John Lawson Stoddard was an American author who, in 1879, started what would become a successful career as a lecturer. During the next 18 years he traveled widely around the world. Every winter he would return to the states and present lectures concerning his travels in several major American cities. He became something of a household name at the time. His lectures were hugely popular, in part due to his speaking skills as well as his pioneering use of slides to enhance the lectures. In 1897-98, his ten volume lectures were first published. For most of his life he was a protestant and at times went out of his way to criticize the Catholic Church, but after his harrowing experiences during WWI, he ended up becoming a member of the Roman Catholic Church and devoted the rest of his days to religious research and writing. However he is best remembered for his earlier lectures which helped popularize the travel lecture.