The Macdonald Sisters

Two inseparable sisters, Marcia and Isabella Macdonald, are at the heart of this family of authors. Marcia Macdonald married Rev. Charles Livingston in 1855 and Isabella Macdonald married Rev. G.R. Alden in 1866 and the Livingston and Alden families were very close.  Not only did they enjoy each others' company, they often wrote together. Choose an authors name from the menu to learn more about the members of this close-knit family.

From 1874 to 1896 , Pansy and her husband were the editors of a weekly children's magazine called, appropriately, "The Pansy." It began as a weekly Sunday School paper of just a few pages, and later it grew to a much larger offering, sent in "numbers" to subscribers by mail. It was full of stories, woodcut illustrations, news of new inventions, missionary endeavors, and many varied items of interest to the children who joined The Pansy Society.

Much of "The Pansy" was written by the Alden and Livingston families. As you delve into the pages of a volume of The Pansy, you find that Pansy only contributed a story or two, and perhaps a serial each week. Rev. Alden often wrote pieces and poems as "G.R.A." Their son, Raymond, wrote as "Paranete." Isabella's sister, Marcia, wrote as "Mrs. C.M. Livingston" and had a column called "Baby's Corner." Rev. Livingston, Isabella's brother-in-law, made contributions as "C.M.L." or "Uncle Charles." Niece Grace Livingston also wrote for the paper, contributing her first stories in the early 1870's.

The entire family circle and a few close friends collaborated on two books: A Sevenfold Trouble in 1889 and The Kaleidoscope in 1892. Both books began as serials in "The Pansy." A Sevenfold Trouble tells its story in alternating chapters from seven authors' perspectives, while The Kaleidoscope is a collection of stories told about a single picture of a girl and her cat—and each author's idea of what they were up to. 

a sevenfold trouble and kaleidoscope

There were so many letters about "A Sevenfold Trouble," that Pansy had to put an explanation in the printed book's forward, telling readers that she was not pretending to be all seven viewpoints!

The forward found in the Toronto: William Briggs edition says, "it is really and honestly written by seven people, and not by one person pretending to be seven different ones, as some of you have is an honest record of what we, who are all writers, and all very intimate friends, have seen and heard as we looked on at the lives of certain people in whom we are deeply interested." You can read A Sevenfold Trouble online at this link.