Adelaide Addison Pollard was born at Bloomfield, Iowa, USA, on November 27, 1862.
Christened ‘Sarah’, but she did not like the name and ‘adopted’ Adelaide instead!
After studying elocution she moved to Chicago, Illinois, during the 1880’s and taught in several girls’ schools. During this time, she became rather well-known as an itinerant Bible teacher.
Later, she assisted the healing services and evangelistic ministry of John Alexander Dowie, playing a portable organ in his open-air meetings. She experienced healing of diabetes through his ministry. Still later, she assisted the ministry of another evangelist named Sanford, who emphasized the imminent return of Christ.
In 1902, at the age of 33 her desire to go to Africa as a missionary was thwarted causing her distress of soul. She had not been able to raise the necessary funds. Full of discouragement, she attended a little prayer meeting and was greatly touched by an elderly woman’s prayer. Omitting the usual requests for blessings and things this woman simply petitioned God for understanding of His will. Upon returning home that evening, Miss Pollard meditated further on the account of the potter, found in Jeremiah 18:3,4. Before retiring that evening, Miss Pollard completed all four stanzas of a hymn that is sung today.
Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter – I am the clay;
Mould me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
When Adelaide’s plans for Africa failed to materialize, she spent several years teaching at the Missionary Training School at Nyack-on-the-Hudson. She did finally get to Africa for a short time, just prior to World War I and then spent most of the war years in Scotland. Following the war, she returned to America and continued to minister throughout New England, even though she was very frail and in poor health.
No one knows exactly how many other hymn texts Miss Pollard wrote throughout her life, since she never wanted any recognition for her accomplishments. Most of her writings were signed simply AAP.
Adelaide was regarded as a saintly woman, but also as one who lived the life of a mystic. She died in New York on 20 December, 1934, at the age of 72.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History, which I previously considered to be a little stuffy and of little practical value. I find in the process of updating Don’s Christian Diary that I am being constantly refreshed, illuminated or challenged by the lives of those who have gone before.