Isabella Alden was particularly close to her niece, Grace Livingston Hill. Grace was a writer, too, and her books were incredibly popular and are still widely read today.
But Grace wasn’t merely a best-selling authoress; Grace was also a teacher. She was dedicated to teaching Sunday-school classes at her church, and when her daughters Margaret and Ruth were old enough to attend school, Grace decided to teach them at home, just as her parents had taught her.
Grace’s desire to teach wasn’t limited to her family. For years Grace ran a Bible class for children at a nearby Presbyterian church. She was the guiding spirit in establishing a mission Sunday School for immigrant families, and she personally paid to send innumerable young people to Pinebrook School, a well-known Christian Bible conference in the Poconos.
Education was something Grace was passionate about, and when she passed away in 1947 her daughter Ruth Hill Munce took steps to honor Grace’s teaching ministry. Ruth purchased a 30-acre site in St. Petersburg, Florida and built a school, which she named after their mother.
Grace Livingston Hill Memorial School had just four classrooms and 75 students when it officially opened in 1953, but the Christian day school grew with each passing year. Ruth served as the school principal for 15 years. Under her direction, she ensured that Christian education was at the core of every class, saying, “God would be the sum of the equation, the Bible a textbook.”
In 1962 the school changed its name to Keswick Christian School, and it’s still operating today under that name. But it had its roots as a tribute to Grace Livingston Hill, who loved God and used her talents for writing and teaching in order to serve Him.
You can read some of Grace’s short stories for free on this site. Just click on one of the images below to begin reading.
9 thoughts on “The Grace Livingston Hill Memorial School”
My grandfather’s sister introduced me to Grace Livingston Hill, and I have collected every book of hers I could over the years. I didn’t know about Isabella until a few years ago. I love Grace’s books, but Isabella’s speak louder to me, and I find myself re-reading her books more often, getting something new out of them each time.
I’m so glad you found Isabella’s books! —Jenny
Thanks, that was very interesting. I think Isabella would have liked that.
I agree, Barbara! —Jenny
This is on a different subject but…would you know what the “fevers” were that people would randomly get in the Pansy and Grace Livingston Hill books? Like when something startling, or stressful, or sad happened and they would come down with a “fever” and die or nearly die when the “crisis” came. Or be fine one day and deathy sick the next. And the “fever” would last for such a long time and it would be so long for recovery. Or sometimes a healthy person would start failing and then get really sick. I guess it was different things but it comes up so often…I was just curious if you could tell me anything? Thanks!
You asked a very good question, Ruthann! I’ve noticed the same thing in Isabella’s and Grace’s books. Other writers in the late 1800s and early 1900s also wrote about illness caused by shock or stress, so it was a universal theme for novels at the time. Here’s what I’ve learned about those sudden fevers:
During Pansy’s and Grace’s lifetimes, medical science wasn’t very advanced. Physicians still believed patients’ illnesses were caused by cold air, night air, “shocks to the system,” getting wet in the rain, and a host of other causes lumped together under the term “miasma.” This was especially true in Isabella’s lifetime. Medical professionals didn’t start linking bacteria to the cause of disease until the late 1800s (although my great uncle died in 1914 and the attending physician still listed miasma as the cause on his death certificate). That may explain why the doctor in a novel so often said, “She’s suffered a shock to the system; you must put her to bed,” or something similar.
In reality, patients may have had actual illnesses: scarlet fever, pneumonia, and tuberculosis were the leading causes of death. Scarlet fever had a 12 hour incubation period; infected individuals passed it along to others before they even knew they were infected. Once they passed the incubation period, scarlet fever patients almost instantly became pale, listless, and unable to care for themselves. Tuberculosis was a common disease that doctors sometimes failed to diagnose until months after the patient contracted it. Symptoms sometimes ebbed and receded, so patients could appear healthy, then suddenly and without warning, be so ill they had to be confined to bed. Common, everyday illnesses like colds and sore throats often developed into pneumonia and strep accompanied by fever; and since there were no antibiotics at the time, only people with healthy immune systems could fight off the infection.
Another theory I have about those sudden fevers: Isabella suffered from migraine headaches for many years. Some migraine sufferers experience fever, and it’s possible Isabella did, too; and since migraines can be brought on by stress (such as shock or crisis), Isabella may have actually been writing about her own experiences with migraines in her books.
The bottom line: there may have been actual medical reasons for people to suddenly contract a fever and be confined to bed, or even die, but medical professionals (and the public) lacked the knowledge needed to tie the true cause of an illness (germs and bacteria) to the symptoms they witnessed.
During Grace’s lifetime, two important events occurred in the world of medicine: The first was the Spanish Flu epidemic that hit America in 1918. The Spanish Flu was highly contagious and had a devastating mortality rate. The healthy active young Americans Grace wrote about in her books were the hardest hit by the disease. They were literally fine and healthy one minute, weak and confined to bed in the next. Millions of young adult Americans died from Spanish Flu and millions more suffered through it and recovered. The epidemic lasted well over a year (from late 1917 through Spring of 1919). I think it was an experience Grace wrote about and every American of her generation could readily understand: healthy people could become deathly ill without warning and there was really nothing medical science could do to treat the disease.
The second important factor was the great advance medical science made in diagnosis and treatment of disease during Grace’s life. Penicillin was introduced in 1928, and slowly helped change the mindset of health care professionals and the American public. Medical professionals began to associate germs as the cause of disease, rather than environmental and emotional causes (like miasma). And Americans began to change their mindset, too; they learned the causes of disease were no longer a mystery to be explained in general or nebulous terms. Novels written in the late 1930s and 1940s began to reflect that; you read a lot less about characters suddenly falling ill without explanation or after suffering “a great shock.”
Whew! I’ve probably given you more info than you wanted, Ruthann, but I hope this helps. And thanks for asking a great question! —Jenny
Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that! Very interesting…I love learning about anything in history:)
Stress reduces immune function – making the stressed out more vulnerable. Note that while 100 years ago germs as the cause of disease was the big medical news, today “good” germs as essential to preventing disease is the medical breakthrough. Also, the death of essential germs via man-made environment factors is a modern contributor to disease. E.g. trace amounts of glysophate (which is non-toxic to human cells) poisoning essential gut bacteria is a prime cause of celiac disease:
Good points, Stuart! —Jenny