Tracking down Emilie Loring’s short stories isn’t easy. Early in her career, she submitted stories to magazines whose circulation was small and which have not been saved in libraries. The finding aid of her archives at Boston University helped me to locate some of them. It has been pure luck–or destiny–that I have found others while paging through stacks of old magazines at flea markets–and I had to remember to look for both “Josephine Story” and “Emilie Loring.”
Her first books, For the Comfort of the Family: A Vacation Experiment and The Mother in the Home, are the easiest places to find articles and a few short stories by her. You can also sift through Google Books where some were collected in compiled volumes of magazines’ issues, and you can search old newspapers online.
After her death, already-published stories were “updated” and re-published in the 1950s. As with the ghostwritten novels, this meant additions and revisions that were not in the originals. I continue to look for the original versions of these stories.
It’s a little hard to know how best to share her articles and short stories with you. Have you ever gone down to your grandmother’s basement and started looking through old trunks? That’s what my collection is like–whole stories here, snippets there, some with publication information, some without.
“The Woman Who Stayed at Home” was an early story. Even for pre-suffrage times, its “woman’s place is in the home” theme was unpopular, and she had a hard time getting it published.
“It is your job to make a home for your family… What bigger work is there in the world for a woman than making a home for her husband and children?… Not one child,” she added gravely–“but children…”
“One would think that the wife was the one to do all the smoothing of the way,” retorted Phyllis bitterly…
Constance Walcott laughed. “My dear girl, can any woman live with and observe man without realizing that she is the one?… Man as a species may be entirely made over when woman has had her way long enough, but it will not be in our time. Therefore, as we have to meet the individual problems of our day and generation, why not recognize them?”
“Converting Phyllis,” The Mother’s Magazine
I find the story especially interesting, because I don’t think she would have written it the same way later in her career. Homemaking and motherhood were always important to her, but the men and women in her novels were more equal partners, voiced less gender-based condescension.
Emilie Loring learned her craft as she progressed from articles to short stories to serial novels to full-length novels. If you’ve ever gone back and rewritten something that you have written yourself, you understand the desire to re-work an idea, polish a phrase, make substitutions and additions. That’s how elements of her stories and articles found their way into her novels.
You will recognize details of Hilltops Clear in “Kismet Takes a Hand” which you can read in its entirety here.
With the sleeves of her blue linen smock rolled above her elbows, Patricia Langdon was intent on soldering a silver box cover…
“This is the best thing I’ve done yet, Tony. The kitten’s name is Kismet. Those carved and tooled silver medallions between the links are scenes from the story of ‘Puss in Boots.'”
She stooped to pick up the kitten, but the kitten had views of his own. He sprang to the top of a high back chair, gathered himself, and with a bound landed on top of the bookcase. He peered down over the edge, his topaz eyes gleaming red like rubies.
“Patricia,” warned Mackensie sternly, “it is painfully evident that you are on the verge of hysteria. I know of only one sure remedy for that. I shall be obliged to kiss you.”
The ruby ring! The thief would find the ring! She must save it.
“Kismet Takes a Hand,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 27, 1919
“Why?” (1914) and “Converting Phyllis” provided the kernels from which her sons created Forsaking All Others (1971). In that story, Jennifer Haydon leaves behind her acting career and marries Dr. Bradley Maxwell to save her nephew.
“Listen to me, Aunt Jo! I will never marry a physician, never!
“Careful,” warned Josephine Maxwell. “It is shaking your fist in the face of Fate to swear that you will not marry a doctor. Fate will just grin at you and fling you straight into the arms of the first medico you meet.”
… A slight sound from the doorway attracted her attention. She turned quickly. Her father’s assistant, Peter Gerard stood there. His eyes met hers steadily, gravely, there was a white line about his lips…
“Well, it’s too late to change my profession now!” thought Gerard grimly. “It would be easier to change her mind. I wonder if I were to take a week off from my work and devote myself to her–but, my word, how can I take a week off!” he groaned as the car stopped and the hospital loomed before him.
“Why?” The Spinning Wheel Magazine, 1914
It’s easiest to share stories that are available online without a paid subscription. You’ll find “The Lady and the Looker,” on pages 6 and 7 of the Chicago Ledger, May, 1919. And here are a few more stories with links:
“A Rush Order for Fancy Dress,” JS, St. Nicholas, September, 1914
“Dan Kicks a Goal,” Munsey’s Magazine, ca. 1924
“Gossip: An Endless Chain,” JS, St. Nicholas, April, 1915
I haven’t found the following stories digitized and freely available, but if you do, maybe you can share the links with us.
“Across the Court”
“The Box from Nixon’s,” EL, Woman’s Home Companion, May, 1921
(Update: Thanks, Susan, for this link!)
“By Audacity Alone,” Youth, May, 1930
“Converting Phyllis”, JS, The Mother’s Magazine
“Freedom for Two,” Rural Progress Magazine, March, 1935
“Glycerine Tears,” The Delineator, March, 1925
“Hand of Fatima”
“Keep Young,” JS, Labor Digest, vol 12, p. 28-29.
(Update: Thanks, Heide, for this link!)
“Maids Will Deceive,” Hair Culturist, 1915
“NY 1300.00X,” All Story Weekly
“Once In A Hundred Years,” National Home Monthly, February, 1937
“Open for Inspection,” Youth
“She Didn’t Like Flying,” Boston Globe Magazine, 30 Oct, 1938
“The Delicate Art of Being a Mother-in-law,” JS, Woman’s Home Companion, June 1919
“The Fountain of Youth”
“The Seventh Day,” Pictorial Review, October, 1920
“The Silver Tree,” The Classmate
“The Yellow Hat,” Our Young People, 21 Sept, 1924
“Try It,” Pictorial Review, October, 1920
“What Then Is Love”
“With Intent to Sell,” EL, Leslie’s Weekly, 7 May, 1921
“Under New Management”
I’m traveling to New England this week — Yay! — and when I return, it will nearly be time for our Emilie Loring garden tea on July 6th. Press the linens! Invite your friends!
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