Long before Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley High, the Babysitters’ Club, or Magic Tree House, series books provided a source of enjoyable fiction for children. The first children’s fiction series appeared in the United States in the 1830s, and by the 1860s the genre was well-established and earning both praise and censure.
I’ve been researching series books for over twenty-five years. This page draws upon some of that research; it is devoted to bio-bibliographies and commentary about nineteenth-century authors of series books for girls and younger children as well as samples of some of their writing. It includes some of the century’s most popular authors and a number of lesser-known figures whose works — now almost forgotten — show the evolution of the genre.