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June 11, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Louise Harrison McCraw


Louise Harrison McCraw was born in Buckingham County in February of 1893. By 1920, she was a Grammar School teacher in the county and, sometime before 1930, she moved to Richmond where she and her sister, Elizabeth “Bessie” McCraw (1888-1941), lived in a boarding house on Park Ave. in the city’s Fan District. Bessie worked as a hospital nurse and Louise had become a librarian.  This might be the story of many sisters who moved from Buckingham County to Richmond in the early 20th century; however, Louise’s life took a surprising turn. Together with James McConkey, she became a founder of Richmond’s Braille Circulating Library.  Her title was “Secretary” and the library was originally housed in the Young Men’s Christian Association building.  By 1935, under Louise’s direction, the library was sending evangelical Christian literature to every state in the nation and to sixteen foreign countries.

Today, in its 83rd year of operation, the Library is located on Stuart Ave. and its website states that it “does not charge for any of its services, incurs no debt, operates on a cash basis, receives no federal or state funding, but is sustained by concerned individuals, foundations, and churches. It is unique to note that few ministries have been in continuous operation for so long a period of time without an endowment or some other source of funding. The Braille Circulating Library is truly a ‘faith ministry’.”

For more about the Braille Circulating Library and its mission click here: Braille Circulating Library 

That’s not the end of Louise’s story.  Beginning in the early 1930s, she authored at least a dozen religious novels and a biography of her colleague, James McConkey.  She died on January 25, 1975.  Her published works include:

1934: Starward

1936: Hearts That Understand

1937: Glorious Triumph

1938: Blue Skies

1939: with William McConkey, James H. McConkey, A Man of God

1940: Shining After Rain

1941: Does God Answer Prayer?

1942: Nest Among the Stars

1943: On the Wings of the Morning

1945: Not All That Glitters

1946: Crystal Sea

1952: The Honor of Preston Reed

1961: My Heart’s at Liberty

1965: It Shall be Forever

1979 [?]: As the Snow on the High Hills


Leave a Comment
  1. Marni / Aug 5 2013 5:29 pm

    Hi.. I am new to this thread..and new to learning more about Louise Harrison McCraw.. I have been going through my books and noted I have a signed copy of on the Wings of the Morning. published by the blakiston co in Philadelphia.. Does anyone perhaps no a value..thank You so much. I enjoyed reading the information regarding Ms McCraw..thank you.

    • Joanne Yeck / Aug 5 2013 6:28 pm

      Welcome Marni, I don’t have any idea about a value for Wings of the Morning; however, I plan to write an article about Miss McCraw for the Buckingham Beacon. It will probably be published early next year. Thanks for joining us!

  2. / Jun 17 2013 9:52 am


    Estaline called this morning. She enjoyed your post on Louise Harrison McCraw. It is her belief that the 1979 book As the Snow on the High Hills is not written by Louise Harrison McCraw. (One of her daughters has copies of all the other books.)

    Love, Anne

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 17 2013 12:53 pm

      Thanks, Anne. I’ll do a little more research on “As the Snow on the High Hills.” I wasn’t convinced, that’s why I added the [?].

  3. Joanne Yeck / Jun 11 2013 10:47 am

    Thanks for sharing our link. Slate River Ramblings would be delighted to hear from anyone who knows more about the life and work of Louise Harrison McCraw. Also feel free to comment with memories of reading her novels!


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