Fall’s Happy Landings: Inside Emilie Loring’s Biography

The height of fall color has passed, and chilly winds shake fading leaves onto the ground. It’s time for ripe apples and pears, cheeses, chowders, homemade muffins, and good books to read.

Emilie Loring at the Bluehill House

When fall approached, the Lorings took rooms in Blue Hill while they closed up Stone House for the winter. Then they returned to Boston, where Emilie continued work on her latest book.

Off to the printer!

I’ve learned a lot more about that process with Happy Landings. Like raking leaves and clearing spent plants from their pots, there are last tasks to finish before sending perfected files to the printer and waiting for the finished book to emerge in the spring.

It’s exciting to see the parts come together, and I can’t resist giving you a peek inside:

Happy Landings: Emilie Loring’s Life, Writing, and Wisdom

Table of Contents


Act One: Bessie Baker
     1  Lee & Shepard, Publishers
     2  Albert Baker, Printer
     3  George Melville Baker: Purpose and Entertainment
     4  Born to Stage and Print
     5  Resilience and Optimism
     6  Winds of Change

Act Two: Mrs. Victor J. Loring
     7  Victor Joseph Loring
     8  Emilie and Victor

Act Three: "Mother"
     9  Homemaking and Motherhood
    10 The New Century
    11  Alaska!
    12  Creative Stirrings
    13  Blue Hill, Maine
    14  Wellesley Hills Woman's Club

Act Four: Josephine Story
    15  Her Box of Books
    16  Ambition
    17  The Long Road to Authorship
    18  World War I:  Her Father's Daughter

Act Five: Emilie Loring
    19  Writing is W-O-R-K
    20  Boston Authors Club
    21  Identity: 1920-28
    22  Crisis: 1929
    23  Resilience: 1930-34
    24  Make Good: 1934-39
    25  Favorite American Novelist
    26  Fight for the Right: 1940-45
    27  Individual Spirit: 1946-51
    28  The Real Emilie Loring

Appendix I:  Emilie Loring publications
Appendix II:  Source material for ghostwritten novels
Photo credits

Format and Length

This is a big book with lots of parts.

My text fills the main body of each page, accompanied by relevant quotes from Emilie Loring in the sidebars. I love this feature; it allows Emilie to speak for herself. To keep the page uncluttered, we’re making it wider.

Two voices: Mine and Emilie’s

The biography’s main text is 160,000 words, about twice the length of an Emilie Loring novel, and there are additional features that her novels never had.

125 Photographs

To say that Happy Landings is “richly illustrated” is an understatement. There are 125 large photographs that occupy nearly one hundred pages, the earliest from about 1862. It’s extraordinary to have so many photos of a woman from her era, including photos from her early childhood, teens, and all stages of her adulthood. Included are photos of her family, her friends, homes, vacations, and the places where she wrote.

There are also images from lantern slides that she took herself. Each is what she saw in that moment and chose to take home with her. In their way, these images answer the question, “I wonder what that was like for her?”

968 Reference Notes

You read that right. There are 968 reference notes in Happy Landings, and they occupy over one hundred pages at the back of the book. Readers may turn past them, but I worked very hard to research Emilie Loring’s life, and careful documentation is essential to the high standards of scholarship to which I am committed.

On a personal level, those references are my preserved moments, each a small victory of discovery. For example, Emilie’s grandfather Albert Baker, a sailmaker’s son, published a literary newspaper in Portland, Maine before he and other likeminded printers founded the Boston Herald.

An exciting discovery

Albert Baker was a quiet man, a practical printer and compositor, who left few documentary traces. This reference to his work on the Portland Transcript was the first sign of his family’s literary future. (You can tell that I was excited to find it!) The fact occupies only a few lines in Emilie’s biography, but its reference note is a signpost, and I will return someday to find examples of his writing.

For the reader, reference notes can be little treasure maps. For example, one leads to a photograph that I didn’t include in the book, of Emilie Loring with John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Another takes you to to a wild story mentioned only parenthetically in the text: fellow author Mrs. Larz Anderson’s island encounter with a baroness–and possible murderess–who “strutted about in her silken underwear… with a pistol strapped on her thigh.”

Complete Index

Now underway is creation of a comprehensive index. I can’t wait to see it. This is a biography of Emilie Loring, but it is a broader history, too, encompassing the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. These are times we’ve imagined from school, books, and movies, now brought into focus as the context for Emilie Loring’s life: the Civil War, Reconstruction, Gay Nineties, World War I, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, and World War II. It’s more social and literary history than it is political, and, of course, both fashion and gardening play their parts. I think people will be surprised when they scan the index and see all that it contains.

How big is the book?

The trim size is 7.25″ x 9.5″, and there are 640 pages. Until I see it printed, I won’t know how thick it is, but we are using high-quality, lightweight, white paper. I’m holding my breath to see what the shipping charges will be.

The book will be offset printed, the traditional method that applies ink to plates that are pressed onto paper. The hard cover (still choosing the color) will be foil stamped with the title and my name, and it will be wrapped in an illustrated, full-color jacket.

It’s going to be a lovely book!

Happy Birthday!

A big book always costs more to make, and the final cover price will likely be in the neighborhood of forty-five dollars. I promise you that it is worth that and more.

If you have already reserved your autographed copy from me at the $35 advance purchase price, you’re in good shape!

Since this is my birthday month, I’ll continue to accept reservations for copies at $35 through the end of October. Now is the time to lock in copies for your holiday gift list. Just go to the Menu at the top of any page on this website, and click on the link that says, “Pre-order Happy Landings.”

Happy Landings, everyone!

11 thoughts on “Fall’s Happy Landings: Inside Emilie Loring’s Biography

  1. I hope you have had a nice birthday month! Thanks for all these particulars about Happy Landings! I can’t (but must!) wait to read your great biography. I’m so looking forward to learning about the life and times of my favorite authoress, the inspiration for her characters, locations and plots. Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dale. We began reading Emilie about the same time. It’s fun to imagine us as young girls, reading her books and not knowing that we would one day meet on technologies that hadn’t been invented then. It’s always a joy to meet another who has read Emilie Loring for most of her life. We’re all going to be happy when we have her biography in our hands!


  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI and CONGRATULATIONS ON HAPPY LANDINGS! I am looking forward to my copy that I reserved quite sometime ago. I know this book is the ultimate Emilie Loring book all in one! Can’t wait. Love and see you on Nov. 2nd on our zoom meeting. Love, Raqui


  3. Aloha! This is very exciting! Whenever I finish a painting, here is a wonderful feeling of excitement, anticipating how it will be received by viewers. I can tell you that is am happy for you. And personally looking forward to my copy. I am one of those who goes through the lists of references in books to see if I have ever come across the same information before. Your count shows how dedicated you are to the truth about your subject. It gives respect to her life and legacy. I applaud your integrity. I know it will be a “GOOD” read! I wait impatiently, but not as much as you I’m sure. It’s the old cliche about waiting for the birth, wait for it and then it happens! Just a little while longer and it will happen. Enjoy the knowledge that you have finished the work and it’s just at the “framer” waiting for the finishing touch. Your viewers, readers will be very happy with your serious efforts. ( usually when I’m at this stage, too, I have a new idea forming in my mind. Quite distracting). I wonder what idea you are getting? For now, my husband has been unwell for several weeks, but improving , so caring for his needs has kept me from any meaningful painting. However, I have many ideas and half painted canvases. I am beginning to make a handcrafted book for friends who went to Italy, France, and England recently. I’ve been collecting papers and items for a couple of months to use in its creation. I have enough now and can begin the assemblage. That is what will occupy me for now. I can work in small sessions while he is healing and it will be a boost to my creative work again. I’ve read all the volumes of Emilie that you sent me. I thank you again for your kindness and generosity. I will have my local bookstore try to find some of the others. The owner is resourceful and finds many books for me used or new. She has a bookshelf right in the front entrance for new titles. I can see your book on her shelf too. That would be exciting! We are a small town on highway 101. The bookstore is in the Old Town area. By spring there will be tourists looking for coffee from the shop across the street and a good book to read. Maybe yours will be the one they pick up. We have finally had a good rain this week and it looks like our Fall weather is here. Lots of rain and the grass will turn green again. My flowers are happy as they have cooler days. (Until the cool turns to cold). I can still sit on my small porch and enjoy a bit of sun and my geraniums blooming while I read quietly. I’m having a hard time finding a new book that is enjoyable. So many of my contemporary favorite authors have resorted to tarnishing their stories with foul mouthed characters or uncouth activities. It takes the enjoyment out of their stories. Disappointing. I’m trying to recall many of the old authors I used to enjoy. I’ve thought of a couple besides Emilie, such as Gene Stratton Porter and Harriette Arnow. Trying to find more. It’s a challenge. Enjoy your week, aloha Pam

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to hear that progress continues on the book. I did not know you could preorder a copy. I want to do that because I don’t want to miss it. Could you send me information on how to do that. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for spending all this time working on it–I’m sure it will be wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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