps it has been the stirring music, perhaps the peculiar nature of the addresses, perhaps the mere novelty of a service distinctly for men – that has brought forth all this enthusiasm, but whatever it is, the audiences are so large that it has become quite a problem to accommodate them in the church…”

Another unusual feature of the series was the fact that each sermon was printed in full, a day or two later, by one of the local papers.

After the fourth week, as the newspapers noted, Douglas stopped the afternoon meetings but promised to continue the series “at the regular Sunday evening services to which everybody is invited. During the month of February he will deliver sermon-lectures on the theme, ‘Mistakes of Great Men,’ and it is safe to predict that the church will be filled at each service.”

The newspapers reported that he was, indeed, “greeted with a full house” the next Sunday evening, and later in the month “the church was crowded to its utmost capacity” for the evening service – this despite the fact that the United Churchmen’s League of Lancaster, using the momentum caused by Douglas’s afternoon meetings, held a series of its own afternoon lectures for men in the city hall auditorium throughout the month of February. Speakers from around the region (Columbus, Dayton) were invited, and attendance was good at those events, too.

What’s significant about this is that Douglas’s afternoon lectures raised enough interest to sustain not only his own evening services but also a continuation of the men’s meetings, even in his absence. But no one forgot the role he played in getting the men’s meetings started, and when he was invited back to give another lecture at the United Churchmen’s League a few weeks later, the minister who introduced him called him “the godfather” of the afternoon men’s meetings. (This means something very different in our day, thanks to Francis Ford Coppola. They weren’t comparing Douglas to a mafia boss; they were recognizing his important role in getting the meetings started.)

The United Churchman’s League meetings quickly became focused on civic and moral (rather than religious) issues, and when Douglas addressed them a few weeks later, he used the opportunity to push for a more systematic board of charities for the city. The newspaper accounts say that he was interrupted numerous times by applause, and when he asked, at the conclusion, how many would support the board of charities, they gave him a standing ovation.

All of this shows how highly Douglas was regarded in Lancaster by Spring 1908, but there is one more subtle display of admiration that he did not fail to miss. While the “Are You a Man?” card is pasted into the inside front cover of his 1908-1909 scrapbook, he gave the scrapbook a wonderful symmetry by pasting this advertisement to the inside back cover. It was from a local shoe store:

For a free PDF copy of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

A Sermon That Made a Difference

by Ronald R Johnson (

Douglas had only been in Lancaster, Ohio, for a year when he was honored with an unusual preaching opportunity. The city had a Ministerial Association through which the local Protestant ministers kept in touch with each other and cooperated in certain ways. Each year on Thanksgiving, they held special Union services in a few designated churches around town. Attendance was usually good, considering the fact that the members of the city’s many churches all gathered at only two or three places, chosen in advance by the Association. Because the occasion was Thanksgiving, a special collection was taken, and the monies received were split among the participating congregations.

In 1906, Douglas was selected to preach at the largest of the three host churches, and newspaper accounts say that the place was crowded. The message Douglas delivered that morning made a difference: it altered (at least slightly) the history of Lancaster.

Preaching on the text “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” Douglas asked the congregation whether they were Jesus’ “friends.” He dwelt on that question a while, making sure heads were nodding all around the room, then drove home the point that friendship with Christ, who gave his life for us, must manifest itself in “a keen desire to help others.”

There must have been gasps of disbelief as he gave the following description of their annual Thanksgiving Union service:

“We have come together in times past to eulogize ourselves for our prosperity, and readjust our homemade haloes… and brag and boast about what all we have to be thankful for, after the order of the Pharisee’s Thanksgiving prayer, ‘Lord, I thank thee that I am not as other men are!’ We have even been so stupidly indifferent to the great tasks that belong to us, that we have divided our pitiful little Thanksgiving offering of nickels and dimes among the various church treasurers for them to use for their respective poor; and the church treasurers, for the most part deeming their own treasuries to be the most poverty-stricken creatures in town, have emptied this treasure into the coffers of their own churches, where it gently and silently evaporated into a calm, sweet nothingness…

“It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. Christ wants and has a right to expect something better of his friends.

“If you have a thankful heart this day, reveal it by your sacrifice. Then let this handsome gift, amassed, initiate some fund that will put us on record for having this day, as friends of Christ, remembered in gratitude the boundlessness of his love…”

All of this was prelude. Now came the pitch: it was time to build a hospital in Lancaster.

“Every few days we are confronted with a problem, gigantic and soul-searching. A man is severely wounded. Maybe his home is not appointed to meet the exigencies that have arisen. He must be subjected to an operation. He must receive the most careful subsequent attention. One of two courses lies open. Either he must run the gauntlet with the pitiable circumstances in his humble home… or else the other alternative will be chosen and he is taken on a cot in the baggage car to Columbus for hospital treatment. And if he has not all the odds in his favor, in either case he hasn’t had a fighting chance.”

Douglas went on to argue that it made as much sense from a civic as from a religious perspective to build a hospital in town rather than shipping people off to Columbus for medical attention. He added:

“I believe that the highest adoration to God is rendered by the man who accompanies his ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow’ with a check on his bank account. I believe that a man can express more real, conscientious Christianity with his pocketbook than with his prayer book.”

As one of the local papers remarked, “So effective were his words that at the conclusion of his address Mr. James T Pickering [Lancaster’s Postmaster General] arose and moved that the day’s collection be used as the nucleus of a hospital fund. The motion met with practically unanimous approval and the offertory which followed aggregated over $100.” These were 1906 dollars, bear in mind. One online calculator estimates that it would be $3018.84 in 2021 dollars. By comparison, the collection at the other two Union services totaled $4 ($12 by today’s values).

In 1907, the “Park Street Hospital” opened in a private home in the 200 block of Park Street. It was not unusual for cities of that size to set up their first hospitals in houses. The city where I live (Kalamazoo, Michigan) did the same thing : Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo began in 1889 in a private residence, and what is now Bronson Hospital did the same thing in 1900. (See Jacqueline L Wylie and Anna M Stryd, Bronson Women and the School of Nursing: Journeys Through One Hundred Years (Kalamazoo: Alumni Association of Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing, 2005), pp 4, 9-10.)

Others had pushed for a hospital in Lancaster prior to November 1906, but Douglas’s sermon helped move the project along. Most of us never get a chance to make history, even on the local level, but Douglas did. And it started as nothing more than an opportunity to preach. It tells us something about Douglas that he saw larger possibilities in that invitation.

For a free PDF copy of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

Dear Valentine: Douglas and the Lutheran Observer

by Ronald R Johnson (

One of the biggest boosts to Douglas’s career as both a minister and an author was the invitation to contribute, on a regular basis, to The Lutheran Observer, a weekly newspaper published in Baltimore from 1840 to 1915. The invitation came from the Rev. Dr. Milton Valentine, who was editor of the Observer from 1899 to 1915.

In a letter to Douglas dated June 25, 1906, Valentine described himself as “intently scanning the horizon” for new writers. Douglas had sent him something before, apparently, and he wrote to Douglas on June 2oth asking him to contribute again. Douglas responded quickly. The essay he sent pleased Valentine so much that he wrote to Douglas on the 25th asking him to be a regular contributor:

“The very first communication you sent me showed promise of great aptness for this kind of work, and I think I have not observed a more marked development in gifts for it than in your case. Your style is clean, clear and direct. You not only think clearly but you have the power of finely and forcibly expressing your thoughts. The Church is in great need of just such talents as yours…”

That was all Douglas needed to hear. For the next five years, Douglas’s articles spiced up the Observer, tackling controversial issues with boldness, imagination, and a powerful command of the English language. “There is not another man in our Church who could have written that article of yours,” Valentine said on another occasion (October 11, 1911).

Milton Valentine was a godsend for Douglas: full of praise and encouragement while giving Douglas a free hand. Although the Observer seems to have had a wide circulation within the denomination, Valentine didn’t micromanage, even when Douglas spoke frankly on hot topics (which he did regularly). Douglas’s articles in the Observer made him a rising star within the Lutheran Church in America. These publications, and his many speaking engagements around the country, put his name on many people’s lips within the denomination.

For a free PDF copy of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

Moving Up In the World

by Ronald R Johnson (

When the young Lloyd Douglas and his wife Besse moved from North Manchester, Indiana to Lancaster, Ohio in the summer of 1905, it seemed like they had stepped into a larger world. The towns were a little over 200 miles apart, but the life that Lancaster offered them had many more opportunities.

For one thing, the people in North Manchester had known Douglas as a boy; despite his drive and energy, it was hard for him to recreate himself. Lancaster gave him a fresh start, and he took advantage of it.

North Manchester was a town of 2,500 people; Lancaster had 10,000 residents, and it was a little less than 40 miles southeast of Columbus, the state capital. Although the map below shows how the area looks today, with highways that didn’t exist at the time, we can still see that it was a more populous area with many more social opportunities than Douglas had had in Indiana.

Speaking of social opportunities, when Douglas was installed as pastor at the First English Lutheran Church in Lancaster, the guest speaker was Frank Garland, Synod President and pastor of a large Lutheran Church in Dayton. Douglas did a fine job of networking while in Lancaster, but Garland himself ended up being an extremely helpful contact, as we will see later.

One family in particular formed lifelong bonds with Douglas: the Vorys Family. Arthur, the father, had an important position in state government, and his four sons learned a lot from Douglas in their catechism classes with him. Arthur went on to form a law firm with three other partners, and his son Webb Vorys took leadership of the firm a generation later. The firm is still active today.

During his time at Lancaster, Douglas was approached by Milton Valentine, the editor of the Lutheran Observer, to write articles for that paper. Douglas didn’t just honor the editor’s request; he wrote articles that stood out.

While in Lancaster, Besse gave birth to their two daughters, Betty and Virginia.

Douglas ramped up his public speaking, crisscrossing the region to give graduation addresses and other speeches. At his own church, he started an innovative Men’s Group that brought in a younger crowd. He spoke at the nearby YMCA (when it was still largely a religious institution) and became a favorite among the young men there. He was even instrumental in getting the city of Lancaster to create its first hospital.

It was just the kind of place that gave Douglas a chance to show what he could do. Over the next several posts, I’ll go into more detail about his accomplishments there.

For a free PDF of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

The Lloyd C Douglas Papers at the Bentley Historical Library

by Ronald R Johnson (

After Lloyd Douglas died, his daughters donated 6 boxes of his private papers to the Bentley Historical Library on the campus of the University of Michigan. Douglas had spent several happy years as senior minister of the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor, a church which includes within its edifice a chapel in his honor; so the University of Michigan seemed like a logical place for his papers to be kept in archive.

My own exploration of those papers began with Boxes 5 and 6, which contain his scrapbooks. Here is the cover of the earliest scrapbook in the collection. He originally used it for notes he took during his “Liturgies” course while in seminary but then turned it into a scrapbook.

Douglas’s scrapbooks are a wealth of information. They contain mostly newspaper clippings of his sermons, and these are very detailed, giving us the next best thing to the sermon transcript itself. They also contain letters, programs, newsletters, newspaper accounts of wedding ceremonies and funerals at which he officiated and speeches he gave at high school graduations and Veterans events; and he even pasted in the articles he published in various periodicals. There is one page of train tickets, giving just a sample of the many trips he took for speaking engagements. (See the left page of the following two-page spread):

We also have the letters of “call” he received from each of his congregations, including the salary and other compensation offered. Obviously, these scrapbooks are rich in information.

Boxes 1 through 2 contain his extensive correspondence with his daughters and with his editor at Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company. Here is a letter he sent his oldest daughter Betty from a hotel in Chicago in 1926:

These files mostly cover the years after Douglas became a bestselling author, from the early 1930s to the end of his life in 1951. In some respects they are more insightful than the scrapbooks, since they give us his unguarded thoughts conveyed to people he trusted. But they also don’t give us the context quite as nicely as the scrapbooks do, and we often have to infer what is happening from the clues within the letters themselves.

Box 3 contains sermons and speeches. Even though his scrapbooks give us detailed newspaper reports of his sermons, Box 3 includes actual sermons. Douglas always typed out his sermons on Saturday afternoon, then delivered them extemporaneously on Sunday. Here’s an example of a sermon he preached in Boston in 1931. At this point in his career, he used little pages that would fit in his hand, but the punch holes show that he kept them in a small three-ring binder.

Box 4 has files pertaining to his most famous novel, The Robe, as well as miscellaneous items, including day planners and small notebooks.

Here are the chapter summaries he had in mind for a travel book he never wrote:

I’ve spent years studying these boxes (my first visit was in 2005), and I still have a lot more to see. But now that I’ve given you the overview, in future blog posts I can share with you some of the things that I have learned from these sources.

For a free PDF copy of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

The Musical Side of Lloyd C Douglas

by Ronald R Johnson (

Lloyd Douglas was not only a minister and writer but also a musician. While he was in college and divinity school, he earned money through a number of part-time jobs, one of them being church organist. And when he was a student pastor in Des Moines, Iowa, during his last year of seminary, this notice was printed in the local paper:

“A pleasant surprise was experienced by many of the members of St. John’s Lutheran church yesterday morning, when on entering the sanctuary they found themselves confronted by a large chorus choir, whose organization has been quietly under way for some time. When Rev. L. C. Douglass, [sic] assistant pastor of the church, came to the city this spring it was hinted that inasmuch as he was a trained musician the musical end of the religious services would in the future be greatly strengthened. Those who expected this have not been disappointed. The new choir as organized by Mr. Douglass has fifteen voices and more are being added.”

During his first year of his first pastorate, in North Manchester, Indiana, the church newsletter ran this piece:

“We need a dozen good singers to lead the music in Sunday-school. We also need some violins, cornets, and clarinets, to give strength and vigor to our songs. Speak to your musical friend about it.”

Note that this was just for the Sunday School; not for the service. He was even more serious about the music for the service. A few weeks later, this was included in the church newsletter:

“You may have noticed that no announcements have been made from the pulpit for several weeks. We are happy that our conditions are such now that permit us to worship through the whole service without a single issue proposing itself to distract our minds from our devotion. On the first page of this paper may be found the announcement of every service for the week. By looking over this ‘Calendar’ occasionally, you will be able to note all the coming meetings of the church auxiliaries, and remember them more distinctly than if they had been read on Sunday from the pulpit.”

This was a practice that Douglas would insist upon throughout his ministerial career: no announcements during the worship service. The reason for this was his belief that, once people stepped inside the sanctuary, the architecture, the music, and everything that was said from the pulpit should draw their spirits upward. Nothing should be allowed to bring them crashing down abruptly – certainly nothing as trifling as an announcement about the upcoming Bake Sale.

Of all the places he ministered, the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor was the one in which he most nearly achieved his ideal.

First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor

He was able to secure the services of Earl V Moore, the University of Michigan’s Organist-in-Residence, as the Music Director of First Congregational Church, and together they created a service of worship that people called “symphonic.” He tried to describe it in the book version of Wanted: A Congregation (Chicago: Christian Century Press, 1920). Here is just a brief passage in which he talks about the opening of the service (pp. 206-207):

“That organ prelude… should be one of the most significant events of the service. People come in from the racket of traffic on the streets. They have been shouted at, and assaulted with all manner of raucous and discordant noises, all the week. They should be given a chance to relax and consult their own souls. Not only should they be given this opportunity, but they should be furnished with an incentive! They ought not be overpowered with a great noise – a thunderous blare of metallic clamor. This organ selection should begin with an impassioned tug at the heart-strings. By easy stages, it should woo the spirit up on higher ground, growing in volume, almost imperceptibly, until, near its close, it seems to be building up toward some definite action. The people must be filled with a desire to express themselves.

“Without a pause… the organist will modulate into the score of the opening hymn. Just think of the effect of it… the organ piling harmony upon harmony, higher, richer, fuller, until in one great, triumphant chord, it peals out the majestic measures of ‘O God, the Rock of Ages’ or ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ or ‘Our God Our Help in Ages Past.’ And the choir comes to its feet, and the congregation rises as one man – and then they sing!”

He had much more to say on this subject, but this is enough for tonight. No wonder the faculty and staff – and even the students – filled his Ann Arbor church to capacity. I know I’d wait in line to get into a service like that.

For a free PDF copy of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

The Importance of Sportsmanship within the Church

by Ronald R Johnson (

Quotable quotes from Lloyd C. Douglas

From a farewell sermon entitled, “Five Years of Akron,” delivered at the First Congregational Church of Akron on October 31, 1926. (He was on his way to a pastorate in Los Angeles.) This is reprinted in Living Faith, pp. 77-92.

He’s summarizing some of the things he tried to teach them during his time as their pastor:

I have talked considerably about the value of Christian sportsmanship. I saw no good in churches that quarrel – either within their own ranks or with others outside their gates. I proclaimed that whatever spirit it was that made people mean, and critical, and captious, and fault-finding, and petulant – you could be sure it was not the Holy Spirit; that if their lives were haunted with the shades of outworn fears and inexcusable ignorances and moldy superstitions – you could be sure their grisly ghost was not the Holy Ghost.

For a free PDF copy of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below:

Douglas’s Long Road to Fame

by Ronald R Johnson (

Lloyd C. Douglas self-published his first book-length work of fiction in 1905, but it took almost thirty years for him to become known as an author of fiction. Through all the intervening years, he produced a steady stream of non-fiction articles, books, and booklets, as well as writing morning and evening sermons each Sunday and speeches during the week. (Douglas always wrote out his sermons and speeches even though he delivered them as if they were extemporaneous.)

That first work of fiction was More Than a Prophet, and it was unlike anything else he ever published. The book abounded in dialogues between angelic beings, and it was more of a prose poem than a novel. (And yes, Douglas wrote poetry as well as prose.) He borrowed the money to self-publish it, but few people were interested in buying it and it took him years to pay back the money he borrowed. Since Douglas was the kind of man who always preferred to be on the giving rather than the receiving end of loans and gifts, the failure of More Than a Prophet was deeply humiliating to him. He is often quoted as saying that More Than a Prophet was “less than a profit.”

But while the book was gathering dust, Douglas was making a name for himself as a frequent contributor to the Lutheran Observer. His articles on biblical subjects were thought-provoking, down-to-earth, and eloquent. Mostly because of the reputation he had earned through his writing, Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington, DC, made him their Senior Pastor in 1909, although he had only been an ordained minister for six years.

From DC he went to Champaign-Urbana and headed the religious side of the YMCA on the campus of the University of Illinois. While there, he wrote a weekly column in the campus newspaper, as well as some features in a monthly magazine. Next he moved to the University of Michigan, and as Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor, he wrote articles for the North American StudentThe Congregationalist, and other periodicals. He also self-published a new Advent booklet each Christmas season, exploring different aspects of the Christmas story.

In the summer of 1920 his writing career advanced considerably when he entered a writing contest sponsored by the Christian Century and was chosen as one of the semi-finalists. Although he won second place, the editor of the Century, Charles Clayton Morrison, liked Douglas’s writing and asked him to contribute another article. Douglas responded by sending not one but a series of articles on what we would now consider “church growth.” The series was provocative, and when it was finished, Christian Century Press published a book-length version of it under the title, Wanted: A Congregation. (The articles were non-fiction, but the book version presented the same material as a set of dialogues among a cast of characters.)

Not only did Douglas continue on as a frequent contributor to the Century throughout the 1920s, but he now became known as an author of non-fiction books about the ministry and/or about Christian faith: The Minister’s Everyday Life, These Sayings of Mine, and Those Disturbing Miracles. During these same years he submitted several articles to the Atlantic Monthly that were published without a by-line.

But Douglas had always wanted to write a novel, and in the late 1920s he did so. It was turned down by two publishing houses (one of which had published his non-fiction before), but was accepted by Willett, Clark, and Colby in 1929. Magnificent Obsession took a few years to catch on, but when it did, it made Douglas a household name, and his subsequent novels dominated the bestseller lists throughout the 1930s and 40s.

Headlines proclaimed him a novelist who didn’t start until he was 50 years old, but that’s inaccurate. He was always at his typewriter, from very early in life, tapping away. The volume of his published work is impressive, considering the fact that he was a full-time minister until after his second bestselling novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, was published. But what is most impressive is the fact that he didn’t quit, even though he felt the pain of More Than a Prophet every time he moved from one locale to another and had to carry all those boxes of unread books with him, storing them in the attic each time.

For a free PDF of the booklet, The Secret Investment of Lloyd C Douglas, fill out the form below: