Isabella Macdonald Alden: Contribution as American Author

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      Isabella Macdonald Alden (Pansy) 1841-1930 American children's author and popular religious novelist. She was born in Rochester, New York, and educated by her father and at boarding schools. After publishing her first story in a local paper at the age of 10, she set out as a schoolgirl to explain Christianity to children in Helen Lester, which won a prize from the Christian Tract Society and was published under her penname 'Pansy' in 1865. In 1866 she married Presbyterian minister Gustavas R. Alden. They had a son whose ill health prompted them to move first to Winter Park, Florida, and later to Palo Alto, California. Alden was active in the Sunday School movement, the Young People's Society for Christian Endeavour the Chautauqua movement, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

      In addition to writing for and editing several religious magazines, Isabella wrote or edited nearly 150 books, most of them for children. Her Chautauqua novels, beginning with Four Girls at Chautauqua (1876), helped to establish Christian summer camps. Her most popular novels were a series based on her own experiences Ester Ried: Asleep and Awake (1870), Ester Ried Yet Speaking (1883), and Ester Ried's Namesake (1906), but the works considered her most important were a life of Christ, The Prince of Peace (1890), and a retelling of Christ's life in a modern setting, Yesterday, Framed in To-Day (1898). By 1900 her books were selling worldwide, translated into many languages, at the rate of 100,000 per year. Alden left an unfinished autobiography, Memories of Yesterday, completed by her niece Grace Livingston Hill.

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