In 1868 printmakers Currier and Ives published a set of illustrations titled, “The Four Seasons of Life.” And since today marks the first day of Spring, sharing the old-time prints seem like a fitting way to mark the change of season.
Known as the “Printmakers to the American People,” Currier and Ives produced prints on a wide range of subjects: comics and reproductions of great paintings, illustrations of disasters and wrecks, scenes of farm and city life, and political lampoons.
When “The Four Seasons of Life” series was published, Isabella Alden was a married twenty-seven-year-old woman and a popular best-selling author of Christian fiction.
It may have happened that Isabella had Currier and Ives’ prints in mind when she wrote Miss Dee Dunmore Bryant, a story that featured little Daisy Bryant who longed for colorful illustrations to adorn the bare walls of her “study.”
For over fifty years Currier and Ives produced prints that documented almost every phase of life in America—a country that was rapidly growing from adolescence to maturity.
And for over sixty years Isabella Alden wrote inspiring stories about American men, women and children who chose Jesus as their savior, friend, and guide.
This month’s free read is a short story that first appeared in The Pansy magazine in 1893.
The story is about three school friends who pass a snowy afternoon by making up stories for each other. For two of the girls, the stories are simply fun diversions; but for Sarah Brewster, one of their stories strikes a little too close to home.
You can read “Living a Story” on your phone, ipad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Or you can read it as a PDF document on your computer screen. You can also print the story to share with friends.
To begin reading, just click on the book cover to choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
This short story, set in a big city during the dead of winter, first appeared in the 1875 book Dr. Deane’s Way. Isabella and her best friend Faye Huntington (whose real name was Theodosia Toll Foster) contributed several stories each to the book.
In Isabella’s story “Choker and Old Stuffy,” Tom Benton and Dick Graves are struggling medical students. They’re so poor they have to take turns wrapping up in a ragged old comforter just to stay warm during the cold winter months! But a chance invitation from an unexpected source will soon change their lives forever.
You can read this story on your phone, ipad, Kindle, or other electronic device.
Or you can read it as a PDF document on your computer screen. You can also print the story to share with friends.
Click on the book cover to choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
It’s the last day of February, and some parts of the U.S. are waking up to a cold winter morning. There’s snow on the ground and a nip in the air; and for many children, those conditions equate to perfect sledding weather.
The children in Isabella Alden’s books are fond of sledding, too, especially the boys.
In Her Mother’s Bible, Ralph Selmser looks forward to having a day of fun that includes sledding:
“Tomorrow’s Saturday, and I’m going to give Ned a ride on my sled, and I’m going to get green things and berries for Mary Jane to trim up the room for father’s birthday; and there isn’t a thing to do all day but I’ll rather do than not.”
For some of Isabella’s characters, sledding wasn’t just for fun and games. Sidney (in Sidney Martin’s Christmas) uses his sled in a variety of different and practical ways.
With his sled, Sidney gives a pleasant ride to a friend. He also hauls heavy items, and transports an injured boy home after he takes a tumble in the snow.
Joseph, the young hero of A Dozen of Them, didn’t own a sled of his own, but still found a way to enjoy sledding.
He liked nothing better than to turn pony himself, and give Rettie a ride on her box sled; and so through the day everything was merry and happy.
Later in the story, Joseph is astonished to learn he is the recipient of a sled of his own! His friends joyously break the news to him:
And then all the children talked at once. “Why, you had a hand-sled!” said one. “A perfect beauty!” exclaimed another. “One of the boss kind!” explained a third. “And it has your name on it in red letters.”
Adults also enjoyed sliding through the snow. Toboggans, which are longer than child-sized sleds, could carry more than one passenger.
In her books Isabella didn’t mention grown-ups enjoying downhill sledding, but these images show it was a popular winter pastime for people of all ages.
In fact, sledding and tobogganing were so much fun in Isabella’s time, children, especially, didn’t always wait for perfect conditions like fresh snow and gently-sloping hills—they made do with what they had.
That’s what these children did in 1921. They took advantage of a sleety morning by sledding down the steps of the War and Navy building in Washington D.C.
You can read all the stories mentioned in this post for free! Just click on a link below to get started: