Instead of attending college, Helen became the family breadwinner
and supported her mother and sister. Initially she was employed
at the Lorain Electric Light and Power Company where she demonstrated
how to create attractive lamp shades. Energetic and enterprising,
Helen asked to be trained as a bookkeeper. Having mastered those
skills, she started designing eye-catching display windows and,
having proved that her insights in marketing were sound, she became
the company's advertising manager. In time she was invited to
be a spokeswoman for the Ohio Public Service Company and, in her
twenties, crisscrossed the country giving speeches. In addition
to promoting the advantages of the electric lighting industry,
she also spoke about the importance of the opinions of women as
consumers and about the value of women's talents in the workplace.
|Helen Steiner Rice, often referred to as the "poet laureate of
inspirational verse", was born Helen Elaine Steiner on May 19,1900.
Even as a little girl, the older daughter of Anna and John Steiner
of Lorain, Ohio loved to write rhyming couplets and to preach
about God's love to her family. Pretty, pert and precocious, young
Helen became a conscientious and outstanding high school student.
Her teachers, some of whom were suffragists supporting women's
right to vote, encouraged the teenager to set high goals. She
dreamed of attending college - her high school yearbook noted
that she hoped to become a Congress Woman - but her plans changed
unexpectedly when her father died in the flu epidemic of 1918,
the same year she graduated from high school.
*Biographical material by Virginia Wiltse, co-author of Ambassador of Sunshine,
published in 1994 by Fleming H. Revell, a Division of Baker Book