Behind the Hymn: Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Brighten the Corner Where You Are is a hymn we do not hear in church as often today as we used to.  Yet, it has a catchy tune and wonderful message.

The hymn was written by Ina Mae Duley Ogdon.

Ina Mae Duley Ogdon

Ogdon was born on April 3, 1872 to William and Laetitia Wilson Ogdon in Rossville, Illinois.  She wrote her first hymn, “Open Wide the Windows” in 1892.  With that first hymn, she began a life long collaboration with composer Charles Gabriel.

In 1896, she married James Weston Ogdon.  Their only child, William Duley Ogdon was born in 1901.

The song is believed to be based on an experience she had as a child.  According to, Ogdon hoped to preach on the Chautauqua circuit.  Her father became ill and she was forced to abandon her plans of ministry, to care for him.

She is said to write the lyrics to encourage others to “serve the Lord in ma­ny dif­fer­ent ways and cir­cum­stanc­es. In other words, make the best of where you find your­self.”

Charles Gabriel

The song entwines the self-sacrifice the composer embraced. It showcases the words of Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the Light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candle stick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, That they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” (KJV)

Her friend, Charles Gabriel, composed the music for this hymn.

Ogdon died on May 18, 1964 in Toledo, Ohio.


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