His father, who came from a line of Lutheran ministgers in Germany, immigrated to Americas and became a Baptist. Walter was bilingual, and was very well educated in American and German schools. He taught church history at Rochester Theological Seminary (1902-1918).
- Dorrien, Gary. The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism, and Modernity 1900-1950 (2003) and text search, ch 2
- Hopkins, Charles Howard. The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865-1915. (1940), the standard history; online edition
- King, William McGuire. "History as Revelation" in the Theology of the Social Gospel," The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 76, No. 1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 109-129 in JSTOR
- Smith, Gary Scott. "To Reconstruct the World: Walter Rauschenbusch and Social Change," Fides et Historia (1991) 23:40-63
- Smucker, Donovan E. The Origins of Walter Rauschenbusch's Social Ethics 1994 online edition
- White, Ronald C., Jr. and C. Howard Hopkins. The Social Gospel. Religion and Reform in Changing America (1975).