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.

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
series bibliography
"Circulating Decimals"
(short story from Profiles
w/ additional commentary)
"Sing a Song of Years!"
excerpt ch. 28, Four Mothers at
(references to and photos of
Pansy and Grace Livingston Hill)
Harriette Newell Woods Baker
(Aunt Hattie, Mrs. Madeline Leslie)
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
series bibliography
"Daniel in the Wood-Pile"
and "The Fourth of July"
from Roundtop and Squaretop
Frances Elizabeth Barrow
(Aunt Fanny)
series bibliography "Aunt Mary"
sketch by Fanny's daughter Sarah
"Everything Is Relative"
(biographical essay on Frances and Sarah Barrow)
Sarah L.
(Aunt Fanny's Daughter)
series bibliography
"Aunt Mary"
sketch by Fanny's daughter Sarah
"Everything Is Relative"
(biographical essay on Frances and Sarah Barrow)
(Cousin Belle) series bibliography Addie's Party    
Mrs. M(ary) M. Boardman series bibliography        

Lucy Dix Bolles
(Laura D. Nichols)
series bibliography "Meridian Line" (poem)   
Mary E. Bradley biography
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
Catharine Lydia Hilliard Burnham
series bibliography
Elizabeth W. Champney
series bibliography
Three Vassar Girls in England, ch. 1-5 "Mrs. Elizabeth W. Champney"
(biographical sketch & portrait -- 1893)
Sarah E. Chester
(Sallie Chester)
series bibliography
Marnie's Angel "Talent, tensions, and tragedy"
(biographical essay)
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)
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)
series bibliography
"Tate's Doll's Wedding"
(short story)
Mary Crowninshield biography
series bibliography
Caroline Wells Healey Dall biography
series bibliography
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)
series bibliography
Golden Rule    
Daniel C. Eddy series bibliography
Kate Neely Festetits
(Kate J. Neely; Kate Neely Hill)
    Schoolfellow index
(with Neely publications)
Mary H. Field
(Mrs. Frederick Field)
series bibliography
Martha Finley
(Martha Farquharson)
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)
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)
series bibliography
    Schoolfellow index
(with Haven publications)
Elizabeth Laws Hibberd
(Faith Wynne)
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)
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"
Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop
(Margaret Sidney)
series bibliography
publications checklist
   "Margaret Sidney"
(biographical sketch and commentary, 1910)
Joanna Mathews biography
series bibliography
publication checklist
"Peanuts and a Sermon"
from Fanny's Birthday Gift
"Sisterhood and Sunday School Books"
(biographical essay)
Julia Mathews biography
series bibliography
publication checklist
"Little Children, Keep Yourselves from Idols"(story/sermon)
"Aunt Betsey's Prayer-Meeting"(poem)
"Sisterhood and Sunday School Books"
(biographical essay)
Mrs. Carrie L. May biography
series bibliography
Maria J. McIntosh
(Aunt Kitty)
series bibliography
Harriet Burn McKeever biography
series bibliography
Mary Christina Miller series bibliography    Memoirs of an Old Disciple
Includes biographies of Miller's grandfather (Christian Miller), mother (Sarah Miller), and brother (Isaac Miller)
Mrs. A. S. Moffat
series bibliography      
Laura D. Nichols series bibliography "Meridian Line" (poem)   
Harriet P. H. Nowell
(May Mannering)
series bibliography
publication checklist
"A Ghost Story" (article) "Writing 'under the most trying circumstances'"
(biographical essay)
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)
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)
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
series bibliography
    Scenes from Andover (childhood),
"Moses Stuart" and
"Leonard Woods, D. D.",
(all from Old Andover Days)
Adelaide F. Samuels biography
series bibliography
publication checklist
Saved from the Street "Family influences and intersections"
(biographical essay on Adelaide and Mrs. S. B. C. Samuels)
Mrs. S. B. C. Samuels biography
series bibliography
publication checklist
    "Family influences and intersections"
(biographical essay on Adelaide and Mrs. S. B. C. Samuels)
Mrs. D. P. Sanford series bibliography Rose, Tom, and Ned    
Mary Alice Seymour series bibliography        
William Simonds
(Walter Aimwell)
series bibliography
Mary P. Wells Smith
(P. Thorne)
biography, pts. 1-2 (1840-1895)
series bibliography
publications checklist
"Trials of a Tall Young Lady"
"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
series bibliography
    "She had ceased to offer her stories . . . " (biographical essay)
Virginia F. Townsend
series bibliography
excerpt: Amy Deane, and Other Stories (three stories)
"The Little Spinner" (short story)
"The Mite's Mission" (short story)
"April Snow" (poem)

Anne Dix Sullivan Urann
(Annie Moore)
series bibliography
  "Blue Juniata"
(autobiographical essay)
Katherine Kent Child Walker biography
series bibliography
publications checklist
Susan Warner series bibliography
Daniel Wise
(Francis Forrester; Lawrence Lancewood)
series bibliography
Minnie's Playroom
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey
(Susan Coolidge)
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,"
"Reading in the Public Schools"
both Library Journal, 1879 "Home Reading"
both Home Circle, 1882
(urging mothers to burn unsuitable books)
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.


Other Material at This Site

Since my series research often draws on or encompasses material other than the bio-bibliographies of 19th-century authors, the site has always carried some supplementary material. Now, as my research interests expand or take odd directions, new pages related to those areas sometimes are added to the site. The chart below identifies and links to those pages.

Indexes to periodicals that study dime novels, series books, and related topics;
Links to online dime novels
Other women writers Folktales and fairy tales
Dime Novel Round-Up,
the longest-running publication devoted to the study of dime novels, series books, and pulp magazines
(Index covers 1970-Fall 2021)

Happy Hours Magazine,
Dime Novel Round-Up's predecessor: "The link between the collector and the old-time periodical"
(Index covers 1925-1936)

The Newsboy,,
the official publication of the Horatio Alger Society
(Index covers 1995-2011)

Links to online dime novels and story papers
Josephine Lawrence,
20th-century author of girls' series and adult novels

19th-Century Women Dime Novelists and Story Paper Authors,
a preliminary attempt to identify authors and provide links to biographical and supplementary information about them
The Little Red Hen,
a bibliography of U.S. picture book editions of the tale of the industrious fowl

Links to page images of online 19th- and early 20th-century picture book editions of classic folktales
(Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, and others)


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.)

Last updated December 2022

Copyright 2022 by Deidre Johnson