(b. Buffalo Lithia Springs, Mecklenburg County, Va., June 16, 1862; d. Raleigh, N. C., Aug. 25, 1915). North Carolina and Convention-wide Woman’s Missionary Union leader. Her father, McGee Heck, whose paternal ancestors came to America from the Palatinate before the Revolutionary War in search of religious liberty, was a lawyer, a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army, a successful businessman, and a prominent Baptist. Fannie Heck was given the name "Exile" in memory of her birthplace to which her mother, Anna Callendine Heck, had gone for refuge from Morgantown, Va. (now W. Va.) because of the Civil War. In later years Miss Heck herself added Scudder, the maiden name of her mother’s grandmother, Jane Scudder Chadwick. She was proud to be a descendant of the Scudder family, famous for its American ministers and foreign missionaries, and she wanted particularly to pay tribute to the ancestor who, because of her convictions, united with the Baptists and for years was the only Baptist in her community.
After the Civil War, Fannie Heck’s parents settled in Raleigh, N. C., where she attended Hobgood Seminary, an elementary school for girls. Later she went to Hollins Institute (now College) near Roanoke, Va., and at 18 joined the First Baptist Church, Raleigh, N. C., where her parents were members. She also began teaching a Sunday school class of young boys. Active in a mission church in the slum section of Raleigh, she led in cultural and civic improvements in her home city and beyond. Miss Heck was a member and vice-president of the Southern Sociological Congress and member of the North Carolina Society of Social Work.
President of the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina from its beginning in Jan., 1886, until her death in 1915, she was also president of the Convention-wide Woman’s Missionary Union, 1892-94,
1895-99, 1906-15. She was one of the founders of the Woman’s Missionary Union Training School (now Carver School of Missions and Social Work) in Louisville, Ky. Under her guidance Woman’s Missionary Union adopted definite courses of mission study for women and young people, inaugurated Royal Service, its official monthly publication (originally Our Mission Field), began a department of personal service (now known as community missions), published the Woman’s Missionary Union Year Book, an annual book of plans and methods for use by local missionary societies, and established Standards of Excellence for societies and auxiliaries to insure more efficient service in all phases of missionary education.
Books written by Miss Heck, author of the Woman’s Missionary Union hymn, "Come, Women, Wide Proclaim," and numerous tracts and articles, include In Royal Service (1913); Everyday Gladness (1915); Sunrise and Other Poems (1916); and The Pageant of the Golden Rule (1916).
James, Minnie Kennedy. Fannie E. S. Heck: A study of the hidden springs in a rarely useful and victorious life, 1939.
Allen, Catherine Allen. Laborers together with God, 1987.
Archival sources in Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives
Frost, James Marion. Papers, AR. 795-109.
Southern Baptist Convention. Woman’s Missionary Union . Publication File, 1902-1997. AR. 517.