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Our Founders

The creative genius behind Guideposts was Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. With his wife, Ruth, Dr. Peale founded the organization in 1945.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Peale is acclaimed as one of the foremost ministers, motivational speakers, and writers of the 20th century. While serving as minister at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, he spoke to 100 groups a year and authored 46 books.

By far the most popular of his books was The Power of Positive Thinking. First published in 1952, the book immediately became a bestseller and stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 186 consecutive weeks. Still available today, it has sold more than 20 million copies in 42 languages.

Positive thinking, Dr. Peale often explained, is faith in God and belief in oneself. Throughout his book and throughout his career, Dr. Peale emphasized the individual's extraordinary ability to overcome life's problems and seize its opportunities through the application of faith in daily life.

In 1984, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan. On Christmas Eve, 1993, Dr. Peale died at his home in Pawling, N.Y. He was 95. Dr. Peale is remembered best for one simple quality: his unconditional love of people.

Ruth Stafford Peale

Ruth Stafford Peale was the daughter of a minister and was born in Fonda, Iowa, on September 10, 1906. Mrs. Peale graduated from Syracuse University and taught mathematics before her marriage in 1930. Her marriage lasted for 63 years and she was the mother of three children: Margaret Peale Everett, Dr. John Stafford Peale, and Elizabeth Peale Allen.

Although she worked closely with her husband in all aspects of his ministry, Mrs. Peale also established a separate identity as a religious leader, public speaker and author. Because of her dynamic spiritual achievements, she was a great influence to millions and made many contributions to religion in America.

Mrs. Peale was co-founder, publisher and chairman of the board of Guideposts. She was a member of the board of directors of the American Bible Society, Interchurch Center, Blanton-Peale Institute, and Laymen's National Bible Committee. Among her other distinctions, she was the first woman president of the National Board of North American Missions of the Reformed Church in America, and the first woman chairman of the Planning and Program Committee of the National Council of Churches 1966 Assembly. She died on February 6, 2008.