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).


  1. I am in LOVE with the cover art - I can imagine having lots of it matted and framed, and hang it in one's den. Tom

    1. The cover art is rather amazing in its variety. Some really beautiful, some funny, and one or two that gave me pause, such as The Best Term Ever, which seems--judging by the cover--to be about a schoolgirl who is possessed by an evil spirit from a music box???

  2. I rather like the Christine of the Fourth cover. She resembles a young Elizabeth Taylor!

    1. You're right, Nicola. I remember thinking she looks like she was on a set of a film--now I know why!

  3. Happy New Year - and may 2015 bring many spectacular and much-desired special middlebrow finds to your door!

  4. Yet again I'm amazed by the work you put into your lists.I have many of these books and have never bothered to write about them. And where do you find all those lovely dustwrapper images? I've had Caroline's First Term for years but have never seen a dustwrapper.

    I'm going to express a minority opinion here. I have all the Trudy books by Mary Alice Faid and, evangelistic or not, I really like them. They describe a particular, homely (in the English sense) sort of life very well. I also enjoy the Linda series. The adventures may be far-fetched but Winifred Donald was an English teacher and wrote well.

    Finally, I endorse The Book's view of Mollie Hazledene's Schooldays. It's really funny.

    I'm so glad I discovered your blog this year.

    1. Oh, good, I'm glad I was able to surprise you with cover art you hadn't seen before! Thanks for your recommendation of Mollie Hazledene--I have a feeling I'll be ordering a copy very shortly. And I'm interested that you like the Trudy books--I was finding the covers seductive but wasn't sure if the religious content would be overpowering. Thanks for reassuring me.

      I'm glad you discovered the blog too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge in comments and making the blog better than it would otherwise be.

  5. I wonder if you can help my search for a beloved book.Here's everything I can remember of the plot: A young woman goes to boarding school in disguise, hoping to clear her name of murder. Her daughter, fostered to a widowed doctor who believes his baby daughter also died, is in the fourth form, friends with a girl who turns out in the end to be the doctor's daughter. There is a guest book with pages cut out that is crucial to her alibi. The daughter plays Titania in Midsummer Nights Dream. The identity of the doctor's dsughter is discovered after a hiking accident. Be very glad of any help tracking this down.

  6. ozbrooks@aol.com -- did you ever get a name for this book?


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