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.