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Helen Steiner Rice
May 19, 1900
|Died||April 23, 1981 (aged 80)|
Helen Steiner Rice (May 19, 1900 – April 23, 1981) was an American writer of religious and inspirational poetry.
Helen Steiner was born in Lorain, Ohio on May 19, 1900. Her father, a railroad worker, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. She began work for a public utility and progressed to the position of advertising manager, which was rare for a woman at that time. She also became the Ohio State Chairman of the Women's Public Information Committee of the Electric Light Association, and campaigned for women's rights and improved working conditions.
In 1929 she married Franklin Dryden Rice, a bank vice-president in Dayton, Ohio. After the stock market crash in October that year, Franklin lost his job and his investments. He fell into a depression from which he never recovered, and committed suicide in 1932.
Rice became a successful businesswoman and lecturer, but found her most satisfying outlet in writing verse for the greeting card company Gibson Greetings. Her poems received wide exposure in the 1960s when several were read by Aladdin on the poetry segment of the Lawrence Welk television show.
The demand for her poems became so great that her books are still selling steadily after many printings, and she has been acclaimed as "America's beloved inspirational poet laureate". Helen Steiner Rice’s books of inspirational poetry have now sold nearly seven million copies. Her strong religious faith and the ability she had to express deep emotion gave her poems timeless appeal.
She died on the evening of April 23, 1981, a month before her 81st birthday, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.