Today is the birthday of Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (October 24, 1788 – April 30, 1879) who was an American writer and an influential editor.
Hale wrote many novels and poems, publishing nearly fifty volumes by the end of her life, but she is probably best known as the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Hale also famously campaigned for seventeen years for the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday and for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument.
Hale also founded the Seaman’s Aid Society in 1833 to assist the surviving families of Boston sailors who died at sea.
She is recognized on the Episcopal liturgical calendar with a lesser feast day on April 30.
Gracious God, we bless thy Name for the vision and witness of Sarah Hale, whose advocacy for the ministry of women helped to support the deaconess movement. Make us grateful for thy many blessings, that we may come closer to Christ in our own families; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We must also note that it is the birthday as well of one of our favorite writers, Brenda Ueland (October 24, 1891 – March 5, 1985), about whom we have written many times.
“Now before going to a party, I just tell myself to listen with affection to anyone who talks to me, to be in their shoes when they talk, to try to know them without my mind pressing against theirs, or arguing, or changing the subject. No. My attitude is: ‘Tell me more.’ This person is showing me his soul. It is a little dry and meager and full of grinding talk just now, but presently he will begin to think, not just automatically to talk. He will show his true self. Then he will be wonderfully alive.’ …Creative listeners are those who want you to be recklessly yourself, even at your very worst, even vituperative, bad-tempered. They are laughing and just delighted with any manifestation of yourself, bad or good. For true listeners know that if you are bad-tempered it does not mean that you are always so. They don’t love you just when you are nice; they love all of you.”
–Brenda Ueland, Strength to Your Sword Arm: Selected Writings
Join me in a toast to both ladies, won’t you?
And this struck me as mildly amusing: