Grace Livingstone Hill was born on April 16, 1865, in New York State. Her father, Rev Charles Livingston, was initially a Congregational minister but the church became Presbyterian, and he, along with Grace’s mother had achieved some fame as an author. They both wrote for publications like “The Pansy” and Mrs Hill had a few books published.
Grace’s ‘Auntie Belle’, Isabella Macdonald Alden, sister to Mrs Marcia Hill, was known as Pansy and wrote an abundance of Christian Literature, while also speaking at conferences such as Chautauqua meetings.
On a Remington typewriter (a new invention at the time), Grace was soon churning out her novel, A Chautauqua Idyll, which was accepted by the publisher, the first of over 100 books to come from her fertile mind – and most of them are still in print over half a century later. They are romantic novels with a strong Christian emphasis, emphatic in their faithfulness to Scripture.
Her biography, by Robert Munce, Grace’s grandson, was published in 1986. Munce also established the large Christian bookstore distribution business, Munce Marketing Group.
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A certain 19 year-old student wrote in his journal, on 8 February, 1931: “Read Grace Livingston Hill’s ‘The Witness‘, and it shook me to the core.” That student was Francis Schaeffer, who was destined to be come one of Christendom’s leading apologists.
And Dr J Dwight Pentecost testified that Mrs Hill “was instrumental in setting the course of my entire ministry…” (Confident Living, May, 1987).
Grace married Rev Thomas Guthrie Franklin Hill, who wrote for the Christian Endeavour movement. Together they wrote two volumes of a guide book for Christian Endeavor youth group leaders, ‘Christian Endeavor Hour with Light for the Leader’.
Rev Frank Hill died in 1899 and Grace received $3,000 in insurance payout. Then, in 1904m Grace married again, to FJ Lutz, who insisted that she use his name. However the couple parted ways and Grace continued to be known by her first married name.
Apart from her extensive fictional and historical fiction writings Grace was a keen artist. She even engaged in creating chalk drawings during sermons, to illustrate the message to the audience. Several of Hill’s books were made into movies.
Grace Livingston Hill died on 23 February, 1947, in Philadelphia, USA
This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com
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