Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book cover: "The Meadow-Brook Girls Across Country"

  • Title: The Meadow-Brook Girls Across Country, or The Young Pathfinders on a Summer Hike
  • Author: Janet Aldridge. (Sadly, I can't find any biographical information about her.)
  • Cover illustrator: Unknown
  • Publisher: Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia
  • Year: 1913
  • Notes: The Meadow-Brook Girls were based in New Hampshire and enjoyed outdoor activities and nature. There were six books in the series, according to, and they were all published in 1913 and 1914. This book was the second in the series. ... There are, as was common for the time, nine pages of advertisements for other Altemus juvenile-fiction series at the back of the back. As a preface to those listings, some advertising text states:
    "Really good and new stories for boys and girls are not plentiful. Many stories, too, are so highly improbable as to bring a grin of derision to the young reader's face before he has gone far. The name of ALTEMUS is a distinctive brand on the cover of a book, always ensuring the buyer of having a book that is up-to-date and fine throughout. No buyer of an ALTEMUS book is ever disappointed."
    ... There are characters in this book named Jane ("Crazy Jane") McCarthy, Margery Brown, Harriet Burrell, Hazel Holland, Grace Thompson and Miss Elting. There is a character with a lisp who is treated quite unkindly at times: "I don't lithp. I thpeak jutht like other folkth." One online reviewer states:
    "When the reader first meets this series, one burning question leaps to mind: what the heck is wrong with Grace 'Tommy' Thompson? ... At 14, she lisps, babbles, frequently needs to 'cuddle,' hallucinates pink elephants when she eats too late at night, wants to sleep in her tentmate's cot because she's 'thcaired of bearth', etc. The Meadow-Brook girls seem to be some early domestic species of Campfire girl. They receive 'honor beads' for things such as 'sleeping with a window open for 30 days,' 'learning to recognize and describe three different cries a baby makes,' and making soup five days in a row. Their camp uniform is an ankle-length, long-sleeved dress. This series is the missing link between Victorian-era girls' series and those of the 1920's, which feature more independent, adventurous girls for whom the idea of a career (at least until they get married) is not entirely foreign."
    ... Finally, I've had a handful of previous posts about Altemus books, including "American flag history, compliments of Leinbach & Bro. in Reading" and "World War I propaganda fiction: 'At the Defense of Pittsburgh.'"

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