19th-Century Girls' Series


Long before Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley High, the Babysitters' Club, or Magic Tree House, series books provided a source of enjoyable fiction for children. The first children's fiction series appeared in the United States in the 1830s, and by the 1860s the genre was well-established and earning both praise and censure.

I've been researching series books for over twenty-five years. This page draws upon some of that research; it is devoted to bio-bibliographies and commentary about nineteenth-century authors of series books for girls and younger children as well as samples of some of their writing. It includes some of the century's most popular authors and a number of lesser-known figures whose works -- now almost forgotten -- show the evolution of the genre.

The most recent updates reflect my current interest in women authors, especially those slighted or omitted by traditional reference sources. Usually, such authors wrote only a few books or attained only modest success. Recovering their lives and works contributes to a better understanding of the development of series fiction and women's part in nineteenth-century publishing.

The table below alphabetizes authors by real names, using the Library of Congress authority file as a guideline; please check the comprehensive name index for pseudonyms and variants. The series bibliographies include links to etexts of volumes online at this site and elsewhere.

Alternate version for Mobiles and Small Screens




Author
Pen name(s)
Information Etexts Supplementary material
Jacob Abbottbiography
series bibliography--girls
series bibliography--other
Friskie, the Pony
Harlie's Letter

Cousin Lucy's Stories, chs. 1-4
Ellen Linn, ch. 1-
Juno & Georgie, chs. 1-7
(early African-American series protagonist)
Mary Gay - Work for Autumn,ch 1-9
"Jacob Abbott, Friend of Children"
by Lyman Abbott (Jacob's son) (1922)
Abbott described by a contemporary
(George F. Root on Abbott's school and advice on diaries)
Isabella Macdonald Alden
(Pansy)
biography
series bibliography
"Circulating Decimals"
(short story from Profiles
w/ additional commentary)
"Sing a Song of Years!"
excerpt ch. 28, Four Mothers at
Chautauqua
(references to and photos of
Pansy and Grace Livingston Hill)
Harriette Newell Woods Baker
(Aunt Hattie, Mrs. Madeline Leslie)
biography
series bibliography
Robin's Nest "Leonard Woods, D. D."
by Sarah Stuart Robbins
(biographical sketch of Baker's father,
written by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's sister)
Josephine R. Baker
biography
series bibliography
"Daniel in the Wood-Pile"
and "The Fourth of July"
from Roundtop and Squaretop
   
Frances Elizabeth Barrow
(Aunt Fanny)
series bibliography "Little Mary"
sketch by Fanny's daughter Sarah
   
Sarah L.
(Aunt Fanny's Daughter)
series bibliography "Little Mary"
sketch by Fanny's daughter Sarah
   
(Cousin Belle) series bibliography Addie's Party    
Mrs. M(ary) M. Boardman series bibliography        
Mary E. Bradley biography
bibliography
poems Schoolfellow index
(with Bradley publications)
Mrs. Elizabeth M. Bruce biography
series bibliography
Robby and Nellie at School
"Fear Not" (poem)
"Annie's Reward" (short story)
"Her Home a Shrine"
newspaper article
A Year's Worth of Contributions to The Myrtle

The Challenge of Illustrations
Elizabeth W. Champney
biography
series bibliography
Three Vassar Girls in England, ch. 1-5 "Mrs. Elizabeth W. Champney"
(biographical sketch & portrait -- 1893)
Sarah E. Chester
(Sallie Chester)
biography
series bibliography
Marnie's Angel    
Ella Rodman Church series bibliography Little Pilgrim at Aunt Lou's
"Borrowed Plumes" (short story)
   
Mrs. S(usanna) R(ebecca) Graham Clark biography
series bibliography
       
Rebecca Sophia Clarke
(Sophie May)
biography
series bibliography
Dotty Dimple at Her Grandmother's
Little Prudy's Sister Susy

Little Prudy, ch 1-5
"Dotty's Beads and Tea"(short story)
"Miss Rebecca Sophia Clarke"
(biographical sketch & portrait -- 1893)


List of May's fiction in Merry's Museum
Sarah Jones Clarke
(Penn Shirley)
biography
series bibliography
"Tate's Doll's Wedding"
(short story)
  
Mary Crowninshield biography
series bibliography
      
Caroline Wells Healey Dall biography
series bibliography
   Alongside
(autobiography)
Amanda M. Douglas biography
series bibliography
Kathie's Three Wishes 1903 newspaper photos
1915 newspaper interview
Reviews of Helen Grant books
Annie Ketchum Dunning
(Nellie Grahame)
biography
series bibliography
Golden Rule    
Daniel C. Eddy series bibliography
      
Kate Neely Festetits
(Kate J. Neely; Kate Neely Hill)
biography
bibliography
    Schoolfellow index
(with Neely publications)
Mary H. Field
(Mrs. Frederick Field)
biography
series bibliography
      
Martha Finley
(Martha Farquharson)
biography
series bibliography
Elsie Dinsmore, ch. 1-
"Edith's Sacrifice" (short story)
"Faces We Seldom See"
(biography - LHJ 1893)
"Little Pharisees in Fiction"
(critique of Elsie - 1896)
Josephine Franklin series bibliography Nelly's First School-days   
F. Burge Griswold
(F[rances]. B. Smith; Fan Fan)
biography
series bibliography
    childhood reminiscences
(excerpts from Old Wickford)
Edward Everett Haleseries bibliography Family Flight, chap. 1 "Life at Home" (ch. 4,
A New England Boyhood [1899])
Susan Haleseries bibliography Family Flight, chap. 1 "Susan Hale"
by Edward E. Hale (her nephew) (1918)
Myra Sawyer Hamlin biography
series bibliography
     
Alice B. Haven
(Cousin Alice, Alice B. Neal)
biography
series bibliography
    Schoolfellow index
(with Haven publications)
Elizabeth Laws Hibberd
(Faith Wynne)
biography
series bibliography
     
Mary J. Hildeburn biography
series bibliography
Fannie's Rule Schoolfellow index
(with Hildeburn publications)
Margaret Hosmer biography
series bibliography
     
Virginia Wales Johnson
(Cousin Virginia)
biography
series bibliography
Katy's Christmas (Dolls Club) "Virginia W. Johnson
& Her English 'Daisy Miller'"

(biographical sketch,
Literary World [1882])
Sarah West Lander series bibliography
publication checklist
"The Snowdrop"
(story)
  
Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop
(Margaret Sidney)
series bibliography
publications checklist
   "Margaret Sidney"
(biographical sketch and commentary, 1910)
Joanna Mathews biography
series bibliography
"Peanuts and a Sermon"
from Fanny's Birthday Gift
  
Julia Mathews biography
series bibliography
"Little Children, Keep Yourselves from Idols"(story/sermon)
"Aunt Betsey's Prayer-Meeting"(poem)
  
Mrs. Carrie L. May series bibliography      
Maria J. McIntosh
(Aunt Kitty)
series bibliography      
Harriet Burn McKeever biography
series bibliography
     
Mrs. A. S. Moffat
(A.S.M.)
series bibliography      
Laura D. Nichols series bibliography "Meridian Line" (poem)   
Harriet P. H. Nowell
(May Mannering)
biography
series bibliography
"A Ghost Story" (article)   
Mary A. Osgood
(Mrs. M. A. Osgood)
series bibliography       
Minnie E. Paull
(Minnie Kenney)
biography, part I
series bibliography
   on religion
(excerpts from Paull's journal)
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
(1815 - 1852)
(H. Trusta)
biography
series bibliography
   reminiscences by her daughter
(excerpt from Phelps's Chapters from a Life)
"Moses Stuart"
(Phelps's father, described
by her sister in Old Andover Days)
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps [Ward] (1844 - 1911) biography
series bibliography
bibliography -- magazine stories for children
Gypsy Breynton

Tiny, ch. 1
"Reverend Mr. Trotty" from The Trotty Book
"Trotty's Lecture Bureau" (story from St. Nicholas)
"Elizabeth Stuart Phelps"
(biographical essay - 1883)
On first publications
and her children's books

(excerpt from Chapters from a Life)
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
(from Poets' Homes)
E. Swinchoski's commentary on Gypsy Breynton
Phoebe Harris Phelps bibliography Mary Day's Story Book
(three stories)
   
Elizabeth Prentiss
(Aunt Susan)
biography
series bibliography
Little Susy's Six Birthdays "Elizabeth Prentiss"
(biographical sketch, 1884)
Helen Leah Reed
series bibliography
     
Laura E. Richards biography
series bibliography
a sampling of poems On her family & childhood activities
(excerpts - When I Was Your Age)
Commentary on "Prince Tatters"
Sarah Stuart Robbins
biography
series bibliography
    Scenes from Andover (childhood),
"Moses Stuart" and
"Leonard Woods, D. D.",
(all from Old Andover Days)
Adelaide F. Samuels biography
series bibliography
Saved from the Street    
Mrs. S. B. C. Samuels biography
series bibliography
       
Mrs. D. P. Sanford series bibliography Rose, Tom, and Ned    
Mary Alice Seymour series bibliography        
William Simonds
(Walter Aimwell)
biography
series bibliography
     
Mary P. Wells Smith
(P. Thorne)
biography, pts. 1-2 (1840-1895)
series bibliography
publications checklist
"Trials of a Tall Young Lady"
(article)
"Lucy's First Prayer" (short story)
"Cacoethes Scribendi" (short story)
"Smith, Now 87, Sees 1st Book Republished"
(newspaper clipping, ca1927)
Increase Niles Tarbox
series bibliography        
Louise M. Thurston
biography
series bibliography
       
Virginia F. Townsend
biography
series bibliography
excerpt: Amy Deane, and Other Stories (three stories)
"The Little Spinner" (short story)
"The Mite's Mission" (short story)
"April Snow" (poem)
   
Katherine Kent Child Walker biography
series bibliography
publications checklist
     
Susan Warner series bibliography
     
Daniel Wise
(Francis Forrester; Lawrence Lancewood)
biography
series bibliography
Minnie's Playroom
  
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey
(Susan Coolidge)
biography
series bibliography
"Engineer's Story" (short story)
"Illuminated Texts" (non-fiction)
  
19th-century girls' reading
(adult responses to popular fiction)
      "Children's Books"
(concerns about quality and commercialization)
American Literary Gazette, 1864
"Evil of Unlimited Freedom
in the Use of Juvenile Fiction,"
and
"Reading in the Public Schools"
both Library Journal, 1879
Miscellaneous Chronological List of 19th-Century Series

Comprehensive name index


Common Traits of 19th-Century Series Heroines (short essay)
Bessie (example of Sunday-School booklet fiction) excerpts With the Children on Sundays (playing church)
           
Miscellaneous --
Schoolfellow magazine
author biographies
chronological index to vols. 1-6 (1849-55)
author index to vols. 1-6
     
           
Lurana Sheldon
(Grace Shirley)
biographical sketch
My Queen bibliography
(the only girls' dime novel series)
My Queen #3 (dime novel)
"Sam Stebbins' Courtship"
(short story)
Paper: Urban Images in
Street & Smith's My Queen

A note on categories in the chart: "series bibliography" generally covers only titles for girls and younger children; in cases where a series for boys was a counterpart or somehow related to a girls' series, it is also included. "Supplementary" material is generally commentary by an author's contemporaries or autobiographical essays.

-----
I've just started a page for 19th-Century Women Dime Novelists and Story Paper Authors
to identify and provide biographical information (and links to online sources of biographical information)
about women who wrote in those genres

This site also contains a listing of the contents (thus, an informal index) for Dime Novel Round-Up,
the longest-running publication devoted to the study of dime novels, series books, and pulp magazines.
Currently, the list covers 1970-mid 2014.


Additionally, a listing of the contents of The Newsboy, the official publication of the Horatio Alger Society,
has been added. It currently encompasses issues from 2000-2011.
-----

If you find errors or would like to suggest additional authors or texts for inclusion here, please email me.
(But please don't email to ask the value of books -- try some of the antiquarian bookdealers' sites or ebay instead.)



Elsewhere, I've put up biographical and bibliographic information about Josephine Lawrence ,
who ghostwrote 20th-century girls' and tots' series for the Stratemeyer Syndicate and also created some notable series published under her own name.



Last updated 23 November 2014 (What's new)



Recently, I've also been doing some work with folktales. A bibliography of U.S. picture book editions of The Little Red Hen is here.

And a series of links to online 19th- and early 20th-century picture book editions of other folktales such as Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Sleeping Beauty, is here.


Copyright 2014 by Deidre Johnson