Character Sketches of Grace Livingston Hill and Her Husband

As a popular author, Isabella received plenty of publicity and media coverage, and she was probably used to seeing her name in print.

In 1893 her niece, Grace Livingston Hill was just beginning to garner some publicity of her own. A few of Grace’s stories had been published in magazines, including The Pansy, so she was already building a following of loyal readers.

Then, in April 1893, the following article about Grace appeared in a Christian magazine:


THE REVEREND AND MRS. FRANKLIN HILL

Pansy’s niece, Grace Livingston (now Mrs. Franklin Hill) has perhaps almost as warm a corner in the hearts of our readers as their older friend “Pansy,” and therefore we are glad to give the photographs of herself and her husband. Mr. Hill. [He] is pastor of a flourishing church in one of the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—a young man of noble character and fine intellectual gifts.

To quote from a paper giving an account of their recent marriage:

“When two souls such as these, energetic, consecrated, and peculiarly gifted, unite their lives and aims, there is promise of much good work for the Master.”

Doubtless thousands who never saw Grace Livingston’s face, feel acquainted with her, and really are acquainted with her through her writings, for a true author’s true self goes into her works. She has a bright and charming style, which reminds one of that of her aunt, Mrs. Alden (“Pansy”), and of her mother, Mrs. C. L. Livingston, who is often a collaborator with Mrs. Alden.

Mrs. Hill is not an imitator, however, or an echo of anyone else, but has a genuine style and literary character of her own. She is, moreover, much more than a mere writer. The daughter of a Presbyterian Minister, trained from her earliest days to work for the Master, she has thrown herself enthusiastically into His service.

“She has,” writes a friend, “a passion for soul-saving, and will not give up a bad boy when all others do, but pleads with him, and prays, and has patience, and often has the joy of reward, in the changed character of boys who will remember her gratefully through life. She sometimes gathers about her on Sabbath afternoons a group of older boys, and leads them on to discuss Christian evidences and the moral questions of the day, amusements, etc. On these subjects she takes high ground, setting them to search for the opinions of master minds in religious thought, and to learn what Scripture teaches on the themes under discussion. This will go on for months, each of the informal meetings delightful to the boys.”

The work of the Christian Endeavor Society is very near her heart, and she has given much time and strength to it, as her writings prove. Of late she has been especially identified with the Chautauqua Christian Endeavor reading course, whose success in the future will be largely due to her energy. While in Chautauqua during the summer, she spends much of her time in promoting the interests of the Chautauqua Christian Endeavor Society.

How can we end this brief sketch better than by quoting the words of a friend, who says:

“She loves dearly to have her own way, and yet she is one of those rare characters who knows how to yield her will sweetly for peace sake, and so for Christ’s sake.”


What a lovely article! It gives readers hints of the great work (in addition to her writing) that Grace would accomplish in the years to come.

The article appeared only four months after Grace and Thomas Franklin “Frank” Hill were married. After their marriage they both stayed involved in the Christian Endeavor Society. Together they wrote The Christian Endeavor Hour with Light for the Leader, a guide book that contained lessons and Bible verses CE societies could use in conducting their meetings. The book was published in 1896.

Grace’s “passion for soul-saving” flourished, as well. In later years she established a mission Sunday School for immigrant families in her community. It was just one of the many endeavors Grace undertook that resulted in “good work for the Master.”

4 thoughts on “Character Sketches of Grace Livingston Hill and Her Husband

  1. Thank you for posting this, and their pictures! I’ve seen Grace before, but never at this age. It was very interesting to see a picture of her husband. I do wonder what he died of, and if he was able to overcome his addiction. Grace wrote so much from the heart, that I want to know as much about her and her life as I can. Thanks again!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! By all accounts, Grace and Frank were deeply in love. They were only married seven years when he developed appendicitis. At the time, surgery was a dangerous option, so poor Frank suffered with the pain for about five months before he finally had an appendectomy. He died four days later. Grace’s grandson Robert Munce wrote that Frank never overcame his addiction to morphine; but Grace never told anyone, including her daughters, of the problem “until twenty-five years or more after his death. She was so loyal to him.” —Jenny

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