Free Read: How They Went to Europe

Harriet Lothrop (writing under the pen name of Margaret Sidney) had teenagers in mind when she penned this week’s charming free read in 1884.

She loved children of all ages, and she was constantly on the look-out for ways to help them move “upward and onward,” as she once wrote.  She believed every “bright young life” needed stimulus, and she recognized that teenagers especially needed help navigating their way through life. She encouraged adults to “show our interest and sympathy with these young creatures in all their pursuits. The benefit will not be wholly theirs, for we shall gain as much as we give. Let us try it.”

Harriet was a great organizer of parties and clubs for young people (much like the fictional club she wrote about in today’s free read). From experience she knew such gatherings were a way for young people to blossom under the guidance of “wise and congenial older folk.”

She followed her own advice and helped create different clubs in her town of Concord, Massachusetts, each with an aim to both entertain and challenge young people to grow and learn. One of the membership organizations she founded was the Children of the American Revolution, which is still a thriving organization today.

Illustration a round lapel pin, which features the name of the organization in gold against a blue background. Behind the name of the club is the silhouette in gold of an eagle with its wings extended, and an American flag.
A 1914 lapel pin for Children of the American Revolution, from “Patriotic Societies of the United States and Their Lapel Insignia, by Sydney A. Phillips.

She founded it with the purpose of inspiring “true patriotism and love of country” in young people; and she served as the national president of the organization for many years. You can visit the organization’s website here.

Old photo of two women standing outside on a sidewalk in front of a large building. Both women wear dresses, hats, and gloves commensurate with the early 1920s. Mrs. Lothrop carries a large bouquet of flowers adorned with a large bow.
Harriet Lothrop (on the let) and Mrs. Frank Mondell in 1920, after Mrs. Mondell was elected President of the Society of the Children of the American Revolution.

Her novel How They Went to Europe offered another idea for a club where young people and adults could join together for a common purpose:

Book cover for How They Went to Europe, showing a stack of suitcases of varying sizes and colors against a blue background.

Disappointed she cannot go to Europe with her wealthy relatives, Miss Carine Hedge decides to form a club to plan an imaginary trip to Europe. To Carine’s surprise, many of her friends are in the same situation: they long to travel abroad, but haven’t the means. Soon, Carine’s club is the most sought-after membership in town; but as she and her friends meet to pore over maps, read guide books, and go through the motions of pretending to plan a trip, Carine can’t help but wonder if her dearest wish might one day become a reality.

You can read How They Went to Europe or free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Just click here to download your preferred format from

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can read, print, and share with friends.

Sadly, our month of Margaret Sidney has come to an end.

You can read prior weeks’ margaret sidney free reads by clicking on the links below:

how tom and dorothy made and kept a christian home

The Little Red Shop

The Old Brimmer Place

A Month of Margaret Sidney!

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.

Black and white photo of Margaret Sidney from the 1890s. She has dark hair worn in the style of the period in a curly knot on top of her head. She wears pince nex glasses. Her gown has a modest scoop neckline surrounded by deep rows of ruffles. Around her throat is tied a wide black ribbon from which a jeweled cross is hung.
Margaret Sidney about 1895, image from the New York Public Library

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.

Black and white photo of Daniel Lothrop. His hair is neatly cut with touches of grey at his temples and above his ears. He has a very full beard and mustache, which also have touches of grey. He wears a high-collar shirtfront with a thin black bow tie, a vest and suit coat with wide lapels.
Daniel Lothrop

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!

Embossed hard cover of the book, The Stories Polly Pepper Told. The cover is in green with gold embossed letters and figures of children. Decorative embellishments of vines and patterns are printed in brown.
An 1899 cover of one of the Pepper books, The Stories Polly Pepper Told

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. 

Black and white photo of Wayside, a three-story home with clapboard siding and shutters at the windows. On the left side of the home is a Victorian trimmed veranda that circles around to the side of the house. A first floor bay window has a balcony above it that is accessed through french shuttered doors. A split rail fence, covered in a flowering vine, separates the front lawn from the sidewalk.
Wayside, as it appeared in 1908.

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.

Cover image for novel, 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?

You can read How Tom and Dorothy Made and Kept a Christian Home for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can read, print, and share with friends.

We’re celebrating Margaret Sidney all month long!

Join us next week for another story by Margaret Sidney you can read for free!