Tuesday, December 30, 2014

UPDATE: School story authors (D-F)

A thousand lashes with a wet noodle for having vanished without a trace for the past week. I had actually intended to do a brief Christmas post last week, but a combination of busy-ness and a laziness that amounted to hibernation prevented me. I spent my first bit of time off since starting my new job having a couple of busy days of holiday festivities and productivity, followed by several more days of the most flollipy reading, snoozing, and assembling a jigsaw puzzle with Andy. Hope you all had lovely holidays, though, whatever your own particular form of celebration or lack thereof, and a slightly premature Happy New Year to you as well!

Meanwhile, my second batch of writers who contributed to the girls' school story genre contains the usual miscellany. For me, as a fairly casual fan of the genre, there are a fair number of authors here that I feel I can miss without regret.

For example, there seem to have been a surprising number of what Sims and Clare call "evangelistic" girls' fiction—by authors such as DOROTHY DENNISON, MARY ALICE FAID, and ESTHER E. ENOCK—concerned with teaching girls their proper place. Or perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising at all—there were, after all, entire publishers dedicated, quite successfully, to such work. And I have to admit, some of these authors' book covers are quite enticing...

Then there are a few titles in this section that, though perhaps not "must-reads," would certainly be fun to peruse if one had the chance. Of ROSEMARY FORD's first school story, The Joy School (1947), Sims and Clare make the intriguing statement that it was "unsure whether it wants to be The Madcap of the School or Regiment of Women." A cross between a perky, spunky Angela Brazil tale and Clemence Dane's harsh, lesbo-phobic "exposé" of the dark side of school life is surely worth checking out—if it were only a bit more accessible. And the cover is certainly dramatic enough.

In a very different way, M[ARION]. FROW's only contribution to the school story genre, The Invisible Schoolgirl (1950), sounds entertaining. It's described by Sims and Clare as "one of the silliest even in a genre renowned for silly plots." Who could resist a sampling?

If you're a fan of pre-eminent school story author Angela Brazil, then you probably already know about NANCY DELVES. She published six girls' school stories, which were—according to Sims and Clare—heavily influenced by Brazil. And although I can't say this of many (or possibly any) of the other authors in this post, I happen to have recently read one of W. W. EASTWAYS' three girls' school stories, Christine of the Fourth. It's readily available on the cheap from Retro Press, which also reprinted two Jane Shaw titles in the early 2000s. Although Christine was not necessarily an all-time favorite for me, it was perfectly enjoyable and is one of few examples from the genre that are readily available.

WINIFRED DONALD has aroused the researcher in me, but alas with no productive result as of yet. Donald wrote several mystery stories for girls, including a few with school content. But the real mystery here is the statement from a publisher's handout (cited by Sims and Clare) that Donald also published detective fiction. If this is, in fact, the case, said fiction must have been published under an as-yet-unidentified pseudonym. Perhaps she links up with one of the identified authors from my mystery list? Oh, who could it be?

Along similarly random lines, CELIA DAMON collaborated with another author on my list, and makes me wonder how I had failed to add her before. How do I manage to add one half of a writing team but not the other, I wonder? At any rate, Damon was one half of the Marjory Damon pseudonym, along with Constance Miles, who was the author of two adult novels and, more recognizably for most readers, of Mrs Miles's Diary: The Wartime Journal of a Housewife on the Home Front, published in 2013 (apparently without any acknowledgement that Miles had been an author as well as a housewife).

And two of the authors on this list sound intriguing enough that I might just have to go on a wild goose chase to track down one or more of their books. Sims and Clare critique S. K. ENSDAILE's four school stories for weak or unbelievable plots, but they also note their strong, likeable, and lively characters. And Sims and Clare make me quite curious about MAUDE S. FORSEY's two school stories. In particular, Mollie Hazledene's Schooldays (1924), described as "a gentle but very amusing first person account of a London girl's two years at a boarding school in the country," sounds right up my alley, especially when they stress that "[n]either book has a great deal of plot," a characteristic that I tend to find strangely irresistible.

But of course, how enjoyable (or not) these authors' books might turn out to be has little to do with how charming or striking we might find the cover art from their books, which is as much the point of these posts as anything else. Which is your favorite?

CELIA DAMON (dates unknown)
(aka Marjory Damon, in collaboration with Constance Miles [aka Marjory Royce])
Author, in collaboration with Constance Miles, of a single girls' school story, The Slow Girl at St Jane's (1929), published as by "Marjory Damon." Damon also published a handful of books for younger children.

Author of numerous Guide and Brownie books of the 1920s and 1930s, including several school stories; titles include Pat of Whitehouse (1924), Peggy's School Pack (1925), The Ardice Fortune (1926), Peter Lawson, Camper (1931), Brenda in Belgium (1934), and Bunch, A Brownie (1940).

NANCY DELVES (1905-1959)
(full name Annie Myfanwy Delves, married name Fitzhugh)
Author of six girls' school stories influenced by Angela Brazil, including The Fourth Form (1929), Well Played, Scotts! (1930), Fifth Form Rivals (1931), The Rebel of the Fifth (1933), Trouble in the Fourth (1934), and Thrills for the Lower Fifth (1935).

(married name Wright)
Author of ten "evangelistic" girls' school stories (according to Sims & Clare), as well as other fiction for children and adults; titles include Rumours in the Fourth Form (1925), The Sixth Form Goes Abroad (1932), These Girls I Knew (1947), Physician Heal Thyself (1954), and Spotlight on Penelope (1958).

AUDREY DINES (dates unknown)
Author of both girls' and boys' school stories, all with strong Christian themes; titles include Holiday Adventure (1950), Pine Tree House (1951), The Secret of Lockerby Hall (1955), It Couldn't Have Been Willett! (1955), and Four at Fourways (1956).

WINIFRED DONALD (dates unknown)
Author of five girls' mystery tales with some school content, including Linda—the Schoolgirl Detective (1949), Linda in Lucerne (1950), Linda and the Silver Greyhounds (1952), Linda in Cambridge (1955), and Linda in New York; reportedly, she also wrote adult mysteries under an as-yet-unidentified pseudonym (??).

(aka C. M. Drury, aka Clare Hoskyns Abrahall)
Novelist and author of children's fiction and biography; Kit Norris, Schoolgirl Pilot (1937), is in part a school story, but she didn't return to that subject until Chris of Crighton's (1964); other fiction includes From Serf To Page (1939) and Priscilla's Caravan (1939).

GRACE M[????]. EASTON (dates unknown)
Author of one Christian-themed girls' school story, The School on the Hill (1940), set in a school for children of missionaries.  She also published one additional children's book, Merry-All-the-Time (1936).

W. W. EASTWAYS (dates unknown)
Unknown author who published three school stories which take place over the course of almost a decade—Greycourt (1939), The Girls of Greycourt (1944), and Christine of the Fourth (1949).

MARION EDEN (dates unknown)
Author of two girls' school stories—Success for Jane (1936) and Felgarth's Last Year (1938)—the first of which Sims and Clare describe as "rambling, repetitive, and pretentious."

EDITH L[EA]. ELIAS (1879-1952)
(née Morice)
Author of two girls' school stories which, according to Sims & Clare, eschew melodrama and focus on relationships—Elsie Lockhart, 3rd Form Girl (1925) and Deanholme (1926); she also published other fiction and historical works for children.

WINIFRED ELLAMS (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Girls of Lakeside School (1949).

(née Bennett)
Author of one girls' school story, Doctor Noreen (1945), as well as numerous other children's stories, many for young children; titles include Strong Wing (1939), The Highwayman Came Riding (1944), Smuggler's Bay (1949), Strongwing (1954), and The Magic Chestnut (1961).

Author of Christian-themed children's fiction and non-fiction, including Four Girls and a Fortune (1935), set in part in a girls' school; other fiction includes Those Dreadful Girls (1913), The Girls Of Clare Hall (1919), Greta The Steadfast (1931), and The Happy Road (1939).

S. K. ENSDAILE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of four girls' school stories—Philippa at School (1928), Marceline Goes to School (1931), Discipline for Penelope (1934), and Puck of Manor School (1938)—which Sims & Clare praise for their vivid characterization.

ANN [or ANNE?] ERSKINE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Kath of Kinmantel (1958). The British Library spells her name "Ann," while Worldcat spells it "Anne" and credits the author with an earlier book of poetry, Some Simple Things (1933).

MINA FAHY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, St. Clement's (1910).

MARY ALICE FAID (dates unknown)
(married name Dunn)
Author of 10 "evangelistic" girls' stories following one character from school years to adulthood, beginning with Trudy Takes Charge (1949); she also wrote nearly a dozen other novels, including Stairway to Happiness (1955), The Singing Rain (1958), and Daffodil Square (1962).

CECILIA FALCON (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two girls' school stories with an emphasis on adventure and intrigue—Deborah's Secret Quest (1950) and The Best Term Ever (1952).

More research needed; author of only two children's novels—The Romance of a China Doll (1946) and Caroline's First Term (1947).  The latter is a girls' school story with a far-fetched plot but, according to Sims and Clare, a pleasingly ironic tone and strong characters.

More research needed; possibly an actress or performer in early years, and author of eight girls' school stories and one additional children's book; titles include The Taming of Teresa (1926), A Strange Term (1927), Cecile at St Clare's (1929), A Risky Term (193?), and The Rival Schools (1936).

BERTHA MARY FISHER (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two (or perhaps three) children's novels, including The Player (1911) and An Unpopular Schoolgirl (1913), about twins switching places at school; Sims and Clare came across a third title, Honour and Dishonour, which they were unable to trace.

More research needed; author of one girls' school story, Sonia's First Term (1927), about an American girl who comes to a boarding school in Liverpool.

ROSEMARY FORD (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two girls' school novels—The Joy School (1947) and Trio Fights Back (1947).  Of the former, Sims and Clare said it was "unsure whether it wants to be The Madcap of the School or Regiment of Women"; the latter is a spy thriller.

A. RUBY FORDE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Cherry Jam at Glencastle (1945) about a bestselling girls' author masquerading as a schoolgirl at an Irish boarding school. Forde may also be the author of St. Aidan & St. Colman, about Ireland's contributions to British culture.

MAUDE S[ARAH]. FORSEY (1885-????)
(married name Lane)
More research needed; author of two girls' school stories—Mollie Hazledene's Schooldays (1924) and Norah O'Flanigan, Prefect (1937)—which are praised by Sims and Clare. She also wrote several books aimed at younger children.

OLIVIA FOWELL (1876-1953)
A contemporary of Angela Brazil, Fowell published five girls' school stories which reflect the evolution of girls' schools, including Her First Term (1906), Patricia's Promotion (1907), The Doings of Dorothea (1912), and The Girls of Tredennings (1926), as well as two non-school books.

CECILY FOX (dates unknown)
Author of two girls' stories, one of which is a school story—That New Girl Anna (1930), about a young queen in disguise at a boarding school; her only other title is Eve Plays Her Part (1934).

JOY FRANCIS (1888-1978)
(pseudonym of Olive Sarah Folds, née Hill)
Author of five girls' school stories, the first two of which—The Greystone Girls (1928) and Biddy at Greystone (1929)—are linked, while the others—The Girls of the Rose Dormitory (1930), Rosemary at St Anne's (1932), and Patsy at St Anne's (1936)—are stand-alone tales.

CICELY FRASER (dates unknown)
Author of a single girls' school story, Feuds and Friendships (1935), Fraser also wrote a non-fiction work about nurseries and nursery schools, called First—The Infant (1943).

M[ARION]. FROW (dates unknown)
Author of one school story, The Invisible Schoolgirl (1950), the plot of which Sims and Clare call "one of the silliest even in a genre renowned for silly plots," and of seven other adventure tales, including The Intelligence Corps and Anna (1944), The Submerged Cave (1947), and Five Robinson Crusoes (1950).

LEONORA FRY (dates unknown)
Author of one girls' school story, For the School's Sake (1934), two other children's books—Through Peril for Prince Charlie (1937) and Cyril the Squirrel (1946)—and several entries in the non-fiction "Get to Know" series, including Railways (1950), Bridges (1951), and Post and Telegraph (1953).

AGNES FURLONG (dates unknown)
(née ?????)
Author of a part-school story, The School Library Mystery (1951), and several other volumes of children's fiction, including The Potato Riddle (1949), Stratford Adventure (1951), Sword of State: An Adventure in Coventry (1952), and Elizabeth Leaves School (1956).

MURIEL FYFE (dates unknown)
(née ?????)
More research needed; author of about a dozen works for children, including the school story Sally Travels to School (1937), as well as The Adventures of Peter (1933), Greystones Farm (1934), Mary Lee's Cottage (1936), The Stowaways (1937), and Curious Kate (1946).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

WINIFRED PECK, The Skirts of Time (1935)

"Oh, dear," I imagine many of you saying to yourselves, "he's back onto his Winifred Peck obsession."

And indeed I fear that you're right. For not only does this review follow my earlier posts about Peck's wonderfully charming mystery The Warrielaw Jewel and her sweetly hilarious tale of wartime life in a vicarage, Bewildering Cares (both of them eminently worthy of reprinting), but I've actually already finished reading yet another of Peck's novels, and two more are (fingers crossed) meandering their way to my hot little hands via Interlibrary Loan. Obsession indeed.

One thing that has struck me about these first three novels I'm reviewing is Peck's impressive versatility. A delightful mystery, a rollicking novel of domestic life worthy of E. M. Delafield or D. E. Stevenson, and now, of all things, an historical novel tracing several decades of the women's suffrage movement through the lens of one passionate women's rights activist and her three very different sisters.

Honestly, I'm not always a fan of what might be called "issue" novels—those works that try to sum up all the main points of a pressing social concern, either present or historical. I usually find that they err more on the side of being pedantic and forced than on the side of bringing history to life or even bringing much enlightenment about their subjects. So I was a bit worried when I discovered the theme of Peck's novel. But in fact her writing pulled me in from the first few paragraphs.

The story begins in 1860, with Julia, Arabella, Caroline, and Edith Gorne coming to terms with their dictatorial father's death and the realization that he has mismanaged the family's finances and left them more or less impoverished (as literary fathers are so prone to do—someone could make a fictional killing providing sound investment advice to these eternally misguided schmucks). Ironically (or perhaps logically), their father's cruelty over the years has given the sisters the impetus they need to question the harsh assumptions and dictates of their time, which he has rather heartlessly enforced:

Their ideas of the opposite sex were founded wholly on their father, and Julia was a convinced feminist by instinct before she had reached the age of reason. It was old Anthony's misfortune that amongst his few early friends and patrons he numbered the Martineaus and the Nightingales.

Julia dedicates her life to the cause of women's rights—right up to the novel's end just as suffrage is finally achieved in 1918—and she is so passionate about the cause that she is sometimes blinded to the realities of her sisters' less radical lives. Along the way she rubs shoulders with a number of other important figures in the movement, including Frances Buss, Lydia Becker, and Emily Davison as well as the aforementioned Harriet Martineau and Florence Nightingale. My personal favorite of these prominent cameos is the dramatic appearance of reformer and activist Josephine Butler in one pivotal scene in which she makes a dramatic rescue of two of the sisters.

The formidable crusader Josephine Butler

There are a few times, perhaps, where the pace of the novel slows a bit to make room for an educational or didactic tidbit, and that might take away from some readers' enjoyment. But Peck clearly did her research on (and/or lived through) the circumstances she was portraying, and her delightful prose and ability to create vivid characters and situations outweighed, for me at least, any sluggishness in the plot. And unlike some issue-oriented novels, where the stakes are presented as cut-and-dried—as if there could never have been any significant dispute among sensible people—Peck even fascinatingly describes some of the conflicts within the early women's movement itself. In particular, the scandalous issues dragged to the surface by Butler—in her crusade on behalf of fallen women—violently divided the women fighting for women's rights more generally and threatened to split the movement entirely.

The passage in which Peck describes Butler's neglected legacy is also a good example of one of Peck's greatest strengths—her ability to view not only the impacts of major historical events but also the ways in which those impacts are filtered through the attitudes, mores, and repressions of their time and the times that follow:

Josephine Butler has never perhaps been accorded her due place in the roll of saints and reformers of her period.

In her own day her work of rescue amongst those unhappy filles de joie whom she called the children of God was veiled in the shroud of Victorian modesty. Many men and some women recognized the self-abnegation which inspired her work, but of that work they could never bring themselves to speak to the younger generation. The generation which followed them inherited a vague tradition that a certain Mrs. Butler had devoted her life to some wonderful but unknown work, and by the time that plain speaking and clear thinking had come into fashion, her struggle against the laws of her country was over, her victory almost won.

As it keeps jumping forward in time, the novel effectively presents the changing realities of the sisters' lives. To some extent, you might imagine it as a fictional iteration of Ruth Adam's wonderful history, A Woman's Place (though beginning and ending a few decades earlier). Arabella marries a clergyman and leads a bleak life of unceasing childbirth and poverty, Edith joins the first class of women admitted to Cambridge, and Caroline takes Julia's espousals of women's freedom in a more scandalous direction and becomes a "loose woman."

In my review of The Warrielaw Jewel, I tried to highlight Peck's skill not only at detailed descriptions of domestic life and furnishings, which create a real sense of the presence of times past that I enjoy a lot, but also her way of lending small domestic details a larger meaning. For some reason, I still find myself thinking now and then of the boredom and uselessness evoked in that novel by the elderly aunts' perpetual embroidery work, which Peck turned into a memorable symbol of the limitations of women's lives in an earlier generation.

This strength also shines through in The Skirts of Time. An example: the scene in which Arabella and Julia—who have been alienated for years due to Arabella's conservative husband's horror at Julia's activism—are reunited, and Arabella puts into context, using a clothing-related frame of reference, the very physical differences between her own existence and Julia's:

Was it possible that she, Arabella, had possessed that ease and grace only six years ago, she who for years had barely laid down one burden before she bore another? Her glance took in Julia's trim tight bodice, the easy fall of her full, draped skirt. Little did her sister know of the lacings and unlacings and weary letting-outs of tucks which fell so often to her portion!

Of course, the title of the novel itself, which comes from Tennyson, also highlights another small wardrobe-oriented domestic shift: the varying styles of women's dress which allowed, gradually, for increased freedom and mobility. And, although I can't bring myself to spoil its impact—should anyone be inspired to track down and read this novel (or should a smart publisher decide to reprint it)—by quoting it here, I will certainly always remember the refusal of Arabella's husband to allow her chloroform at the birth of her umpteenth child, despite the fact that the doctor has said she may not survive without it, and Julia's shocking, hilarious, but perfectly characteristic solution to the problem.

One of my favorite parts of the novel is the evocation of Julia's own time at Cambridge, as, despite being much older than the other young women, she follows in her little sister's footsteps. It's presented from the perspective of a descendent of the sisters, looking at old memorabilia (one of many examples of Peck's fascination with the way urgent present events become part of the past), and it's a rather hilarious and yet touching portrayal:

Another relic which aroused laughter was a reproduction of a lithograph from some ephemeral publication of the day entitled: "Lady Undergraduates Undergoing Final Examinations for the Cambridge Tripos". Beneath the picture of a vaulted Gothic hall where fashionable young women sat in high-backed oak chairs at long refectory tables, watched serenely by a row of professors in caps and gowns, Julia had scribbled the words: "The Ideal!" Some friend had appended a sketch entitled "The Reality". It represented cleverly enough the low, dismal dining-room in a Cambridge Inn where the earliest examinations were held. Over the draped mantelpiece hung a picture of Prince Albert regarding a dead stag at Balmoral, flanked by portraits of leading Cambridge worthies; there was a huge sideboard covered with cruet-stands and bottles of every description, and a long table dotted with paper and bottles of ink. At the window stood a little old lady and out of her mouth came a balloon with the words: "He cometh not, she said!" Ten young ladies drooped over the table. "We've been here for two hours now!" said one. "I wish I'd had breakfast instead of hurrying," said another. "Suppose they can't get hold of a paper this year at all!" sighed a third. It was, as Julia explained, only by the charity of the few dons who sympathized with the mad craving of women for University education and examinations that the examination papers could be smuggled to the ladies at all on the day of the great event. Another rough sketch showed the young ladies, heads bent over the table, scribbling violently, the duenna knitting peacefully at a rocking chair by the fire, while through the window was visible the back of a professor in cap and gown ejaculating: "Well, they've got it! I hope they'll like it." Out of that examination, in spite of her disadvantages and the difficulties in the path of women students, Julia emerged with first-class honours.

This passage has a lovely ring of truth about it, which may stem from Peck's own experiences at Oxford around the turn of the century. It makes me look forward to her two memoirs, A Little Learning and Home for the Holidays, in which are to be found, I hope, more such scenes minus the veil of fiction. (For better or worse, I'll probably end up discussing those books here too...)

People always say that a book should be "required reading" for such-and-such an audience, and I always feel cynical about such recommendations. But I have to admit that I'm tempted to use it in this case. I'm not any kind of expert on suffrage novels (though this one has driven me to request a history of the movement from the library). A few years ago, I read Elizabeth Robins' The Convert (1907), written nearly three decades before Peck's novel (and before suffrage was actually achieved, which lends it an immediacy that a retrospective novel can't match) and enjoyed it very much, and I've been meaning to read Persephone's reprint of Constance Maud's No Surrender (1911) ever since it came out. But that may be the extent of my expertise on the subject. From that limited perspective, however, I can honestly say that if you're going to read a novel about the dawning of feminism and the motivations driving it, you could hardly make a more entertaining choice.

One of Julia's last assertions particularly caught my eye:

"The world's all so kind and sentimental now that it loves to rescue victims and put them on pedestals. But no one cares for simple common-sense fair play!"

Reading the news on any given day, I think this assessment might remain as true today.

Monday, December 15, 2014

UPDATE: School story authors (A-C)

I've been promising a series of posts about the slew of new school story authors added to my Overwhelming List in the most recent update (as a result of my perusal of the wonderful Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories by Sue Sims and Hilary Clare), and finally I'm ready to get started with that. There are so many of them that I've decided to split them into several different posts to appear over the next few weeks.

This was both a really fun part of the update to work on and a slightly frustrating one. Out of the 248 authors of school stories who were added (many of whom wrote other types of books as well), there are far too many about whom little or nothing is known. My standby phrase "More research needed" has become something of a cliché now, and unfortunately in many cases more research is unlikely to yield much in the way of results. Children's authors in general, and perhaps school story authors in particular, were, it seems, often viewed at the time in the same way that romance or thriller authors were—they were a dime a dozen and more or less disposable. As a result, little effort was made by reviewers or by later scholars—or indeed even by the authors' own publishers, in most cases—to document their personal details or histories. Thus, any discoveries of these authors' true identities are likely to be either accidental—stumbling across a reference that hasn't yet been found—or familial, if someone were to read my list and say to themselves, "Hey, I remember Aunt Edith talking about publishing a book of that name!"

So, indeed, many of the names listed here remain mysterious to say the least. Some are known to be pseudonyms, but the real names have been lost. Some are known to be married names, but maiden names are enigmas.

Probably none, however, are so enigmatic as AN OLD GIRL, the pseudonym under which a single school story, Susie's Schooldays in France, was published. We don't even know for sure what year it was published, though Sims and Clare say it was likely in the 1920s. Now how on earth could one imagine that puzzle getting solved short of a relative discovering a manuscript of the book in their great-grandmother's personal effects (which just happen to have been stored intact in a cousin's garage for the past 20 or 30 years)?

At any rate, there are certainly some intriguing authors or titles here. I confess that one part of me wouldn't mind checking out one or two titles by E. E. COWPER, whose work Sims and Clare describe as "in the Bessie Marchant tradition." Some of her book covers are completely seductive to me, but perhaps a little of her heroines' adventures would go a long way? From the sound of it, FLORENCE BONE's school stories may belong in the same category, though Sims and Clare note that the latter are "thoroughly enjoyable."

There aren't a lot of "big names" in this section—most of those I had already stumbled across and added even without the help of Sims and Clare—but there are a couple of particularly well-known authors I had previously missed. MAY BALDWIN was popular and prolific, and her work reflect the development of girls' schools in England and also feature realistically-portrayed international schools. And I've even already read a book by NANCY BREARY, known for her sense of humor (reflected in my favorite of her titles, The Snackboat Sails at Noon!). By the way, surely HILDA BREARLEY was a pseudonym intended to evoke the more successful Breary. And indeed, my copy of Breary's It Was Fun in the Fourth has a Brearley title prominently advertised on the back…

Since the school story genre isn't exactly known for its multiculturalism, I was interested in two titles that Sims and Clare singled out. ELISABETH BATT's A Jamaican Schoolgirl (1962) is (obviously) set in Jamaica, and MARGUERITE L. BUTLER's Tulsi (1934) is set in an Indian boarding school. Butler was probably a missionary in India herself and had earlier published the non-fiction Hindu Women at Home (1921), and Sims and Clare praise the book for its cultural accuracy and realism. Both of these titles, from what I can tell, have strong religious components, but I'll bet they would be quite interesting.

And finally, there are three other writers that sound particularly intriguing to me. JACQUELINE BLAIRMAN was a close friend of Margaret Biggs. Sims and Clare note that her work is humorous and shows lots of potential, but she only ever published three titles (one of which is a collaboration with Biggs). JOAN BUTLER-JOYCE was even less prolific, publishing only two titles, but those, again according to Sims and Clare, amusingly subvert some of the clichés of the school story. And then there's A. E. BURNS, who also wrote only two books, and only one school story—The Grand Duchess Benedicta (1915), set in a Catholic convent school, which for some odd reason is drawing me to it despite the fact that I have only the vaguest sense of the details of its plot. But, more's the pity, I haven't been able to find a cover image for it.

Of course, the main point of these update posts is to share the lovely cover art that graced many of these books. I've done my best to select the most evocative and entertaining of images. What do you think?

AGNES ADAMS (1891-1951)
(aka Agnes Logan)
Author of two related stories, Doddles (1920) and Doddles Makes Things Hum (1927), mentioned by Sims & Clare, several other children's books, and three pseudonymous adult novels, The Necessary Man (1929), There Is a Tide (1930), and Comfort Me with Apples (1936).

GWENDOLINE ALLEN (dates unknown)
More research needed; apparently the author of only one girls' school story, The Fourth Form at White Abbey (1945), which was reprinted later the same year in an expanded edition.

AN OLD GIRL (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of ????)
More research needed; pseudonym of an unknown author who published a single school story some time in the 1920s (even the exact date is elusive) called Susie's Schooldays in France.

[MARY] VERA ARMSTRONG (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of the school story Maris of Glenside (1953) and of two other books for children that were focused on Guiding—Twenty Tales (1949) and Rival Camps (1950).

MAY BALDWIN (1862-1950)
Important early girls' school author whose work often featured realistic international schools and reflects the evolution of girls' schools; titles include Two Schoolgirls of Florence (1910), The Girls' Eton (1911), A Riotous Term at St. Norbert's (1920), and The School in the Wilds (1925).

WINIFRED BARNES (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of story books for small children and books on English grammar, as well as two girls' school stories, The Jewels and Jenny (1948) and Jenny at St Julien's (1949).

F[????]. BARON (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of one girls' story, The Mystery of the Silver Statuette (1948), as well as several other children's titles, including Olive Dawson's Secret (1946), Pip Kin Seeks the Wizard (1946), The Flodden Rubies (1947), The King Works Magic (1947), and Chums Divided (1947).

ELISABETH BATT (dates unknown)
Author of Christian-themed children's fiction, including The House with the Blind Window (1955), In Search of Simon (1956), The Other House (1960), The Smallest Island (1961), and a unique school story set in Jamaica called A Jamaican Schoolgirl (1962).

(née Turle)
Author of two girls' school stories, Gillian the Dauntless (1937) and Harum-Scarum Jill (1937), as well as more than a dozen other children's books, including Eight Weeks in the "Saucy Sue" (1927), The Mystery of the Sinclairs (1932), Open Windows (1938), and Glen Robin: A Story for Girls (1941).

FLORA E[????]. BERRY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of one school story, Monica's Choice (1904), and three other titles about which information is sparse—In Small Corners (1899), Neta Lyall (1903), and Lettice Martyn's Crusade (1930).

ANNA BEST (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two girls' school stories—School Rivals (1925), in which the heroine mostly rescues others from dangerous situations, and Madge's Victory (1926), which Sims and Clare describe as "unintentionally amusing" because of its bewildering plot.

(married name Pinto, aka Jacqueline Pinto)
Author of three school stories which deal humorously with class and pretense—The Headmistress in Disgrace (1949), A Rebel at St Agatha's (1949), and Triplets at Royders (1950)—and of a later series beginning with The School Gala Disaster (1985).

REBECCA BLOUNT (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story called Schooldays (1921), about an old-fashioned school being superceded by more modern schools. Sims and Clare note that it may be autobiographical.

FLORENCE E[MILY]. BONE (1875-1971)
Author of romantic and historical novels from the 1900s to 1950s, as well as both girls' and boys' school stories characterized by melodramatic plots; titles include Margot's Secret (1911), Curiosity Kate (1913), The Valley Of Delight (1913), Just like Fay (1928), and A Flutter In Brocade (1929).

AGNES [CLARA] BOOTH (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of several children's books, including one that is in part a school story, The Forest Mystery (1949). Other titles include The Deerskin Island Mystery (1945), The Secret of the Harvest Camp (1948), Red Eagle (1950), and The Quest of the Stone (1963).

NORMA BRADLEY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two girls' school stories—The New Girl at Greylands (1948) and Ghostly Guests at Greylands School (1949).

Author of adult novels and religious writings, and creator of the first school-related series beginning with The Snowball Society (1877); novels include Country Maidens (1875), Astray: A Tale of a Country Town (1886), Miss Carr's Young Ladies (1897), and Pastor Oberlin (1912).

HILDA BREARLEY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of at least three children's books during and after World War II.  Her titles include Island Farm (1940), Castle in the Sun (1947), and Adventure for Elizabeth (1952).

NANCY BREARY (1903-1988)
(full name Annie Florence Breary)
Author of numerous girls’ school tales from the 1940s to 1960s, including Give a Form a Bad Name (1943), A School Divided (1944), The Snackboat Sails at Noon! (1946), Five Sisters at Sedgewick (1950), Hazel, Head Girl (1952), Fourth Form Detectives (1954), and Junior Captain (1960).

(aka E. Fairfax Byrrne)
Author of religious fiction for adults and children, including the school story Reaping the Whirlwind (1885); others include A Superfluous Woman (1894), The Engrafted Rose (1899), Susan Wooed and Susan Won (1905), The Story of Hauksgarth Farm (1909), and The House of Robershaye (1912).

MONICA BROOKE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Girl Who Hated School (1950). It seems likely that she is also the Monica Brooke who published two romance novels the following year—When Passion Waits (1951) and Divided Desire (1951).

More research needed; author of three children's books—Broad Is the Way (1953), The Adventures of Tina and Tim (1954), and 'They Shall Be Mine'—the last a school story.

Guiding aficionado and children's author; Hilary Follows Up, or, The Peridew Tradition (1939) is a school story; other titles are Dalmira Wins Through (1934), Cherry Becomes International (1946), and Ready for Anything (1948), and various non-fiction works about Guiding.

A. E. BURNS (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of only two books, the first a school story set in a Catholic convent school, called The Grand Duchess Benedicta (1915). Later, Burns published Peggy in Demand (1924), about which little is known. 

MARGUERITE L. BUTLER (dates unknown)
More research needed; probably a missionary in India herself, Butler published one girls' school story, Tulsi (1934), set in an Indian boarding school, which Sims and Clare praise for its cultural accuracy and realism; Butler also published the non-fiction Hindu Women at Home (1921).

JOAN BUTLER-JOYCE (dates unknown)
Author of two school stories praised by Sims and Clare, Hot Water (1935) and No Responsibility (1940), which subvert the clichès of school stories; she also published one additional children's book, She Went to London (1938) and what appears to be an adult novel, Catherine-Wheel (1939).

FRANCES CARPENTER (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of H. E. Boyten, aka H. E. Boyton)
Author of one girls' school story, A Rebel Schoolgirl (1938) and another title, Sally of the Circus (1939), as Carpenter; she had earlier published one book, Plot and Peril (1926) under her real name, which is described as an historical adventure for boys, set in England in 1556.

JUDITH CARR (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of Mrs. E. L. Fairbank)
Author of eight girls' stories in the 1940s and 1950s, most of them school tales, including The Templeton Twins (1947), Scholarship Sue (1948), The Jays of St John's (1948), Penelope's Prefects (1950), The New Girls of Netherby (1951), Madcap Melody (1953), and Gipsy at Greywalls (1955).

ANN CASTLETON (dates unknown)
Author of five girls' stories, four of them set in schools, often about girls discovering their true identities; titles include The Secret of Storm Abbey (1946), Bracken had a Secret (1947), The Witch's Wood (1948), Gen Finds a Family (1949), and That Holiday at School (1949).

DORA [BARR] CHAPMAN (1893-????)
(married name Francis, aka Dora B. Francis)
Author of about 10 girls' school stories noted by Sims and Clare for their relative realism; these include That Rebellious Schoolgirl (1924), An Eventful Term (1927), That Detestable New Girl (1931), Jennifer of Croft House (1934), and, under her pseudonym, The Knights of Study 13 (1935).

ANNE CHESNEY (dates unknown)
More research needed; the author of a single girls' school tale, Leslie Wins Through (1947).

ALICE M. CHESTERTON (dates unknown)
Author of two girls' stories set at a domestic affairs college—Whittenbury College (1915) and Christal's Adventure (1919); she also published books for young children and several other girls' stories, including Rhondda's Holiday (1909), Miss Netherby's Niece (1912), and The Pansy Patch (1912).

(pseudonym of Mamie Muhlenkamp, aka Patience Gilmour)
Author of girls’ fiction, often with Guide themes; three—The Marigolds Make Good (1937), A Schoolgirl from Hollywood (1939), and The School at Emery’s End (1944)—have school themes; others include Diana Takes a Chance (1940), The Seventh Magpie (1946), and Phyllida's Fortune (1947).

Renée CLARKE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single school story, A Turbulent Term (1948), which was originally subtitled "A Girls' School Mystery & Adventure Story."

Author of school stories and other children's fiction; Sims and Clare note her tendency toward unrealistic "thriller plots"; titles include A Term at Crossways (1939), A School Goes to Scotland (1944), Holly House School (1947), The School in the Dell (1948), and The Merryfield Mystery (1960).

DOROTHY M[ARY]. CLEWES (1907-2003)
(née Parkin, aka Dorothy Parkin)
Prolific author of fiction for children and adults from a debut school story, The Rivals of Maidenhurst (1925), published when she was 17, to at least the 1970s; others include The Wild Wood (1945), Summer Cloud (1951), The Jade Green Cadillac (1958), and Storm Over Innish (1972).

SUSAN CLIFFORD (dates unknown)
Author of a single girls' school story, The Mugwump (1930); apparently her only other published work was an activity book called Plans: A Book for Holidays and a Cure for "What-Shall-We-Do-Next?" (1929), which had either a sequel or a reprint called What Shall We Do Next? (1931).

RITA COATTS (1883-1955)
(full name Marguerite Harcourt Coatts, née Burrage)
From a family of boys' authors, Coatts wrote more than a dozen girls' school stories and 15 children's thrillers, including The Taming of Patricia (1934), Facing It Out (1937), Jane of Cherry Barn (1938), The Wrong School (1949), Room for One More (1950), and Breaking Bounds (1951).

(aka Peter Fraser)
Author of numerous children's books which Sims & Clare describe as "evangelistic," including the school stories Wendy of Glendorran (1951), Penelope's Secret (1953), At the King's Command (1953), The Cardinals of Cobleigh Manor (1958), and several pseudonymous boys' school stories.

JOYCE COLMER (dates unknown)
Author of a single girls' school story, Rosemary to the Rescue (1925), notable—according to Sims and Clare—primarily for its virulent anti-Semitism.

HEATHER CORNISH (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Dumps Takes Charge (1948).

THEODORA CORNISH (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, One Term: A Tale of Manor House School (1910).

GRACE COUCH (dates unknown)
Co-author, with Deirdre O'Brien, of a single girls' school story, New Girls at Lowmead (1945), and author of several books for younger children; Sims and Clare list her name as "Crouch," but this appears to be an error.

E[DITH]. E[LISE]. COWPER (c1860-1933)
Author of school stories, Guide stories, and other mystery and adventure tales ("in the Bessie Marchant tradition," according to Sims and Clare); titles include The Island of Rushes (1912), The Mystery Term (1923), The Holiday School (1927), and The Lodge in the Wood (1932).

JANE CRANSTON (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, First-Term Rebel (1955).

ISABEL CRAWFORD (dates unknown)
Author of four more or less girls' school stories; Phoebe's First Term (1928) and Phoebe & Company (1931) focus on a single character, while Willowmeads (1932) and Lola's Exploration (1933) tell two separate stories set at a single school; Sims and Clare appreciated Crawford's humor.

BRENDA CROSS (dates unknown)
(aka B. Cross)
Author of school stories featuring a movie star's daughter, which Sims and Clare found reminiscent of Nancy Breary—Barbara's Worst Term (1950) and Barbara in the Lower Fifth (1953). Cross may have had ties to the film industry herself as she also wrote a book about The Film Hamlet (1948).
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