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by Martha Finley
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Ladies Home Journal, April 1893
There has been almost no character in American juvenile fiction which has attained more widespread interest and affection than "Elsie."
Set amid the sweet blossoms of a southern mansion, this timeless classic delves in to the heart of Elsie - by all accounts, an extraordinary little girl. Share in Elsie's quest for love from her earthly father as it leads to a mature understanding of the love of her Father in Heaven. Join Elsie as she suffers through endless hours of scrutiny from Miss Day, her mean-spirited school teacher, taunting from her mischievous young Uncle Arthur, and scoldings from a cold-hearted father she desires to please - all with the peace and quiet countenance that comes from knowing she is God's child. This, the first of the heart-warming Elsie books, will both challenge and inspire you.
Card catalog description
Living with her uncle's family on a southern plantation in the mid-nineteenth century, motherless eight-year-old Elsie finds it difficult to establish a relationship with her worldly father who seems indifferent to her religious principles.
From the Publisher
Hibbard Publications is dedicated to bringing Martha Finley's 28 books in Dodd Mead's originally published series of The Elsie Books to a new generation of young readers! Here they are, complete and unabridged. They will speak to the hearts of girls and young women as much today as they did when first published in the late 1800's. With no updating for today's reader, these classic originals give an honest view of the writing style and subjects of the nineteenth century American mind.
Martha Finley penned the adventures of Elsie Dinsmore, over more than 38 years, often using members of her own family for characterization. Truth, faith, religion, morality, and humanity are the underlying virtues woven throughout the storytelling of this extraordinary series of fiction for children.
As Miss Finley's stories evolve, Elsie Dinsmore is faced with a myriad of trials and tribulations. Elsie's devout faith and clear knowledge of Scipture enable her to persevere through each troublesome circumstance. As Elsie matures into a godly woman, so her unique family grows, adding to the lovable - and sometimes not so likeable - cast of Miss Finley's interesting characters.
In 1868, the New York firm of Dodd Mead released the first "Elsie" book, Elsie Dinsmore, becoming an instant bestseller. The successful series, The Elsie Books, was launched, making Finley one of the most renowned children's writers of her time, with book sales second only to Louisa May Alcott. By 1945, 5 million copies of volumes 1-12, alone, had been sold.
Hibbard Publications is honored to bring back this series of timeless classics, full of the family values and personal faith that are jeopardized in today's society. We hope The Elsie Books will inspire today's reader, as they have for generations, to find richer relationships with the members of their family and with the Lord.
In 1853, after the death of her parents, Miss Finley moved to New York, and later to Philadelphia. She became a private educator and taught students in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, and until 1874, she lived between both New York and Philadelphia. When her school was destroyed during the war, she moved to Bedford, Pennsylvania, living with an aunt and sister. While in Philadelphia in 1876, at the Centennial Exposition, she visited relatives in Elkton, Maryland. With the onset of poor health and the advice of her physician residing there, she decided to make Elkton her home.
Miss Finley, at age 26, began her literary career writing a newspaper article and Sunday School Stories for a Presbyterian publication. After becoming dependant upon others because of poor health, she prayed for a means to support herself. After three years of writing, her first book, Elsie Dinsmore, was published. Young readers demanded more, causing Miss Finley to comply, until there were 28 books in the series.
An invalid for many years, Miss Finley wrote many of her books while prostrated with illness. A simple, pleasant woman with delicate features, never married and childless, Miss Finley was one of the most beloved authors, by children, of all time, with over 25 million readers in both America and England. She lived and wrote quietly until her death in Elkton, Maryland in 1909.
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