Parkhurst, Charles  Henry
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Time Period
4/17/1842  - 9/8/1933
Charles Parkhurst came from a farming family in Framingham, Massachusetts. After spending time as a Congregational minister in Massachusetts, he accepted a call in 1880 to lead New York’s Madison Square Presbyterian Church.

His optimism soon faded after young men in the congregation informed him of the city’s underground activities, which included gambling dens, Sunday saloons, sex workers, and the police’s corrupt involvement. With the help of a private detective, he decided to see the corruption for himself by going undercover in 1892. He documented his eyewitness testimony and presented it to his congregation along with signed affidavits on March 13, 1892. Providing proof of moral and political corruption, Parkhurst began a public crusade from 1892-1894 that led to social and political reforms in the city.

Parkhurst saw no divide between religion and politics, and by sounding off the "moral" alarm, the city finally had to face its ugly side.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
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Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links


Charles Parkhurst portrait- Hathi Trust- from Lives and Labors of Eminent Divines by Elias Nason and J. Frank Beale

Charles Parkhurst preaching- Internet Archive- from The Review of Reviews, vol 5

Charles Parkhurst, seated at desk- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-117936

Charles Parkhurst portrait- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-75430

Madison Square Presbyterian Church- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-det-4a22947
Web Source(s)
"Battling Satan in the City: Charles Henry Parkhurst and Municipal Redemption in Gilded Age New York," written by Jesse T. Todd Jr.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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