Mission Driven Stories: Gene Stratton-Porter

“What is the difference between my books and those of other writers, is that I prefer to describe and perpetuate the best I have known in life.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter 

As a young girl growing up on a farm in Indiana, Gene had the idyllic life. The youngest of 12 children, Gene was given free-range of her large farm to fall in love with nature – her lifelong passion. Sadly, while she was still in her formative years, tragedy struck when the accidental deaths of her brother and sister were followed closely by the death of her mother. Yet, with the help of a loving, supportive father and siblings, she overcame her heartache and poured her heart into her self-education

Eventually, as her calling became clear, she determined to use her gifts to glorify God and inspire what is most noble and elevated in human life. Amidst rejection from editors and resistance from publishers, she insisted that her nature books and stories would be accepted and become well-loved by individuals and families around the globe.

She was right. Even in her own day she sold over 30 million books worldwide – a very rare accomplishment for any author. Of course today the legacy of her in-depth nature work and enriching, inspiring stories lives on, continuing to bless millions of lives. Join Audrey to hear the amazing true story of Gene Stratton-Porter’s hard work and sacrifice to bring beauty and truth to the world. 

Listener’s Guide:

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast. 

4:18           Laddie – an Autobiography
6:12           Her Parents and Family
17:24         Her Relationship to God

20:53        List of Principles Taught in The Stratton-Porter Home
21:25         Self-Care and Self-Discovery
25:00        A Tribute to Her Father and Family T
29:33        The Math Paper and an Affirmation of Talent
34:16         Leaving School for Six Months
36:24         A Father Assists in Learning
39:49         Her Own Family and Developing Her Talents
53:20         The Limberlost
58:16          A Commitment to Excellence
1:01:29       A Noble Purpose

Quotes from this episode:

“All [my father’s] ideas were clear cut. No man could influence him against his better judgment. He believed in God, in courtesy, in honor, and cleanliness, in beauty, and in education. ” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“[My father] would often say, “I would rather see my child the author of a book of which I could be proud than on the throne of England,” which was the strongest way he knew to express himself. ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“[My father’s] very first earnings were spent for a book and when other men rested he read. All his life he was a student of extraordinary, tenacious memory.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“ All his life, with no thought of fatigue or inconvenience to himself, Mark Stratton, traveled miles uncounted to share what he had learned with those less fortunately situated by delivering sermons, lectures, and talks on civic improvement and politics. ” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“The most that can be said of what education I have is that it is the very best kind in the world for me. I always had been too thankful for words that circumstances intervened which saved my brain from being run through a groove in company with dozens of others of widely different interests, tastes, and mentalities. What small measure of success I have had has come through preserving my individual point of view, method of expression, and…the spartan regulation of my girlhood home.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“[My father] knew I was boiling and bubbling like a yeast jar in July over some literary work and if I timidly slipped to him with a composition or a faulty poem he saw good in it and he made suggestions for its betterment.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“It was [my father] who demanded of me, from birth, the finishing of any task I attempted and who taught me to cultivate patience; to watch and wait even years, if necessary, to find and secure material I wanted.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“I could not afford a maid but I was strong, vital to the marrow, and I knew how to manage life, to make it meet my needs, thanks to even the small amount I had seen of my mother.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

In my spare time, mark the word, there was time to spare, else the books never would have been written and the pictures made.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“Three editors who read Freckles before it was published…all expressed precisely the same opinion – The book will never sell well as it is…you must take out the nature stuff. Now to put in the nature stuff was the express purpose for which the book was written. I said to my publishers, “I shall write the books exactly as they take shape in my mind, you publish them…Make up my work as I think it should be and leave it to people as to what kind of book they will take into their hearts and homes.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“What is the difference between my books and those of other writers, is that I prefer to describe and perpetuate the best I have known in life. ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“To deny that wrong and pitiful things exist in life is folly. But to believe that these things are made better by promiscuous discussion at the hands of writers who fail to prove by their books that their viewpoint is either right, clean, or helpful is close to insanity.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

“I’m neither blind nor lacking in perception as to the waywardness and complications of human nature. It is merely that my call has been to reproduce the lives of clean, moral men and women who are spending their time and strength and effort to make the world a better place for themselves and their children.” ~Gene Stratton-Porter

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