This site is dedicated to the life and published writings of Isabella Alden. Here you can read more about Isabella, find links to her books, read short stories, and enjoy some facts and trivia about Isabella and the world in which she lived.

Whether you’re a new reader of Isabella’s books or a long-time fan, you’re sure to find something of interest here. Enjoy your stay!

Click on the image to visit Isabella’s blog.

57 thoughts on “Home

  1. Thank for for converting these wonderful books into kindle format and also free pdf’s. I just recently discovered them on Amazon and subsequently found your site. I really appreciate the lovely covers! I love Isabella Alden’s stories and have many of them either as ‘real’ books or kindle, but was delighted to find some in your collection that I couldn’t find before, it’s like finding a golden nugget! I also love Susan Warner, Agnes Giberne and Amy le Feuvre’s books.

    1. Isn’t our digital age great? We have instant access to so many wonderful old books! I’m glad you’re enjoying Isabella Alden’s books on Kindle. We’ll keep hunting for more of her books to post on this site and on Kindle.

      1. Thank You for all the work You are doing to prepare these clean, uplifting, biblical books here! I appreciate it, and I’m thankful that my kids will have a ton of them on our ereader.

    2. These books are so wonderful ..I cannot thank you enough for making them available. I’m hoping to share more with my family who loves these books and teach us about Christ. Praying for salvation too. I wish I could get these books in the hands of more people. Thankful & grateful to God for you!! Jael

  2. I am so enjoying your sit; thank you for the emails with the great articles, am enjoying those on Chautauqua lately, and I was grateful you sent me a notice when a book of Isabella’s had just come out in Kindle, “A Pocket Measure.” I got it right away and I love it! A wonderful site, thank you again!!

  3. Wonderful site! I appreciate your feature on Chautauqua and would like your permission to use several of your old photos/postcards for a publication on the ties between Americans and the Holy Land in the 19th century.

    1. Lenny, I’m glad you enjoyed the Chautauqua posts. I sent an email to you about your request to use images, using the email address you provided when you posted your comment. —Jenny

  4. Dear Jenny, Is there a sequel to The Hall in the Grove? I simply adored that book and would give worlds to know what became of both Paul and Caroline! I literally wept when the dainty, slightly dim-witted Aimee came into her own at kindergarten class; and loved the scenes set in the “Temple.” Cannot get enough of these Chautauqua books! Please, is there a sequel? Or are those characters featured in any other of Pansy’s wonderful books? Thanks so much and thanks a hundredfold for taking the time to maintain this site. I appreciate the work you put into it and am getting so much out of it! Blessings! Karen N, Rochester, NY (right down the road from Chautauqua!).

    1. Karen, I love that book, too! So far I haven’t found a sequel to The Hall in the Grove, and I don’t know of any of Isabella’s other books that mention the characters. I’ve even combed through stories in The Pansy magazine hoping that one of her short stories might have mentioned Paul or Caroline or Mrs. Fenton (she’s one of my favorite characters), but no luck. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sequel; I just haven’t found it yet. I’m always watching out for more of Isabella’s books to share. I’ll keep you posted on any new finds. All the best to you! Jenny

      1. Thanks, Jenny! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one! And yes, I did love Mrs. Fenton too! Where do you do you’re looking when you are trying to hunt down new to you Isabella books? And, I am actively doing research on the Chautauqua season for next year, looking for a place to stay so that I can make a little pilgrimage to the many sites in Pansy’s books. I’ve discovered that some of the cottages there have some very pretty accommodations, and are not outrageously expensive! Naturally, they go fast. So I’m doing everything I can to get the research together so that I can make a recommendation to Pansy’s many friends.

      2. Jenny, what’s stopping you? I’m hoping to “cook up” a mini-Chautauqua gathering featuring YOU as a main speaker in the Hall in the Grove! Pray about it, sister! XO

      3. Chautauqua is definitely on my short list of places I HAVE to visit soon. Please keep us all posted on your plans, Karen. I’d love to hear about your experiences at Chautauqua and I know readers of this blog would, too. —Jenny

  5. Jenny, I’d love to know if you have any thoughts on why Miss Webster (crippled lady in Twenty Minutes Late) and Mr. Holden (wonderful pastor and obvious suitor to the aforementioned deeply spiritual lady in same) decided NOT to wed. I was in tears over that and wondered if Miss Webster refused him, thinking that he “deserved” a wife who could give him children (!?) or what. I’m hoping you’ll say “Well, all that is resolved in the secret sequel!”, but my guess is that it’s a Victorian thing. Any thoughts? Thanks and thanks for all you do to keep Isabella in our midst. Warmly, Karen

    1. The courtship of Miss Webster and Mr. Holden is one of Isabella’s untold stories we may never know the details of … but the romantic streak in me says their story would make a wonderful novel! —Jenny

      1. I totally agree. I sniffed romance when the characters were in the room together but wasn’t sure until Mr. Holden confessed all. Then the tears came! I just love Isabella’s heart for these sorts of interrupted love stories. Write it for us, won’t you?

  6. Hi! I’ve been a fan of Grace Livingston Hill since the late 60s when my mother gave me a book to read that I soon found would be a longtime favorite. I was around 10 or 12. Im now in my 60s, so don’t really remember if it was Phoebe Dean, The Best Man, or The Enchanted Barn.

    But, this last week, the story has taken an unexpected, and exciting turn.

    I was busy cleaning out some old family junk. It appeared to be box after box of paperwork and moldy junk. We did find some boxes of old pictures, and papers that looked like old contracts, deeds, and canceled checks. They seemed to be dating back to as early as the mid 1800’s. We didn’t really look through it other than to confirm that it didn’t look like any family that we recognized, but, just to be sure, we kept it to look at later.

    A few days later, we went to my brother’s home and started to look through the photos and papers. As I was going through it, I came across a handmade book, one like a student would make in school. The title said “Poems by James Whitcomb Riley”. In the lower left corner it said “by Grace Livingston at 15”. I thought little of it other than…”hmm! Another person named Grace Livingston. But MY Grace is Grace Livingston HILL!”

    As we continued through the papers, we came across a bunch of deed type papers with the name G R Alden on them. Then a LOT of papers that were signed by Isabella M Alden. The pictures had handwritten notes on them, like “Frank Hill”, and “To my Auntie Bella”.

    I decided to google who Isabella Alden was, and to my surprise (but not YOURS, I’m sure!) I had stumbled onto a collection of personal papers from Grace Livingston Hill’s family! There were even handwritten letters from Raymond MacDonald Alden concerning their property in Chatuagua.

    I thought you might be interested in news of my discovery, so decided to write. I’ll also be sending this story to the Isabella Alden Website. How exciting!!!

    Dara Rowe.

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Wow, Dara, you’ve discovered a treasure box! I’m so excited for you (and a wee bit jealous)! Those photos and notes, deeds and contracts really can help tell the stories of the lives of Isabella and her family; and they’re all the more precious when they’re in their handwriting. They’re the kind of documents I’d LOVE to get my hands on!

      If you ever decide you want to share what you found with devoted fans of Isabella Alden and Grace Livingston Hill, I hope you’ll let me know. I’d be happy to get the word out if you decide to share them on social media. Also, you have an open invitation to share as many of the items as you like here on this blog. I know my blog readers would love to see them.

      Congratulations, Dara! And thank you for letting me know about your very exciting discovery!

      All the best to you,
      Jenny Berlin

      1. Oh, Dara! How exciting and wonderful!! I echo Jenny’s urgings for you to share them if you feel you can. Jenny is one of a few “gatekeepers” of Isabella’s legacy and I’m sure she’s delicately drooling over this find. God bless you and enjoy your discovery! Love in Christ, Karen

  7. I notice that your Free Reads are books not available on Amazon.ca’s Kindle library for purchase. Is there an e-reader I can buy in Canada for accessing these free reads, rather than just reading them on a computer screen or tablet?

    1. Mary, your question couldn’t be more timely! One of our goals for 2018 is to make Free Reads available in other formats besides PDF. The process is going to take a little time, but we’re working on it. In the meantime, you can read the existing Free Reads on your Kindle by loading them into your Kindle library. The easiest way to do that is to connect your Kindle to your PC or Mac via USB; just drag the file or copy/paste it to your Kindle folder. Option 2 is to e-mail the PDF to your Kindle’s e-mail address. You can find your Kindle’s e-mail address on your Kindle’s Settings page; or you can log on to Amazon and select Manage My Kindle, where you’ll find the e-mail address listed. I hope this helps in the short-term. I’ll keep you posted on our progress in publishing Free Reads in additional formats. Thanks, Mary!

      1. Thank you so much for your response to my question. Option 2 worked for me. I never knew I could add other files [i.e., pdf] to my basic Kindle before; I thought I might have to buy a more advanced version or a tablet, or some other wireless device for it to work when not attached to my desktop computer. Also, I haven’t checked if the very small print can be enlarged, but if not, I will have some use for my 3.25 glasses other than just sewing!

        As far as my interest in Isabella Alden’s books goes, I want to add to my library and read every book she has ever written [I have the 20 numbered paperback and some other printed editions, and all those available from Amazon.ca and your site in e-book or pdf format — just as I have in my have in my library [in printed copy] and have read [twice — and “Marcia Schuyler” several times] all 100 numbered paperback editions of Grace Livingston Hill’s books (and The Grace Livingston Hill Story) and any new ones offered in Kindle, as well as all six of Ruth Livingston Hill’s printed books. I have been a frequent visitor to the Grace Livingston Hill and Isabella Alden sites to read everything I can about these two wonderful authors and their lives. At one time I even looked up on Google the street address and house where Grace Livingston Hill lived and wished I could go and see it in person.

        I am so glad there are other people who are still interested in these books. I have no interest in modern romance novels [any written later than the books I read in my church library during my years in high school], and I very much avoid any books that have been “revised and updated for modern readers” (i.e., tampered with).

        I am thankful to God and to you and others who are not allowing these books to fade into history. I find them inspiring and just as relevant to Christian witness and experience as when they were written.

      2. You and I are kindred spirits, Mary! These books so special and, like you, I think they deserve to be discovered by today’s readers. I’m glad you were able to add the Free Reads to your Kindle. There are more on the way! —Jenny

  8. I have been so intrigued by the concept of boarding houses so common in Pansy’s books that I have gotten into starting one myself. Just like in the 1800’s, there are many people who cannot afford a house or apartment or are working in a place short term. So I have gotten into renting rooms. Much of the interesting material in her books comes from the mix of characters thrown together who would have never met otherwise, except for being in the same boarding house. I hope you will cover boarding houses and the role they played in an upcoming blog entry.

    1. I enjoy Isabella’s stories set in boarding houses, too, Barbara. Workers Together is one of my favorites because, as you mentioned, the characters who live at the boarding house are so diverse and really help drive the story. Thanks for your blog post suggestion; I’ll definitely put that topic on my calendar for this year! Best of luck to you with your new “boarding house” endeavor! —Jenny

  9. I’ve been searching for the complete Chautauqua series in paperback – and can find only a few titles here and there. Is there no money to be made printing paperbacks anymore? Is the audience just too small? How will we read books when an EMP wipes out the power grid (and even electronics)?

    1. You make a good point, Stuart! In general, paperbacks are expensive to publish, especially in small quantities; but since my goal is to make Isabella’s books available to as many of today’s readers as possible, I’ll definitely investigate the possibility of producing the Chautauqua series in paperback. I’ll keep you posted on my progress; and thanks for the suggestion! —Jenny

      1. Most of the used copies I’ve located were published by the GLH LIbrary (Grace Livingston Hill). Print On Demand B&W paperbacks sell for about $10 – twice the typical $5 cost of a traditional print run. But, they are printed one at a time! The last I checked, the setup cost for one POD title was $400. Maybe GLH Library could be persuaded to offer their Isabella Alden titles again via POD? I have no idea if the typesetting and cover designs for GLH library are convertible to what POD machines require. The typical setup has you submit a PDF.


      2. Divide and conquer: if someone provided PDF files ready to submit to POD providers, then other people could pay for small POD runs. Still others could provide a way to get people together for a print run. Any or none of these steps could be paid. If I am floating $1000 for a POD run, it would be reasonable to pay $50 for a ready to go PDF.

      3. After scrounging the used market for print copies of Isabella Alden, I find there are 3 categories of copies:

        1) original editions selling for $1000s
        2) GLH library editions selling for $4-$6 (list price in 1996,1997 $5.99)
        3) older editions of titles not published by GLH library selling for $20-$30

        Those titles not picked up by GLH library seem to be where Print on Demand can do the most good – maybe even make a profit, Pansy style! PoD copies will have to sell for $10-$12 for a 50% gross margin. That cannot compete with the GLH titles – BUT, that is half the cost of the $20-$30 older editions. An example is Mag and Margaret, which is a stand alone title. This is the market to aim for.

  10. Great info, Stuart! Your research tracks with ours. We’ve been publishing paperback editions of Isabella’s books, and more are on their way! You can find paperback copies of Only Ten Cents, Reuben’s Hindrances, What They Couldn’t, and other Pansy novels on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. We’re working on getting even more books published in print format this year, so stay tuned for new announcements. Thanks, Stuart!

  11. I have a copy of a pansy book with a handwritten message. I would like to know if it was written by Isabella or someone else. The copy of the book was published in May 1904. The simple inscription is dated Dec. 1906, Rochester, NY. I am just very curious about it. Appreciate any help or thoughts.

    1. What an intriguing find, Katrina! Isabella was so involved in Chautauqua Institution, and Chautauqua was so close to Rochester, it does make me wonder if the inscription could be hers. In 1901 Isabella and her family moved to Palo Alto, California; after that she seldom traveled outside the state, but it is possible she could have made a trip to New York in 1906. I have an example of Isabella’s handwriting from 1880; she was 39 years old at the time, and living with her husband, son and step-daughter in Cincinnati. Here’s a link to the image of her handwriting. Hopefully, it’s clear enough for you to compare it to the inscription in the book. Please let us know if you think it’s a match! —Jenny

  12. While reading Pansy stories, I’ve often wondered about what happens when Nature calls, both for healthy adults and for invalids. This article is a good starting point:


    For night-time bedroom use, the chamber pot, often with fresh dirt available to dump on top to cut smell and disease, was the usual. Invalids used a bed side chamber pot, or a bed pan. Think about that when you read about the tender care provided for invalids. Today, we take it for granted that some professional nurse will do that.

    From stackexchange: “In the US, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the period of the widespread adoption of flushing toilets. Prior to that, the most likely route would have been something similar to a chamber pot, or else an outhouse.”

    So many other exciting innovations like typewriter, stenograph, mimeograph are detailed in Pansy, but I have yet to see a mention of this one. I suppose the subject is too gross for the target audience, and not enough interest in logistics. You won’t find it in Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, or even L. Frank Baum either.

    I’ll have to remember that dumping dirt on top trick when camping.

    1. You raise a good point, Stuart. Being a nurse during Isabella’s lifetime was not for the faint of heart! She often wrote about nurses, including professional nurses, but her books concentrate more on the spiritual growth of her characters rather than the logistics of professions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! -Jenny

  13. It has been a pleasant surprise to find this place on the net. (I’m not sure about the proper term to use to identify it.). I’d no idea of the current level of interest in Isabella Macdonald Alden. I’m here just to mention my appreciation — she was my grandmother.

    1. I’m so glad you found us, Mr. Alden! There are quite a few people who love to read your grandmother’s stories and learn a bit about her life. She was a remarkable person and a talented writer; it’s my great pleasure to spread the word about her books. Thank you for taking the time to say “hello”! —Jenny Berlin

    2. How lovely to hear from Pansy’s grandson! If you read some of the comments on Jenny’s wonderful posts about the life, times, and works of your wonderful grandmother, you’ll soon see that many of us, myself included, credit her work as formative in our Christian walk, more so than many of the countless sermons we’ve heard over the years. God bless you! Warmly, Karen in Rochester, NY (close by where your she and her kin lived!)

    3. I was so lucky to find Isabella’s books about 15 years ago. Since then, she has become my favorite author. I search used bookstores for her books, and I’m told they sell as soon as they come in. Her characters and writing are real and vivid and true. I’m certain to find in each book something that will help me daily, something that helps me understand someone else, some fault(s) that need to be addressed, and reminders to keep my eyes on the truly important things. She has helped deepen and strengthen my Christian faith, and I’m very grateful for her books and her willingness to testify and share her faith. Thank you for posting.

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