Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Little Maid Series, by Alice Turner Curtis

It's not often that a series of books for young adolescent girls makes it off the ground. Very few reach the level of success achieved by Nancy Drew and the American Girl books. As part of a project, I've been devouring an early historical fiction series for girls aged 7 to 12 - the Little Maid books.

First published in the 1910s, the Little Maid series is a bit of an anomaly, to me. The publishing boom of girls series fiction novels came years after Alice Turner Curtis's books dealing with young girls living during the American Revolution. Unlike the collectible books of Betsy Tacy, the Bobbsey Twins, or Cherry Ames, these stories have fallen out of the public eye. Tracking them down was a challenge in and of itself.

I'm currently in possession of A Little Maid of Province Town, A Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony, and A Little Maid of Old Connecticut. They're charming little books, republished in the 1990s by Applewood Books, which include "turn of the century" paper dolls to cut from the inside flaps. The writing is basic, and the plot twists obvious (and unlikely). Each heroine, a young girl with strong morals and a maturity beyond her years, plays an important role in the Revolution.

So far, so good. I plan to acquire more of these novels, and work with them throughout the semester. has been invaluable, as these aren't the sorts of books you find the local Barnes and Noble.

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