Isabella Alden and her best friend Theodosia Toll Foster shared many things: a strong Christian faith; a belief in the values of honesty, kindness, and honor; and a true desire to make the world a better place for everyone. They also shared a talent for writing.
Under the pen-name “Faye Huntington,” Theodosia published over forty books, as well as pamphlets, short stories, histories, and other articles for magazines and newspapers.
But perhaps her most beloved short stories appeared in The Pansy magazine, which Isabella edited. For over a decade they collaborated on the magazine’s contents.
You can meet Theodosia’s Great-granddaughter!
Susan Snow Wadley, Theodosia’s great-granddaughter, will be giving an on-line Zoom lecture on Theodosia’s life and writings.
Hosted by the Erie Canal Museum of New York, the lecture is scheduled for:
Date: Thursday, March 24, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon (EST)
Cost: Free! (donations to the museum are welcome)
Click on the link below to register.
This is an excellent way to learn more about the times in which Isabella and Theodosia lived and the events that influenced their young lives.
Isabella Alden was a busy woman. She had full-time duties as a minister’s wife, visiting members of the congregation, leading ladies’ prayer meetings, organizing mission bands, and teaching Sunday school classes. She wrote stories for and edited The Pansy magazine every month—all this at a time when she was producing an average of two books a year!
Somehow, she also found the time and energy to lecture before large audiences at Sunday School conventions, Chautauqua Assemblies, and women’s groups. She regularly addressed members of local CLSC chapters and traveled the country to meet with devoted readers of her books and The Pansy magazine.
This notice of one of Isabella’s lectures appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York) on January 14, 1882:
And this announcement for one of Isabella’s addresses before a Sabbath-school convention appeared in The Bloomfield Record (New Jersey) on March 11, 1882:
When she could, Isabella combined her speaking engagements with visits to family and friends. That was the case in 1878 when she visited her home town of Gloversville, New York.
Years before (in 1866) Isabella married Reverend Gustavus “Gus” Alden and moved away from Gloversville; but her family remained in the area and she visited them as often as possible. In that late summer of 1878, she was able to visit her family in combination with an author speaking tour.
Isabella had just finished writing a short story she called, “People Who Haven’t Time.” The story was not yet published but she was ready to share it with her fans.
On Friday, September 20, 1878, she appeared at the Gloversville Baptist Church to give a public reading of the story.
The local paper, The Gloversville Intelligencer, announced the event and encouraged attendance:
In the next edition, the newspaper gave a full account of the evening and proudly listed the many accomplishments of Gloversville’s favorite home-town girl. Here’s the full 1878 article from The Gloversville Intelligencer:
The story Isabella read at the church that night would eventually be given a final edit and named “People Who Haven’t Time and Can’t Afford It.” In 1880 the story was published in a volume that included another Pansy short story, “What She Said … and What She Meant.”
There are other accounts of Isabella reading her stories before audiences. For example, in 1879 she appeared before a Sunday-School convention in New York to read an original story:
And in 1895 she read her story “Miss Priscilla Hunter” to an audience at the Presbyterian church to help raise funds for the Young Ladies’ Missionary society:
If you haven’t yet read Isabella’s story, “What She Said . . . and What She Meant,” you can read it for free. Click here to begin reading the stories mentioned in this blog post.