Date of Award

Spring 2012

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Eliga H Gould


This dissertation explores the making of the public image of eighteenth-century Anglican missionary George Whitefield through his use of trans-Atlantic public print networks. Whitefield, who was a consummate self-promoter and publisher of his own work, played a central role in the development of his image. The success of his publishing campaign meant that he reached iconic status, his every move seemingly documented in newspapers and pamphlets around Great Britain and its American dominions.

Owing to Whitefield's successful use of the trans-Atlantic public print networks and his itinerant preaching, Whitefield's influence extended well beyond national, denominational, racial and ethnic boundaries. The extent of his influence meant that his public image took on a life of his own. It also meant that his legacy was profoundly malleable. After his death, it also meant that, as a public symbol, his image had numerous possible meanings and could be "read" in different ways. His followers and other contemporaries could readily co-opt this image into multiple possible narratives, interpreting him in ways that Whitefield almost certainly never intended.