Our December 2017 read was "Miss Lavinia's Call," a collection of Grace's short stories most carefully chosen by her daughters. It was published in December 1949, a little more than two years after her home-going in February 1947.
Happily, several Christmas stories were included:
Something Quite Forgotten ~ Star of Wonder ~ A King to Rule ~ The Forgotten Friend.
But where did the stories come from?
Long before she began writing novels, Grace was sending short stories on approval to the Christian publications of the day. Sometimes she was successful, other times she was not. Nevertheless, she kept writing and built up quite a portfolio of stories, many of which are unknown to modern readers. Miss Lavinia's Call brought thirteen of these stories back to light and gave readers two "never-before-published" gems— Quiet Hands and A King to Rule. This would be the last Grace Livingston Hill book released by her long-time publisher, J. B. Lippincott Company.
The 1949 J. B. Lippincott first edition was followed much later by its first appearance in paperback published by Bantam in 1982. A Tyndale House/Living Books paperback was published in 1991. Both paperbacks were #64 in each publisher's GLH series.
— • —
If you have a paperback reprint and didn't get out your magnifying glass, you may have missed the tiny print on each story's first page indicating its origin. Here's even more detail than found in those hard-to-read footnotes:
Miss Lavinia's Call appeared in Christian Endeavor World magazine in 1915 and was reprinted with their permission.
Something Quite Forgotten was published in Christmas: An Annual of Christmas Literature and Art in 1932 and was used with the permission of Augsburg Publishing House.
A Government Position appeared in a 1906 issue of Christian Endeavor World magazine and is used by permission.
Star of Wonder was printed in the 1934 edition of Christmas: An Annual of Christmas Literature and Art and also appears by permission of Augsburg Publishing House.
The Ransomers is another 1915 story taken from the pages of Christian Endeavor World and used by permission.
The Esselstynes was Grace's first "book," written when she was a girl. It first appeared in 1877 in Mother's Boys and Girls published by D. Lothrop & Company and later as an individual book in the Mother's Boys and Girls Library.
Safety First was published in 1918 in Smith's Magazine and reprinted by permission of Street & Smith Publications, Inc.
Quiet Hands was new to GLH readers.
A Journey of Discovery appeared in Christian Herald Magazine in 1917 and was reprinted by permission.
A King to Rule was another new gem for GLH readers.
The Call appeared in Christian Youth Magazine about 1930 and was reprinted by permission of The Sunday School Times Company.
Majority's Hearth was listed in the Lippincott publishing notes as "published in a magazine, out of copyright," but we now know it appeared in The Chautauquan in 1892.
A Fair Forclosure is another Christian Endeavor World story used by permission and it appeared in print in 1906.
The Forgotten Friend was a small booklet published in 1916 by The Congregational Christmas Offering Committee as part of a Christmas Offering campaign. A beautiful full-color pasteboard bank was included and meant to collect offerings from a family during the Christmas season. It was reprinted by permission of The Board of Home Missions. You can see both sides of the beautiful bank, as well as the booklet, here.