Publishing The Pansy magazine was more than just a family affair for Isabella Alden. Writers outside her family circle also contributed poems, biographies, science articles, and other content for the magazine issues. One of those contributors was Harriet Lothrop, who wrote children’s fiction under the pen name of Margaret Sidney.
Harriet’s books were incredibly popular, especially the Five Little Peppers—a series she wrote about brothers and sisters in the fictional Pepper family. Daniel Lothrop, the publisher of the Pepper books, also published Isabella’s books, as well as The Pansy magazine.
Mr. Lothrop was immediately charmed by Harriet’s Pepper books. In fact, he was so impressed, he asked to personally meet Harriet. One thing lead to another, and they eventually married!
Together they became a powerhouse in the publishing and literary communities. They purchased Wayside, the Concord, Massachusetts home that previously belonged to American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There Harriet continued to write her stories and novels; and Daniel enjoyed his weekends there as respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Boston where his publishing house was located.
As individuals, Isabella Alden and Harriet Lothrop could not be more different. Isabella lived a rather quiet life, supporting her husband’s ministry, raising her son, writing her books, teaching at Chautauqua, and giving talks and readings of her stories at churches across the country.
By comparison, Harriet loved a good party. She was a leading force in Concord society. When her daughter Margaret turned nine years old, Harriet, in typical style, threw an all-day celebration. She invited children and adults from around the area to join the birthday celebration.
The highlight of the event was when the children formed a circle around a large artificial rose that had been set up on the lawn. And when the rose petals parted and spread, they revealed little Margaret setting in the center of the rose. Here’s an illustration that appeared in a magazine that printed an account of the event.
Harriet was definitely an imaginative hostess, and knew how to throw a party to please children and adults!
The same was true of her stories. Although Harriet was best known for her children’s books, she also wrote novels for teens and young adults.
One such novel was How Tom and Dorothy Made and Kept a Christian Home.
Newlyweds Tom and Dorothy Foster have a bright future together, but very little money. They’ve pledged to spend their earnings for God’s good, but it seems each new day brings new temptations. Will they be able to keep the promises they made to God and to each other?
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