Weekly Story: Julia A. Carney and “Little Things”

Weekly Story

Julia A. Fletcher—taking a shorthand class at Tremont Temple in Boston—writes four lines of verse as a class project. After school, she completes the poem and reads it to her class the following Sunday.

… no sooner had it appeared than it was copied by papers throughout the country, and it was not long before it had made its way into many homes. Later the next to the last line of the last stanza was changed to read “Make our earth an Eden,” as it now stands in the poem.—Little Chronicle.



Little Things.


IN 1845, when studying phonography in Andrews & Boyle’s class, Boston, she [Julia A. Carney, née Fletcher] was asked to give an impromptu exercise on the black-board. Only ten minutes were allowed, and in that time she wrote the first verse of “Little Things.” It has been a favorite of children in Sunday-school exhibitions from that time on, and has been recited and sung thousands of times. It was first published in our Sunday-school paper, now called the “Myrtle.”

Julia A. Carney

LITTLE drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean,
And the pleasant land.

So the little moments.
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of Eternity.

So our little errors
Lead the soul away
From the path of virtue,
Far in sin to stray.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our pleasant earth below
Like the Heaven above.

Soon after her little phonographic poem was published it appeared in the Methodist “Sunday-School Advocate,” with an additional verse about missionary pennies, to which she lays no claim.

—E. R. Hanson, Our Woman Workers (1882).

Courtesy of Democratic Thinker