Greetings members of the Press looking for information about Oswald and Biddy Chambers.
While I have a standard media page located here, this page provides specific information about Biddy and Oswald Chambers, as well as the biography.
Who were Oswald and Biddy Chambers?
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) was known as the author of thirty books including the well-loved devotional My Utmost for His Highest. My Utmost for His HIghest has not been out of print since first published in 1927.
A Bible study teacher with searing insight (principal of the Bible Training College in London from 1911-1915) and a popular lecturer with the League of Prayer in early 20th century England, Oswald served as a YMCA chaplain during World War I.
Stationed at a YMCA “hut” surrounded by ANZAC troops north of Cairo, Egypt, he focused on the spiritual life of soldiers in a grisly war.
He basically ran a revival among the troops before his untimely death in 1917.
Oswald’s stenographer wife Gertrude Annie Hobbs Chambers (1883-1966), “Biddy,” took notes of all his messages in both England and Egypt, at the astonishing rate of 250 words per minute.
Upon his death, Oswald left his 34 year-old wife Biddy a destitute widow with a four year-old child in the middle of an army camp in Egypt during a world war.
Asked to remain and continue Oswald ministry, Biddy taught Bible classes and helped run the YMCA camp.
She returned to England in 1919 without a pension, but with a trunk full of notes she took from Oswald’s lectures.
Combining the notes with those she’d left behind, the Victorian-reared Biddy founded and ran a boutique personal publishing house.
Over the next 45 years, Biddy compiled, edited and published all the books that carry her husband’s name on the cover.
She did not profit from the work, refusing to take payment. Biddy consistently rolled the profits from every book into producing the next book.
For more information about either Oswald or Biddy, please examine the many blog posts I’ve written about them listed here.
About Mrs. Oswald Chambers
While David McCasland wrote the definitive biography of Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, in 1991, little was known about Biddy.
After I wrote a World War I novel in which Oswald and Biddy served as historical characters in a fictional setting, I became fascinated by Biddy.
I searched behind the scenes for information about this very talented woman and decided she deserved a biography of her own.
As I explained to my agent:
While many people know Oswald Chambers wrote My Utmost for His Highest, most are surprised to learn the devotional was not compiled and published until 10 years after his death.
Who actually put the devotional together and why? How did a woman raised in Victorian England become an astonishing stenographer who followed God’s lead across an ocean, to running a Bible College and a WWI YMCA camp in Egypt?
Where did she find the strength to return to post-war Britain a destitute widow with a small child and remake their life?
What steps did she take to not only compile My Utmost for His Highest, but also produce 29 other books with her late husband’s name on them?
What relationship with God enabled her to run a small publishing business, raise a child and provide hospitality to a never-ending line of visitors and missionaries?
Why did she refuse payment for her life’s work?
Mrs. Oswald Chambers provides insight for modern Christian women, by telling the story of a remarkable woman and how she lived her utmost for God’s highest.
Additional Information about Oswald and Biddy Chambers
I’ve written many blog posts about the couple. You can see the list here.
Michelle Ule is the bestselling author of five inspirational historical novellas and one Navy SEAL novel.
A 35+ year Bible study teacher in a variety of church settings and denominations, she’s also an amateur genealogist.
Long married to a retired naval officer, Michelle and her family live in Northern California.
All photos on this page are high resolution; the Chambers photos are courtesy of Wheaton College Special Collections Library
Michelle Ule is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency (Janet@booksandsuch.com)
Potential Interview Questions
What sparked your interest in Oswald and Biddy Chambers?
Why was Biddy Chambers important?
Tell us about how Biddy and Oswald regarded money.
What role did stenography play in Oswald and Biddy Chambers’ life?
Who were their students and how did their ministries help in the spread of Oswald Chambers’ writings?
How did Biddy compile My Utmost for His Highest?
Tell us about My Utmost for His Highest–copies sold, fame, and what type of devotional it is.
How did World War II’s London blitz destroy all the copies of Oswald Chambers’ books?
What happened to Oswald and Biddy’s only child, Kathleen?
Feel free to contact Michelle Ule with any further questions, here.