Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale was born in Ohio in a town called Bowersville May 31st, 1898. Norman had a typical childhood and was raised as a Methodist. Peale graduated from high school in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He later attended the School of Theology at Boston University and Ohio Wesleyan University. In 1922, Norman Peale became a Methodist minister and practiced until 1932 when he decided to change his religion from Methodist to a reformed Protestant denomination which is popular in America. He became associated with the Reformed Church in the US in 1932, as the pastor in the Marble collegiate Church located in New York City. The church was not very popular before Norman Peale with only about 600 total members in the congregation. After a few years of Norman Preaching at the church, the number jumped from 600 members all the way to over 5,000. With the rise in congregation and followers, Norman Peale became one of the most well-known preachers in New York. 

Norman gained a lot more popularity and fame in 1940 when he began to work with a psychoanalyst whom was employed at a clinic near the Reformed Church in America. The men, together, Norman and Smiley Blanton, wrote books. Their most popular book was titled “Faith is the Answer: A psychiatrist and a Pastor Discuss Your Problems”. The book was released in 1940 and discussed various problems that people come across in life, with two different viewpoints. Norman Peale gave his opinion on a topic in one chapter and then alternated with Smiley Blanton giving his viewpoint on the same matter in the next chapter. The two later formed the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry and began working together with people, Blanton providing mental health support and Peale providing support with religious matters. The two worked together until 1952 when Peale wrote and released a book by the name of “The Power of Positive Thinking” which gathered a lot of criticism from the public. Blanton did not want to be associated with Peale’s book and the two became distanced from one another. 

In 1935, Norman Peale began to host a radio talkshow called “The Art of Living”. The program endured for a total of 54 years total and eventually he moved the show onto television where he reached a wider audience. He continued his writing and his controversial book “The Power of Positive Thinking” not only made it to the New York Times bestseller’s list but stayed for approximately 186 weeks in a row. Today, over 5 million copies of the book have been sold and has been translated into 15 other languages, besides English. After such a successful book, he went on to write other popular works such as “Inspiring Messages for Daily Living” “The Tough-Minded Optimist“, and “The Art of Living”. Dr. Peale continued to preach and practice religion and optimistic thinking, along with his supportive wife Ruth Peale. He became a close personal friend of President Nixon and various other important political figures. When Norman Peale died on December 24th, 1993 at the age of 95, he was mourned by millions, including President at the time, Bill Clinton. Norman Peale’s motivational and religious views continue to live on beyond his death through all of his published works. 

Additional Information:

Tips For Life From Norman Peale

Marble Church: Norman Peale

Norman Peale: Getting Motivated

People: Dr. Peale

An Inventory of Norman Peale Papers

A Bio of Dr. Peale

Highlights of a Life

The Norman Vincent Peale Collection

Norman V. Peale Scholarships

Change Your Thoughts and Your World