What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

UNSOLVED: One specific book > series published in early 20th century, about girls at college (possibly a normal school or nursing school)

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message 1: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments All I remember is reading and loving this series, which was in the children's section of my local library in the 1980's but has since disappeared. It was a series with quite a few books (more than 5?). It was set in the 1920's or 1930's, not sure when it was published but not at all new in the 80's when I was reading them. They weren't heavy on plot, just little adventures at college for a set of friends. I think one of the girls got married and it followed her & new husband in their new life together in one of them, but I might be remembering that wrong.

message 2: by Sue (last edited Aug 01, 2014 11:53PM) (new)

Sue Elleker | 783 comments The Sue Barton series by Helen Dore Boylston? It starts with her as a student nurse, and all the books are titled-Sue Barton.......Nurse.

message 3: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments Thanks for the reply! I just looked that up on Wikipedia, and while it sounds like something I'd love :), that's not the one I remember. The series took place almost entirely at the college, maybe one or two books per year of college? and Sue Barton sounds *much* more exciting. The series I remember, the 'adventures' were all along the lines of typical college life at that time (parties, classes, sporting events, dating)

message 4: by CLM (last edited Aug 02, 2014 11:49AM) (new)

CLM | 302 comments Maybe Joan Foster, Freshman or Ruth Fielding at College? I would also take a look at books by Rosamond du Jardin and this series: Molly Brown's Freshman Days.

message 5: by Michele (last edited Aug 02, 2014 11:58AM) (new)

Michele | 2359 comments Maybe Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series? They start when the girls are little but it goes all the way up through Betsy's Wedding.

message 6: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments Well, my reading list is getting longer as I research each of these series to see if it's the one I remember! Thank you CLM and Michele for your replies. I know it's not Betsy-Tacy because I'm familiar with & like those books already. It can't be Joan Foster, Molly Brown, or Rosamund du Jardin's books because the one thing I'm *positive* about is that they took place during the 1920's or 1930's. That fascinated me at the time when I read these books because it was the same period of time that my grandmother was at college (she attended ~1928-1930) and I had loved looking at her scrapbooks and hearing her stories (for example, of how my grandfather would correct the grammar in her love notes and hand them back to her! he was a fellow student, not a professor-- and a wise guy, obviously). Reading the series that I dimly remember felt like a continuation of those conversations with her. The Ruth Fielding books go through the 1920's and 1930's, but they started much earlier, and seem to range through a number of scenarios beyond college, and also to be a series of mysteries, which the series I read wasn't.

message 7: by Feliks (last edited Aug 03, 2014 09:29AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) It may be this novel, The Group The Group by Mary McCarthy (which was the source for a sweet little 1966 film by Sidney Lumet)

message 8: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments Thanks for the reply, Feliks, but no. It was definitely a series, about girls in college, and the series started with the main character starting college. The series was shelved in the children's department in my library, although it was more like what is now called YA lit. This novel sounds interesting though.

message 9: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2359 comments Take a look at this list and see if any look familiar.

message 10: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 55 comments It's a bit earlier than the 1920s, but could you mean When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster? This was part of a once-popular series that the author later spun off into the more famous Daddy Long Legs and its sequel.

message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah MacPherson | 46 comments The Beverly Gray, Freshman series maybe? The first four books are Beverly Gray, Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, and I have a vague feeling that she did marry later in the series but could be wrong about that. The later ones, though, do tend to be straight mysteries, so maybe not. The only other girls' series books that I can think of where the main character married is the The Vanishing Shadow Judy Bolton series and those were pretty much straightforward mysteries.

message 12: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 147 comments The Wide Awake Girls - they go off to college later in the series.

message 14: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollylovesbooks) | 761 comments Maybe you can take a look at this list? And if it's not there, check out the authors on the list & view their other books - many of them were quite prolific.

Do you remember some other plot details? Girls' school stories were extremely popular in the early 20th century, so there are actually a lot of them out there!

message 15: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments I guess what I'm learning as you all (thank you, Kathy, Sarah, Brenda and Holly!) try to help me find this book series, is that:

a) there were a lot of 'girl goes to college, not much plot beyond that' books written from the late 1800's through 1920 or so, and then
b) there were a lot of 'girl goes to college and solves a mystery' books written from the 1930's to the 50's or 60's.

So I guess the series I remember was unusual in that it was set (and possibly written/published) in the 20's or 30's, but not a mystery or adventure series. I'm having trouble coming up with more details or plot points from the series because it was just such a nice 'nothing much happening but college life at that time' kind of thing. I think it was set in America, I'm not sure if the college was co-ed or not but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Vassar because I live near Vassar and I think I would have noticed clues that tipped me off that it was set near my hometown. I checked those lists carefully, and found a bunch of books I know and a bunch I look forward to reading someday (if I can get my hands on them!) but not one that is
1) part of a series
2) set in the 20's or 30's
3) not a mystery or an adventure but
4) *just* a light treatment of 'girl goes to college, makes friends and has fun'

Still hopeful!

message 16: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (last edited Aug 04, 2014 08:16PM) (new)

Lobstergirl | 38242 comments Mod
Speaking of Vassar, have you heard of the very old series "Three Vassar Girls"? They're from the 1880s and the Vassar girls go to England, South America, Italy, the Rhine (in different books) and in one book they "stay home." I haven't looked to see if they're on GR but I see them on Worldcat.


message 17: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38242 comments Mod
This is also earlier than what you're looking for, but in case you're interested: the Betty Wales series. Betty Wales, Junior, Betty Wales, Sophomore, Betty Wales B.A., etc.

It warms my heart to see that back in 1909 girls were being encouraged to go to college! Because I'm also reading about the Third Reich which made a law in 1934 that the number of females entering university could not exceed 10% of the number of males entering university....

message 18: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38242 comments Mod
From the 1910's there's the "Grace Harlowe" series.

"Grace Harlowe's second year at Overton College" etc.

message 19: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38242 comments Mod
Maybe the Nancy Pembroke series? Sample: "Nancy Pembroke, sophomore at Roxford" published in 1930.


There's also 'Nancy Pembroke, College Maid'...

message 20: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38242 comments Mod
That's about it for series from the 20s and 30s. I'm seeing more but they look like standalones.

message 21: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollylovesbooks) | 761 comments I found this really interesting book listed on Goodreads called The Encyclopaedia of School Stories: Volume 1: The Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories. I don't know if you could find a copy, but it might mention your series in there!

message 22: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollylovesbooks) | 761 comments Maybe the Marjorie Dean series by Pauline Lester? There are three series (high school, college, & post-grad) with 14 books in total.

message 23: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments I'm going to try the Marjorie Dean and see if that's the one-- if so, my library didn't stock the high school ones, because I'm positive the books I read started with the main character starting college. But it might be the one, I'm excited to see! I also got the Betty Wales just for fun, although it's too early to be it. I wish I could get my hands on that Encyclopaedia of School Stories, but so far no dice.

message 24: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollylovesbooks) | 761 comments Sarahmarie wrote: " I wish I could get my hands on that Encyclopaedia of School Stories, but so far no dice."

Worldcat has a list of all the libraries the book is at. Not too many, but maybe somewhere. I also realized that the The Encyclopaedia of School Stories is 2 volumes, one of them being the girls' one.

Anyway, I hope you find the book you're looking for! It looks like the Marjorie Dean series is on Project Gutenberg, so it should be easy to check it out! :] Good luck.

message 25: by Tab (new)

Tab (tabbrown) | 4967 comments Sarahmarie says: ...Reading the series that I dimly remember felt like a continuation of those conversations with her.

What a great story:) I really hope your book series is tracked down

message 26: by Emily (new)

Emily | 136 comments As someone who's read The Encyclopaedia of School Stories: Volume 1: The Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories pretty nearly cover to cover, I can say it's a wonderful resource, but even if you could track down a copy, it would be unlikely to help you because it covers exclusively British and British commonwealth books. I assume the series you're looking for is American?

Good luck with your search. College girl books are one of my particular interests so, I'll be following this thread with great interest. Do give the Betty Wales books a try -- although they were published early in the 20th century, they were reissued in the 1930s with updated illustrations, so you may have thought they were set at that time.

message 27: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments Thank you, Tab. And, Emily- I really appreciate the update about the Encyclopaedia! I was considering going to great lengths to get a look at it, but the series I read was American. Also, Holly: I read the Marjorie Dean and really liked it. It's in the same style as the books I remember (about college life and relationships among students more than an involved plot & lots of action). One difference that jumped out at me was the almost total absence of boys in this book! Even at their dances, it's all girls! That wasn't the case in the series I remember. If it wasn't a co-ed school, it was a sister school, with lots of interaction between the girls and boys.

message 28: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments Oh! And Emily: I don't think the books I remember were illustrated, or not much anyway. And the one thing I'm sure of is that they were set after WWI. The language & customs changed after that, it's my favorite period in time :)

message 29: by Emily (new)

Emily | 136 comments I was just giving this thread another look, and I noticed that the Graper Girls series by Elizabeth Corbett hadn't been mentioned, which somehow I'd thought it had. I think this is a strong possibility. It was a four book series about three sisters, and although the first one mostly concerns high school, the other three are set at college, and in the last one the oldest sister is married, and we hear a bit about her domestic life. There is no strong plot other than various bits of college fun and mishaps, and a lot of sorority life. Young men are a pretty nearly a constant presence. Unfortunately, the books are hard to find, and you'll probably have to request an inter-library loan to see if they're the series you remember.

message 30: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2359 comments Still looking for this, Sarahmarie?

message 31: by Amber (Daisymau) (new)

Amber (Daisymau) (daisymau) | 1132 comments The Cherry Ames, Student Nurse (Cherry Ames, #1) by Helen Wells Cherry Ames, Student Nurse series by Helen Wells?

message 32: by Liralen (last edited Apr 15, 2017 12:24PM) (new)

Liralen | 709 comments The Babs books might be a faint possibility, though only the third (of four) books takes place at college.

message 33: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments I still haven't found the series I remember, but I enjoyed tracking down some of these other books & giving them a try!

message 34: by Emily (new)

Emily | 136 comments Did you have a chance to take a look at any of the Graper Girls books? (per my suggestion in message 29)

message 35: by Natasha (new)

Natasha | 206 comments I came on to suggest the Nancy Pembroke series and the Grace Harlowe series (if I recall, this goes beyond college years to marriage). There certainly were a lot of these series!

The Jane Allen series? http://c.web.umkc.edu/crossonm/janeal... (more here: http://vintagegirlhood.blogspot.com/2...)

Molly Brown series? http://c.web.umkc.edu/crossonm/mollyb... (more here: https://makedoandread.wordpress.com/2...)

The Helen Grant series? https://www.goodreads.com/series/4791...

Do you remember any specific activities the girls enjoyed? Pranks? Did they live on campus in dorms or off campus in private housing?Anything about the location of the college (did it snow there, was it far from their homes, was it near water)? Had the girls been friends since high school or did they meet in college?

message 36: by Adele (new)

Adele | 1213 comments Did you rule out the Nancy Pembroke series Lobstergirl suggested in message 19 and Natasha mentioned in message 35? This is set in the US published in 1930-31. The series includes 5 or 6 books (maybe more - they aren't all on goodreads and some might have been published under different titles. Is Nancy Pembroke's Vacation in Canada the same thing as Nancy Pembroke in Nova Scotia? )

message 37: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Jacobs (miriamcjacobs) Cherry Ames? The first vol. is "Student Nurse."

message 38: by Sarahmarie (new)

Sarahmarie | 12 comments of everything mentioned so far, the Molly Brown series sounds closest, I'm going to try to track those down!

message 39: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 709 comments Miriam wrote: "Cherry Ames? The first vol. is "Student Nurse.""

I'd guess not -- the Cherry Ames books are focused on her career as a nurse rather than the student end of things.

Buuuuut if you enjoy satire, I would highly recommend The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse, which features a lesbian Cherry Aimless...

message 40: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38242 comments Mod
Sarahmarie, are you still looking for this or did you find it?

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