Social Reformer. Founder of Volunteers of America and former Salvation Army officer. Born in Brighouse, England, he was the second child of Salvation Army founder William Booth. At the age of 23 he became a Colonel of the Salvation Army and was placed over the Salvation Army officer training programs. He met Maud Charlesworth at a Salvation Army meeting and they were married in 1887 after she reached 21, the age of consent. The couple was assigned to the New York office and arrived in America on April 18th, 1887. In order to make the Salvation Army more acceptable to Americans, they became citizens and flew the American flag outside of all Salvation Army offices in the United States. With the help of wealthy New Yorkers, they were able to pay off $37,000 in debt and build a new building. He established a Food and Shelter Depot for homeless and destitute men, while she worked with poor women and children. In 1894 General William Booth came for an inspection of the American division and was displeased at the display of the American flag and the Americanization of the United States Salvation Army offices. He felt that Ballington and Maud had become too American and ordered them to return to England. They chose to stay in America and parted ways with the Salvation Army. On March 8, 1896, they drew up a constitution that established the Volunteers of America and, like the ranking in the Salvation Army, he became its General. The new organization focused on helping with sudden disasters and addressing existing patterns of poverty, abuse and destructive behavior. In six months, they established one hundred and forty posts with four hundred commanding officers, fifty staff offices, three regiments, and ten battalions. He became an ordained minister and under his leadership, the organization established a wide range of social services for the working class, including day nurseries, food pantries and affordable housing. The Volunteers of America provided assistance during the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, provided food and lodging for servicemen on leave during World War I, and provided soup kitchens and penny pantries during the Great Depression. In 1935 he met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the House of Representatives to discuss the economic burden that was being placed on private agencies caused by the financial crisis. Upon his death in 1940, Maude Ballington Booth assumed leadership of the organization.
Bio by: Apollymi
Maud Ballington Booth