Dan D. Crawford – Bio

Dan Crawford PhotoDan D. Crawford received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh and has a MA in religion from Princeton University. He did his undergraduate work at Haverford College (PA) and The King’s College (NY). From 1997-2017, he taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the philosophy and religious studies departments, and is presently Emeritus Senior Lecturer at UNL. He has also held positions at Bucknell University, Muhlenberg College, and Albright College where he chaired the philosophy department for nineteen years. His areas of specialization are the history of religious thought, American Evangelicalism, and American Pragmatism, especially the religious philosophy of William James. He has published articles in numerous philosophy and religion journals.

Dr. Crawford is married to Sidnie White Crawford, Emerita Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and has three adult children. He is a devotee of Early Music and has been singing in choral groups and small ensembles all his life. The Crawfords live in Stroudsburg, PA, where Dan is the Director of Beacon Hill Concerts, an annual classical concert series.

You may contact him at dcrawford1@unl.edu or dandcrawford@gmail.com.

Curriculum Vitae

NEW! A Biographical Essay:
“Ruth Duvall Crawford’s Wonderful Career in Music and Evangelism”

by Dan D. Crawford

In October 2021, I completed this essay, “Ruth Duvall Crawford’s Wonderful Career in Music and Evangelism” about my mother’s career as a musician, and the significance of her contribution to the evangelical gospel musical tradition in mid-twentieth century America. In it, I have tried to formulate Ruth Crawford’s unique style of music—as expressed both in her production of musical programs for radio and television, and her performance in them—and the role her music played in the evangelism, that is, the winning of souls, in her partnering ministry with her husband, evangelist Percy Crawford.

Ruth Duvall Crawford should be recognized as someone who shaped the course of evangelical gospel music and effectively used it as an instrument for evangelism in that era when evangelicalism had become a thriving popular movement in American culture.

I welcome you, reader, to explore with me this new interpretation of my mother’s wonderful career:

“Although Ruth Duvall Crawford’s name may not appear in any of the historical studies of evangelicalism in America, in fact, she was an important figure whose innovations in the realm of music significantly altered the course of evangelical gospel music in the 1930s and 40s. Ruth was the wife of one of the leading evangelists of that era, Percy Crawford, and the director of music for Percy’s various evangelistic enterprises. . . . “

To continue reading the essay click here.

A biography by Dan Crawford

A Thirst for Souls: The Life of Evangelist Percy B. Crawford (1902 – 1960)

Susquehanna University Press (Associated University Presses), 2010


A Thirst for Souls Book CoverA philosopher son comes to grips with his evangelist father’s life and ministry, and his passion for winning lost souls. The author situates Percy Crawford within the fundamentalist movement he encountered in 1923, when he came to Los Angeles to get a college education, and instead got converted at Reuben Torrey’s Church of the Open Door. The book identifies Crawford’s main contributions to fundamentalism at a critical time in its history—the 1930s and ’40s—when it was languishing and marginalized in American life. Crawford was one of the “young men on fire” who effectively used the new medium of radio (and later television) as vehicles for spreading the gospel. His direct and hard-hitting preaching style, together with a high-quality musical program assembled by his wife and life-long partner in evangelism, Ruth, helped to remake the public image of fundamentalism and rekindle the spirit of revivalism.

Drawing on material that has been largely in the hands of the family and unavailable to researchers, and benefiting from the passing of over four decades and a lifetime of teaching philosophy and religion, Dan Crawford is able to look back at his father’s beliefs and commitment to evangelism in a constructive and sympathetic way, but also with a critical eye that engages with his father at key points of disagreement. He describes with candor and refreshing humor his own involvement in his parents’ ministry as a loyal member of the evangelistic team—singing with his brothers at church meetings and on radio and television from the age of three, and what it was like growing up in a family that put the Lord’s work above everything else.

Advance Praise for A Thirst for Souls

With his astute and judicious handling of sources never before available, Dan Crawford makes a compelling case for including his father, Percy Crawford, in the inner circle of the most influential fundamentalist leaders. A Thirst for Souls has significantly deepened my understanding of twentieth-century evangelicalism.
”Randall Balmer, author of The Making of Evangelicalism

Dan Crawford’s superb new book, A Thirst for Souls, is a well researched, beautifully crafted and much needed study of one of the most important religious leaders of mid-twentieth-century America. It is a welcome addition to the increasingly important study of the evangelical tradition.
”Garth M. Rosell, Professor of Church History, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

A Thirst for Souls is available from Amazon.com.