Riley, William Bell

Riley, William Bell

(1861–1947) Protestant evangelist; born in Greene County, Ind. The son of a pro-slavery Democrat who moved south of Ohio River at the outbreak of the Civil War, he grew up on farms in Kentucky, graduated from Hanover College (Ind.) in 1885, and launched a career as a Baptist preacher in Chicago in 1893. From 1897 to 1942 he was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Minneapolis. A leader of the fundamentalist movement, he spoke out against divorce, dancing, Darwinian biology, New Deal social programs, and communism. The Northwestern Bible Training School, which he founded in 1902, became a center of evangelical fundamentalism.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.