Wednesday, January 14, 2015

UPDATE: Girls' school authors (G-K)

Purely by coincidence, in this third post about school story authors added to my Overwhelming List in the most recent update, there are at least three authors who published books with wartime themes and will therefore need to be added to my War List when time allows.

CONSTANCE GREGORY published only a single book, The Castlestone House Company (1918), in which World War I provides the background for Guides dealing with spies and wartime misadventures.

MARGARET W. GRIFFITHS was the author of several adventure-oriented school and holiday stories before, during, and after World War II. Details about her specific works are sparse, but presumably at least Hazel in Uniform (1945) deals with the war?

And E[LEANOR]. L[UISA]. HAVERFIELD's various children's books are, according to Sims and Clare, "redolent of the Victorian era," but The Girls of St Olave's (1919), at least, features wartime air raids.

There are several writers in this batch who are interesting in one way or another without necessarily making me feel compelled to read them. For example, in looking into VALERIE HASTINGS, I was reminded of the fact that some of the girls' periodicals in which many of these authors published short or serialized fiction contained what would now be called comic strips, which were often set in girls' schools and depicted many of the same exploits we're accustomed to from novels about school life. Two of Hastings' books were adapted from her Wendy and Jinx "strip," and you can see a sampling (and a whole lot more about girls' comics) at UK Girls Comics.

JOAN HERBERT reminded me that there was another substantial subset of girls' fiction devoted to the Girl Guides. A fair number of the authors seem to have overlapped, and a fair number, like Herbert, combined the two genres with tales of Guides at school. Meanwhile, THORA E. HORNSBY has allowed me to add yet another name to a growing list (albeit one not explicitly compiled yet) of literary prodigies, who apparently wrote her debut, Diana at School (1944), at the ripe old age of 13 (though it wasn't published until she was 15). Two more books followed before Hornsby retired at the advanced age of 19. According to Sims & Clare, her works were characterized by not-entirely-believable action—perhaps not surprising all things considered.

FREDA M. HURT was one of a not-very-large group, as far as I can recall, of authors who started off writing girls' school stories and progressed to a fairly successful career as a mystery writer. She will also be included in an upcoming post on mystery writers added in the most recent update to my list—which will necessitate a revision of the Mystery List as well.

And ELIZABETH HYDE poses a bit of a mystery herself. She's credited with two girls' stories, though Sims & Clare note that she is credited as "Frances Newton" in one listing of her books. The Hyde name is almost certainly a pseudonym, and I've been wondering (with no concrete evidence at all), if both Elizabeth Hyde and Frances Newton could have been additional, as-yet-unidentified pseudonyms of Frances Cowen, who is already known to have used the name "Eleanor Hyde" for historical and romantic suspense novels. Probably not, but the combinations of names are intriguing.

Several times in pouring over Sims & Clare's wonderful Book, I paused to look more closely at some titles they described as straddling the boundary between children's and adult fiction. I quite like straightforward school fiction aimed at girls, but I'm also very interested in books set in schools but written for adults (such as one of my favorites, Mary Bell's Summer's Day). In this post, there are two such titles. LESLEY GARTH's only book, Sixteen or So (1923), a series of school-related stories, is described by Sims & Clare as "semi-adult in tone and outlook." And even more striking to me is LUCY KINLOCH's only novel, A World Within a School (1937), apparently based on her own time at Harrogate Ladies' College. Of it, Sims & Clare conclude: "There are many hundreds of books for girls which treat school as the only world; there are dozens (for adults) which see the essential pettiness and enclosure of school life. A World Within a  School, understanding the second, yet relishes the first." Sign me up!

And finally, there are a few other writers who may have to end up on my TBR list. The Sims & Clare descriptions of works by FRANCES GREENWOOD, JUDITH GREY, OLIVE L. GROOM (upon whom Sims & Clare note the influence of Elinor Brent-Dyer), A. M. IRVINE, and RAYMOND JACBERNS (who created the first school series and whom Sims & Clare call "required reading") make me think I may have to track down works by each of them. Perhaps you'll end up reading more about some or all of them here…

And then, of course, there is the cover art. Hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed tracking it down!

Novelist and children's author; Irene's Lame Dogs (1916) is partly a school story; other titles include Lottie's Silver Burden (1879), The Old Square Pew (1904), Betty of Rushmore (1916), Meg of the Heather (1920), Luke's Wife (1926), If Thou Wert Blind (1927), and Ask Rachel (1937).

LESLEY GARTH (dates unknown)
Author of a single book, Sixteen or So (1923), comprised of several school-related stories which Sim and Clare describe as "semi-adult in tone and outlook."

PAT GORDON (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Madcap Petrina (1934).

Author of only one book, The Oldmay Scholarship & True Blue (1927), containing two school-related novellas.

LYDIA S[USANNA]. GRAHAM (dates unknown)
More research needed; probably a Quaker, Graham wrote a play, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (1931), a travel book, Port to Port (1935), books about religion, and one novel, The Three Ts at Aberleigh (1932), tracing a young girl's development from childhood to the verge of adulthood.

EVA GRAY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two non-school children's books, In the Fairy Ring (1935) and Rainbow Stories (1936), and one school story, The Three Wishes (1938).

MOLLIE M[????]. GREEN (dates unknown)
More research needed; apparently a librarian and author of a single girls' school story, Schoolgirl Janet (1947).

(pseudonym of Ivy May Bradley)
More research needed; apparently the author of only one girls' school story, Mary Todd's Last Term (1939), praised by Sims and Clare for the depth of characterization of its rebellious head girl heroine.

CONSTANCE GREGORY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' story, The Castlestone House Company (1918), set during World War I, in which Guides deal with the standard spies and wartime misadventures.

JANET GREY (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of Daisy White)
More research needed; author of a sequence of four girls' school stories set at St. Ursula's School, including The Advent of Anne (1941), The Concerns of Cecily (1947), The Sixth Form Pantomime (1949), and Lucille—House Captain (1950).

JUDITH GREY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of three linked tales—Christmas Term at Chillinghurst (1942), That Dramatic Term! (1946), and Summer Term at Chillinghurst (1947)—set during the revamping of a bad school; she also wrote a stand-alone school story, Duchess in Disguise (1943), and one non-school story, Steps in the Dark (1949).

MARGARET W. GRIFFITHS (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of adventure-oriented school and holiday stories, including A Queer Holiday (1936), J.P. of the Fifth (1937), The House on the Fjord (1939), Hazel in Uniform (1945), Wild Eagle's Necklace (1945), Elizabeth at Grayling Court (1947), and The Blue Mascot (1949).

OLIVE L[ILIAN]. GROOM (1920-2006)
(née Weller, aka Olive Lindsey)
Author of more than two dozen books in all, including pseudonymous romance novels and several Brent-Dyer-influenced school stories, among them The School of False Echoes (1947), Holly of Swanhouse (1949), Roxbrunn Finds the Way (1954), and Avril in the Alps (1955).

MARGARET HALE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Last Term at St. Andrew's (1953).

DOROTHY M[AY]. HARDY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of one girls' school story, Christabel at Cleve (1951), and a non-school sequel, Christabel's Cornish Adventure (1954).

CONSTANCE HARVEY (dates unknown)
Author of ten school stories given mixed reviews by Sims and Clare, including Ups and Downs of School Life (1926), In and Out of Mischief (1927), The Rival Houses (1928), Mistress High and Mighty (1931), Pam Wins Through (1932), Alison—the Sport (1934), and Two Peas in a Pod (1936).

VALERIE HASTINGS (dates unknown)
Author of a "picture strip" called Wendy and Jinx, from which two school stories came—Wendy & Jinx and the Dutch Stamp Mystery and Wendy & Jinx and the Missing Scientist (1957)—and two later school stories, Jill at Hazlemere (1964) and Jill Investigates (1965).

Author of about 40 works of children's fiction and adult romance, including school stories which Sims & Clare note are "redolent of the Victorian era"; they also note that The Girls of St Olave's (1919) features wartime air raids, and Joan Tudor's Triumph (1918) is unique for its tone of Gothic horror.

NANCY M. HAYES (1886-1929)
(pseudonym of Annie Mabel Hayes, married name Flexman)
Author of four girls' school stories of the 1920s—The Fourth Form Invaders (1924), Peg Runs Away to School (1924), That Turbulent Term (1926), and The Castle School (1928)—and other Guide and adventure stories such as The Plucky Patrol (1924) and The Boy from Nowhere (1927).

BARBARA HECTOR (dates unknown)
Author of one girls' school story, Champions in the Making (1943), a mystery for children, The Moorland Mystery (1948), and adult novels including No Through Road (1942), The Victim's Niece (1946), As the Stars Fade (1947), The Rainbow Road (1959), and various hospital romances to 1971.

JOAN HERBERT (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of J. D. Lewis, full name unknown)
Author of several girls' school stories, including Lorna's First Term (1932), With Best Intentions (1935), The Three Halves (1937), and One's a Pair (1939), as well as other children's fiction, such as The Wrights are Left (1938), Penelope the Particular (1939), and Jennifer Gay (1944).

F. M. HEWARD (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Susan the Beast (1949).

O. P. HILL (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single children's book, Dernham Days (1934), set partly in a girls' school.

E[LSIE]. MAY HOOTON (dates unknown)
Author of eight children's tales of the 1950s and 1960s—the school story The Harbord Prize (1955), as well as Anne's Call (1951), Cherry's Corner (1953), The Winning Side (1954), Those Terrible Tindalls (1956), Julie's Bicycle (1959), Sally's Summer Adventures (1960), and Wendy (1964).

ESSEX HOPE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of Pen Goes North (1949), part of which is set in school, at least two other children's books, Turned Adrift: The Story of a Dog (1937) and A Dog for Richard (1966), and what may be an adult novel, I Have Come Home (1940).

(née Cureton, aka Helen Dudley)
Author of fiction for adults and children, including the sports-oriented school stories Anne, Young Swimmer (1960) and Young Netball Player (1961); novels include The Bishop of Kenelminster (1961), The Unravish'd Bride (1963), Island of Perfumes (1985), and Cottage Dreams (1985).

THORA E. HORNSBY (1929-????)
(married name Neal)
Another precocious literary prodigy who wrote the first of her three school stories when she was only 13; her titles, characterized by lots of not entirely believable action (according to Sims & Clare), are Diana at School (1944), Three Thrilling Terms (1946), and The Feud (1948).

Author of a single girls' school novel, The Girls of Chiltern Towers (1929).

Author of Christian-themed girls' stories, including a series set at St. Margaret's; titles include Margaret the Rebel (1957), Margaret of St. Margaret's (1959), Return to St. Margaret's (1962), The Strange New Girl (1964), and The Secrets of the Castle (1967).

Author of numerous children's books and a series of mysteries; works include the school stories The Wonderful Birthday (1953) and Fun Next Door (1954), as well as The Body at Busman's Hollow (1959), Sweet Death (1961), Death and the Dark Daughter (1966), and Dark Design (1972).

ELIZABETH HYDE (dates unknown)
Unidentified author of two girls' school stories, Valerie of Gaunt Crag (1956) and Babette of Bayfern Manor (1957); Sims & Clare note she is credited as "Frances Newton" in one listing; could she be Frances Cowen, who is known to have used another Hyde pseudonym?

A[MY]. M[ARY]. IRVINE (1866-1950)
Author of school stories for both girls and boys, as well as some adult fiction; Sims & Clare praise her school stories, including Cliff House (1908), A Girl ofthe Fourth (1910), Naida the Tenderfoot (1919), The School Enemy (1925), and A School Conspiracy (1926).

(pseudonym of Georgiana Mary Isabel Ash)
"[R]equired reading for the historian of girls' school stories," according to Sims & Clare, Jacberns wrote a series of interconnected tales in the 1900s and 1910s, such as The New Pupil (1902), How Things Went Wrong (1905), A Schoolgirl's Battlefield (1910), and Tabitha Smallways, Schoolgirl (1913).

PAULINE M. JAMES (1926-2011)
(married name Whibley, aka Polly Whibley)
Author of two girls' school stories—The Island Mystery (1950) and Challenge to Caroline (1952)—and, according to Sims & Clare, three other girls' stories I was unable to locate; she also wrote The Heights of Heidelberg, published by the Elsie J. Oxenham Society.

VICKI JOHNSTONE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Phantom Family (1948), but little else is known about her.

ANNE KAY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Girls of Deepdene (1937).

FELICITY KEITH (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of Miss Montserrat, first name unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Oakhill Guide Company (1933).

MARGARET KILROY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two early girls' school stories, The Little Torment (1909) and Study Number Eleven (1911).

From a Scottish family, but settling later in life in the U.S., Kinloch published a single novel, A World Within a School (1937), based on her own time at Harrogate Ladies' College, which Sims & Clare intriguingly describe as straddling the line between girls' story and adult novel.

Author of a single girls' school story, Keep Troth (1951), and one other earlier work of fiction, But If Not (1924), about which little is known; she also wrote history and biography, and one undated title, In Honey-Bird Land, described as an account of aspects of life in India for young readers.


  1. What jolly cover art, Scott! It's the likes of The Turbulent Term that make me realise how much I missed by not going to boarding school. Clearly I would have made friends for life there, and shared ripping adventures with intrepid girls who had more going for them than boys and makeup and clothes.

    1. I imagine that a good amount of what's described in these books never happened in anyone's school, but I know what you mean, Susan. I seem to be reliving the girlhood I never had through these books too.

    2. Oh no,Scott.... Say it isn't so. :^o

  2. Oh lovely memories - I had Jill at Hazlemere, a LONG time ago

    1. Glad I could refresh your memory! That looks like a particularly fun one.

  3. A 'blog-hop' from Frugal in Suffolk brought me to your door. Have you explored the works of Elinor M Brent Dyer. She wrote extensively from the 1920s until the late 50s (including several books with a backdrop of WW2). The Girl Guide movement was also a key story-line. I am lucky enough to have an almost complete collection from the 1960s and 1970s paperback editions. Jx

    1. I have read two or three of the Chalet School books, Jan, and have several more on my TBR shelves. How lovely to have a nearly complete set. I've enjoyed them quite a lot. Do you know that some of the paperbacks were abridged? The Friends of the Chalet School website has a list of which were most edited.

  4. In love with the cover art - some of it is so captivating as to make me want to take out a second mortgage and find all the titles! Although Freda M. Hurt's The Wonderful Birthday does seem to have a perspective disadvantage - and a person of color - looking mean - but still, quite unusual - I wonder how she refers to that character therein? Perhaps in terms we wouldn't use today. Tom

  5. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't even noticed that character, Tom! It is rather intriguing. I recall a Violet Methley cover from an older post that suggested some questionable portrayals of other races. Now I might have to read this one just to see how it's handled!

    1. Those Freda Hurt books about an unusual school, Pinetops, do *not* portray the black boy in a way we could dislike. He's just another school member. I remember thinking when I read them that Hurt's attitudes were advanced for her time.

    2. Oh, good. Thank you for jumping in and letting us know. The books sound even more intriguing now, and I definitely want to track down at least one.


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