They have been described as the "home-and-hearth children of the post-Civil War era". They were an idealist generation and as young adults, their leaders were the first graduates of newly formed black and women's colleges.
They rejected the strict Victorian values, questioned gender roles and feared society would become soulless, inhumane, and money-driven.
Because the Lost Generation were so decimated by World War I, the leadership of the Missionary Generation lasted longer than previous generations and in the 1930s and 1940s, their elite became the “Wise Old Men” who enacted a “New Deal”, Social Security, led the global war against fascism, and reaffirmed America's highest ideals during a transformative era in world history.
This generation is fully ancestral, with the last member of the Missionary Generation, the American Sarah Knauss, having died on December 30, 1999 at an astonishing 119 years of age.
Sociologist Naomi Riley believes that a new “Missionary Generation” is forming in the children of the 2010s.