Patty Smith Hill

Burial Location Visited
Louisville, Kentucky April 21, 2010


Songwriter Patty Hill lays beneath this grave                                Hill lived in Kentucky for most of her life.
marker in Louisville, Kentucky.                                                    She died in New York City in 1946.


Patty Hill and her sister, Mildred, gained mild                               My father and I had difficulty finding Hill's
fame for writing the Happy Birthday song.                                   final resting place, but we had some help
                                                                                               from an employee at the cemetery.

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* Patty Hill was born on March 27, 1868 in Anchorage, Kentucky, which is located not too far from Louisville. After growing up there in Kentucky, Hill attended the nearby Louisville Collegiate Institute. She graduated with flying colors in 1887. In fact, she was the valedictorian of her class.

* After graduating, Patty Hill became a member of the Louisville Kindergarten Training School. Rather than be confined to the regular way of teaching, Hill chose to use her own method of instructing students. She liked to educate her pupils in more interactive ways, letting them play with giant blocks and toys. Hill hoped that this would teach the kindergarteners how to mingle and interact with each other in society. It was for this same reason that she and her sister Mildred (who was also a teacher) later developed the Happy Birthday song.

* The Happy Birthday song, formally titled "Happy Birthday to You", was not entirely original. Its tune comes from the song "Good Morning to All", which Patty and Mildred concocted in 1893. Later on, keeping the melody but changing the lyrics, the siblings created "Happy Birthday to You".

* For their creative efforts at the Louisville Experimental Kindergarten School, where Mildred taught and Patty served as principle, the Hill sisters were honored at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Mildred passed on in 1916, but Patty continued to make strides in education, creating in the 1920's what is now known as the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She also founded the Institute of Child Welfare Research at Columbia University Teacher's College.

* Hill passed away in New York City in 1946, fifty years before she and her older sister were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records states that "Happy Birthday to You" is the most popular and recognized song written in the English language. 

Spouse: None

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