Helen Steiner Rice
Helen Steiner Rice was born May 19, 1900, in Loraine, Ohio. A diligent student, Steiner Rice had hopes of attending college after high school graduation. However, this goal was never realized, as her father died that same year (1918) from influenza, forcing Helen to begin working as the provider of the family. She took a job with the Lorain Electric Light and Power Company, and eventually worked her way up to advertising manager, a position rarely held by women at the time. Her entrepreneurial and energetic attitude led to countrywide travel in her career, and she began giving motivational speeches. During a business trip in 1928, she met her husband, Franklin Rice, a wealthy banker who lost all his assets in the stock market crash of 1929. As a result, he fell into a deep, personal depression, eventually committing suicide in 1932.
Helen Steiner Rice continued on, making the most of her situation with an optimistic outlook. A year before her husband’s death, she began working for the Gibson Art Company, and ultimately, became the greeting card editor. She had a knack for inspirational verse, and her uplifting messages were widely popular. What began as encouraging words to family, friends and co-workers quickly became greeting card messages. She received further exposure when her poetry was read on the Lawrence Welk Show in the 1960s.
In the years to follow, Steiner Rice published several collections of her inspirational verse, selling nearly seven million copies to date. She set up the Helen Steiner Rice Foundation, donating millions of dollars to charitable organizations. Because of her strong faith, encouragement of others, and generosity of spirit, she has been deemed the “inspirational poet laureate” of her time. Steiner Rice continued working almost up to her death in 1981.