Our History & Founders

Our History

When Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale, cofounded Guideposts in 1945, they envisioned an organization that would help people from all walks of life achieve their maximum personal and spiritual potential. Since its first publication in 1952, Dr. Peale's inspirational bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking, has sold more than 20 million copies in 42 languages worldwide.

The Peales founded two vital organizations in the 1940s that have helped and inspired millions: The Peale Center for Christian Living (originally Sermon Publications and later, the Foundation for Christian Living) and Guideposts Associates. Guideposts began in Pawling, NY, then moved to Carmel to house its growing subscription-based operation and book publishing ministries.

Dr. and Mrs. Peale devoted their lives to bringing hope and encouragement to others. The Center for Positive Thinking was built in 1988 and distributed PLUS: The Power of Faith magazine (formerly Creative Help for Daily Living), filled with positive messages by Norman Vincent Peale and other inspirational writers. The Center resided in Pawling, NY, for 70 years, eventually merging with Guideposts.

Guideposts is now known for its uplifting, faith-affirming publications, including our flagship inspirational magazine, Guideposts. Through our award-winning magazines, best-selling books, OurPrayer network, and Outreach Ministry programs, Guideposts illuminates the power of faith and prayer to transform ordinary lives.

Today, our editorial office is in New York City and our main business offices, the Guideposts Outreach Ministries, OurPrayer, and Guideposts Foundation are headquartered in Danbury, CT.

Our Founders

The Peale legacy continues in Guideposts' vision for the future—to offer inspirational stories, tools, and services that empower individuals to deepen their relationship with God and with others through the power of prayer.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale 
Born in 1898 in Bowersville, Ohio, Norman Vincent Peale, the son of a Methodist minister, earned degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology. He was pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City for more than five decades, where he gained notoriety for his sermons on taking a positive approach to modern living. His weekly radio program, “The Art of Living,” was broadcast on NBC for 54 years.

Dr. Peale believed that you are what you think you are, and that if you change your thinking, you can change your life. This core belief inspired him to publish The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952, which has since sold more than 20 million copies worldwide (and is now available as an updated and condensed free ebook, Positive Thinking 2015). 

Throughout his career, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale emphasized the extraordinary ability of regular people to overcome life's problems and seize its opportunities through faith and prayer. His energy was tireless: He published 46 books and spoke to an average 100 groups a year. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On Christmas Eve 1993, Dr. Peale died at his home in Pawling, NY, at age 95. He is best remembered for his unconditional love of people, and his unfailing belief in the transformative power of faith and prayer. He brought his philosophy to life through the remarkable stories of real people—a personal, engaging communications style that remains at the heart of the Guideposts experience today.

Ruth Stafford Peale 
The daughter of a minister, Ruth Stafford was born in Fonda, Iowa, graduated from Syracuse University, and taught mathematics before marrying Norman Vincent Peale in 1930.

Though Ruth Stafford Peale worked closely with Dr. Peale, she also established her own identity as a religious leader, public speaker, and author. She was cofounder, publisher, and chairman of the board of Guideposts, and a member of the board of directors of American Bible Society, Interchurch Center, Blanton-Peale Institute, and Laymen's National Bible Committee.

Dr. and Mrs. Peale were married for 63 years. Together, they had three children: Margaret Peale Everett, Dr. John Stafford Peale, and Elizabeth Peale Allen. Mrs. Peale died in 2008 at age 102.

Though much has changed over the years, the beliefs that inspired Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Ruth Stafford Peale's vision for Guideposts remain constant: God is at work in our daily lives. Through faith and the power of prayer, we can overcome obstacles, transform our lives, and help others.

Would you like to support us in continuing the legacy of our founders?