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.
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.
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:
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.
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