Mabel Crawford Hamilton is perhaps best known in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches as the head librarian at Grace College and Seminary. She and her husband, Ben, served in the library for 25 years, including overseeing the move of the library from the west wing of McClain Hall to the new Morgan Library building in 1969. However she was also an early Brethren missionary to the Central African Republic (then French Equatorial Africa), serving 20 years, beginning in 1932 and later after her 1943 marriage to Ben.
In her memoirs, penned before her death in 2000, Mabel wrote about the “miracle tickets” that provided passage to Africa for Ben and her following World War II.
Mabel, whose family home was in Whittier, Calif., took her new husband to meet Helen Lemmel, who attended the Grace Brethren Church in Pasadena, Calif. Helen had performed professionally and had authored hundreds of hymns, including the well-known Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. “She had a beautiful voice,” recalled Mabel.
“When I came home from Africa during World War II, I met Helen Lemmel for the first time.