Free Read: The Opportunity Circle

This month’s free read was written by Isabella’s best friend and frequent co-author, Faye Huntington (whose real name was Theodosia Foster).

“The Opportunity Circle” is the story of Marion Lansing, a young teen whose life is upended when her mother falls ill, and the family physician tells them they must move to Colorado if she is to be cured.

Book cover featuring young woman in gold gown circle 1900. She has a yellow rose tucked into the bodice of her dress and is holding an open book in one hand.

When the story was written in 1901, physicians often prescribed a change of scenery or climate as a cure for common diseases. And although the author doesn’t mention the name of the mother’s ailment in the story, there’s a good chance that she suffered from tuberculosis.

Brief newspaper article titled "The Cold-Air Cure," which claims "Not one death at Denver Sanitarium from Tuberculosis."
From The Topeka Daily Mail, February 13, 1905.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s tuberculosis—known back then as “consumption” or “white death”—was the country’s leading cause of death. There was no vaccine to prevent the disease, nor antibiotics to treat it.

The Glockner Sanitaium in Colorado Springs, about 1910

But physicians did have one course of treatment. They knew that patients who lived in a dry climate with plenty of sunshine seemed to improve. Colorado, with its dry air, high altitude, and sunny skies, was one place where patients found relief and even saw some improvement over the disease.

The sprawling campus of the Agnes Memorial TB Sanitarium in Denver, about 1910.

By the time Faye Huntington wrote “The Opportunity Circle,” Colorado was home to hundreds of sanitariums, spas, and hospitals, all of which catered to tuberculosis patients. But they were pricey, and many TB patients who bought one-way tickets to Colorado didn’t have the money to pay for expensive treatments.

The Oakes Home, a Denver TB sanitarium (about 1907).

Those less affluent patients erected tent cities outside small towns and mining camps, where they rested and spent as many hours as possible in the sun each day.

In Faye’s story, Marion Lansing’s daily two-mile walks to the mining settlement have some basis in fact. While there’s no record that Faye Huntington ever visited a Colorado mining camp or tuberculosis resort, she probably read newspaper accounts of the many patients who flocked to the mile-high state, and might even have known one or two such patients herself.

You can read “The Opportunity Circle” for free!

Click here to go to where you can choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

The Chautauqua Salute … Part 2

There’s no question that Chautauqua Institution had far-reaching influence over the people who attended the summer assemblies at the turn of the Twentieth Century. But one of Chautauqua’s traditions—the Chautauqua salute—transcended the Institution grounds and became popular across the country.

An 1880 drawing of the Chautauqua Salute by Joseph Becker.
An 1880 drawing of the Chautauqua Salute by Joseph Becker.


You may have read in a previous post how the Chautauqua salute came to be, and how it was used as a gesture of respect and affection for special speakers and instructors at Chautauqua. In that venue, only Bishop John Vincent could initiate the Chautauqua salute.

But outside the Institution, in towns and villages across America, the Chautauqua salute caught on and became something of a sensation.

Francis Edward Clark
Francis Edward Clark

At the 1897 Society of Christian Endeavor convention in San Francisco there were so many attendees, the newspaper reported that Christian Endeavorers had “conquered the city.” And when Christian Endeavor President Francis Edward Clark tried to address the convention, the crowd gave him a Chautauqua salute that lasted several minutes.

When President Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Tacoma, Washington he was greeted by a crowd of 30,000 people waving their handkerchiefs in a Chautauqua salute.

Tacoma Times Oct 4 1913 headline

But American’s didn’t reserve the Chautauqua salute only for respected speakers and past U.S. Presidents. The Los Angeles Herald society page reported on a surprise birthday party for a man named Howard L. Lunt, where “the Chautauqua salute and congratulations” began the program, followed by “dainty refreshments.”

Another 1904 news article told of a group of Christian Scientists who gave the Chautauqua salute to Mary Baker Eddy … who didn’t seem to appreciate the gesture.

Spokane Press WA Jun 13 1904


And a Colorado newspaper reported baseball fans used the Chautauqua salute to cheer for their team after neighbors near the playing field complained about the noise during Sunday games.



Not everyone thought giving the Chautauqua salute was a good idea. By 1912 the U.S. Public Health Service (the precursor of today’s U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) began warning the public of increased health concerns caused by crowds of people waving handkerchiefs.

Fulton County News PA Jan 15 1912


For the most part, Americans ignored the warnings and kept enthusiastically fluttering their handkerchiefs, sometimes with comic results:

Daily Arizona Silver Belt July 12 1902

Tacoma Times Oct 4 1913