MOODY, DWIGHT LYMAN (RYTHER) 1899), American evangelist, was born in the village of East North field, Mass., on Feb. 5, 1837. His father died in 1841, and young Dwight, a mischievous, independent boy, got a scanty schooling. At 17 he became a salesman in a shoe-store in Boston; in 1855 he was "converted"; and in 1856 he went to Chicago and started business there. Beginning with a class gathered from the streets, he opened (1858) a Sunday school in North Market hall, which, largely as a result of his enthusiasm and devotion, grew into a church. He was a man of extraordinary energy and of never fail ing belief in the power of the Lord to provide. In 186o he gave up business and devoted himself to city missionary work, and during the Civil War to labours among the soldiers. In 1865-69 he was president of the Chicago Young Men's Christian Associa tion. Ira David Sankey (184o-19o8) joined him in Chicago in 187o and helped him greatly by the composition and sympathetic rendering of the Moody and Sankey Gospel Hymns. In a series of notable revival meetings in England and America these two men carried on their campaign, which, according to Moody's admirers, "reduced the population of hell by a million souls." In 1879 Moody opened the Northfield seminary for young women at Northfield, Mass., and in 1881 the adjacent Mount Hermon school
for boys ; in each a liberal practical education centred about Bible training. In 1889 he opened in Chicago the Bible institute, and there trained Christian workers in Bible study and in practical methods of social reform; he was also the founder of the Bible (or Christian Workers') conference, first held at Northfield in 188o, and the Students' (or College Men's) conference, first held in 1887. He died at Northfield on Dec. 22, 1899. His sermons were colloquial, simple, full of conviction and point. In his the ology he laid stress on the Gospel, not on sectarian opinions. His intense sympathy for, and insight into the individual, his infinite practical skill and tact, his genius for organization, his honesty, his singular largeness and sweetness of spirit and his passion for mending and winning souls made him, in spite of his scholastic defects, one of the greatest of modern evangelists.
See the (official) Life of Dwight L. Moody (1900), by his son, W. R. Moody ; Henry Drummond, Dwight L. Moody : Impressions and Facts (1900), with an introduction by G. A. Smith ; and Gamaliel Bradford, D. L. Moody, a Worker in Souls (1927), which contains a bibliography.