History of Our Namesake

Florence Soper-Booth

September 12, 1861—June 10, 1957
Florence Booth PortraitIn the early day movement of the Salvation Army, members “… began to recognize the complexity of their ministry, and there dawned an awareness… that it was not enough to preach the Gospel to the poor, but that preaching had to be complemented by taking care of the physical needs of the poor to whom they preached”. From that logic, the first rescue home for women opened in Scotland in May of 1883.

Florence   Booth, daughter-in-law of founding member William Booth had begun to advocate for women who were being bought
into slavery.

Many people, including her husband thought she was exaggerating until in 1885 a girl appeared on the door- step of the Salvation Army headquarters, telling Bramwell Booth her story of  escaping the night before from a prostitution house.

The Salvation Army advocated on behalf of this enslaved population and their powerless families. Soldiers of the Salvation Army collected 393,000 signatures and influenced the British Parliament to change the age of consent to 16, at the time virtually stopping the intercontinental traffic in girls.
Florence Booth has been credited for starting the Army’s work in Women’s Social Work.