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Frances Ridley Havergal, English Hymn-Writer

Frances HavergalFrances Ridley Havergal: English hymnwriter; born at Astley (9 miles n.w. of Worcester), Worcestershire, Dec. 14, 1836; died near Swansea, South Wales, June 3, 1879. She was a daughter of the Rev. W. H. Havergal, for many years rector of St. Nicholas, Worcester.

She attended a private school at Worcester, and afterward spent a year in the Luisenschule, Düsseldorf, Germany, attaining proficiency in several modern languages, and also in Greek and Hebrew, which she learned in order to be able to read the Bible in the original. She began writing verse at the age of seven, and soon her poems found their way into Good Words and other religious periodicals. Her hymns, for which she also furnished the tunes, are now included in all collections, the most familiar being the deeply suggestive consecration hymn, "Take my life and let it be."

Her own life was spent in doing aggressive religious and philanthropic work, and in singing the love of God and the way of salvation. She published several collections of poems and hymns, including: The Ministry of Song (London, 1870); Under the Surface (1874); Loyal Responses (1878); and Under His Shadow (1879). Her prose writings include: Morning Bells and Little Pillows (1875); My King (1877); Kept for the Master's Use (1879); and Swiss Letters (1881). Her Poetical Works were edited by her sister, M. V. G. Havergal (2 vols., 1884).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Her Letters were edited by her sister, M. V. G. Havergal, London, 1885. Consult: M. V. G. Havergal, Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal, ib. 1880; E. Davies, Frances Ridley Havergal; Sketch of her Life, Reading, Mass., 1884; S. W. Duffield, English Hymns, pp. 189 et passim, New York, 1886; Miss L. B. Earle, Miss Havergal's Story, Boston, 1887; M. V. G. Havergal, Autobiography, with Journals and Letters, London, 1887; G. F. Bushnell, Miss Havergal's Secret, New York, 1894; C. Bullock, The Sisters...Frances Ridley Havergal, Maria V. G. Havergal, London, 1896; N. Smith, Hymns historically Famous, chap. xxvii., Chicago, 1901; Julian, Hymnology, pp. 496-498.

From The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge... New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1909.

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