A Gilded Age Children’s Best-Seller


Isabel Anderson started her career as an author with the publication in 1909 of The Great Sea Horse, a large and complex project that took several years to complete. The 25 short stories in Sea Horse are populated with mermaids and “merboys,” seashells, fairies, flowers, gnomes, and human-like creatures called “brownies and pinkies.” The stories are amusing and inventive. If the book were again available in print, it would surely captivate young readers.  The upcoming book-length dual biography, Larz and Isabel Anderson: Wealth and Celebrity in the Gilded Age by Skip Moskey, will include an extensive discussion of Isabel’s books across several genres.

Fortunately, many of Isabel’s works have been scanned and are available for on-line reading at the Internet Archive, a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more. The full text of The Great Sea Horse is available by clicking HERE.

The book cover shown above is a scan of a very special copy of The Great Sea Horse that was once owned by Isabel’s lifelong friend and mentor, Maud Howe Elliott and now in the collection of the Andersons’ biographer, Skip Moskey. In 1940, Maud gave her copy of the book to her godson, Peter C. Thorp, as a Christmas gift.