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The Patty Fairfield Series, by Carolyn Wells: a sort of reference page.

#1 Patty Fairfield (1901) (Text at PG) (Review at RQ)

Patty Fairfield leaves her home with her father to spend a year visiting four sets of aunts, uncles and cousins and to learn about proportion.

#2 Patty at Home (1904) (Text at PG) (Review at RQ) (Illustrations)

Patty and her father settle down in Vernondale and Patty learns about housekeeping. First appearances of Kenneth Harper and Mr. Hepworth.

#3 Patty in the City (1905) (Review at RQ)

Patty moves to New York City and enrolls in the Oliphant School. First appearance of the Farringtons.

#4 Patty’s Summer Days (1906) (Text at PG) (Text at GoogleBooks) (Review at RQ)

Mr. Fairfield and Nan get married. Patty graduates from the Oliphant School and spends the summer traveling with the Farringtons and at Sandy Cove on Long Island.

#5 Patty in Paris (1907) (Text at PG) (Review at RQ) (Illustrations)

The Farringtons take Patty to Paris with them.

#6 Patty’s Friends (1908) (Text at PG) (Review at RQ)

Patty makes friends in England, and helps some of them find a lost family fortune.

#7 Patty’s Pleasure Trip (1909) (Review at RQ)

Patty gallivants around Italy and buys lots of souvenirs.

#8 Patty’s Success (1910) (Text at PG) (Review at RQ)

Patty manages to earn fifteen dollars all by herself. First appearance of Phil Van Reypen.

#9 Patty’s Motor Car (1911)

Patty enters a contest and wins an electric car, which she names The Swift Camilla. First appearance of Mona Galbraith.

#10 Patty’s Butterfly Days (1912) (Text at PG) (Review at RQ)

Patty spends the summer at Spring Beach with Mona Galbraith. First appearance of Bill Farnsworth.

#11 Patty’s Social Season (1913) (Text at PG)

Patty makes her debut into society.

#12 Patty’s Suitors (1914) (Text at PG)

Patty doesn’t do a whole lot besides going to parties. First appearance of Kit Cameron.

#13 Patty’s Romance (1915)

Patty is kidnapped! Also she goes on a trip with Phil Van Reypen and his aunt.

#14 Patty’s Fortune (1916)

Aunty Van dies and Patty becomes very ill.

#15 Patty Blossom (1917) (Text at PG)

Patty gets involved with disreputable artistic types. Then she gets engaged.

#16 Patty-Bride (1918)

Patty gets married during World War I.

#17 Patty and Azalea (1919) (Text at PG)

Patty’s husband’s cousin Azalea is a wild western girl, given to stunt riding and baby-kidnapping.

50 comments

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE tha patty fairfield series and have all but two!


    • I have all the Patty books and have read them since I was a liitle girl. My mother had them in the 30′s and I ended up with them and still read them at age 58. I love all the descriptions of her clothes. I always thought perhaps the last 2, Patty Bride and Patty and Azalea were written by someone else. I see a lot of readers felt something was a little wierd about them. Maybe Caroln Welles was trying to write more seriously due to the war, but the character of Azalea was crudely developed like the author did not know how to describe a rude person in a realistic way.


  2. Which two? :)


  3. I demand reviews of the rest of the series! I bought the whole series on the strength of the first reviews and loved them. I’ve already re-read all of the ones from the introduction of Bill, since that was my favorite storyline. Minus Patty and Azalea, which is sort of bizarre and out of place.


  4. Patty and Azalea is pretty weird, but — stunt riding! baby-kidnapping! The one I find sort of out of place is Patty-Bride, because somehow Patty and Bill don’t act very much like themselves.

    Eventually there will be reviews of the whole series up. I reread all the books occasionally, and I just stopped reviewing halfway through on the most recent pass.


  5. To me the most bizarre part of Patty and Azalea is Phil the aristocrat getting with “Azalea.” Everyone’s flabbergasted that Patty would consider the indecency of light opera, while “Azalea” has been seen by the whole country in a Western. Plus she’s abrasive and completely lacking in social graces. I hope his aunt haunts him for that.

    The second weirdest part is my main problem with Patty-Bride, which is that Bill stops being blunt and fun and unconventional and turns into a humorless middle-aged man. Who forbids (?!) Patty to hang out with Bohemians, dance barefoot, appear on stage, and, most ridiculously, ride in airplanes. I think he’s supposed to be seen as rescuing her from these foolish scrapes, but it comes off as controlling and presumptive.

    As a huge fan of the Beverly Gray, Adventure Girls, and Doris Force series, I couldn’t really get or support the anti-flying stance. It also seems out of step with the times (all these other series books fawn over pilots)–or maybe there was a shift in perception between the ’10s and the ’30s? I tend to forget how early the Patty books were.


  6. Azalea was supposed to be unconventional and cool, which totally works for, say, L.T. Meade, but not for Carolyn Wells. One of the things I love about Patty is that while she’s always fun to read about, she’s also always completely within the bounds of good taste. But I can’t say I feel too sorry for Phil, because I never liked him very much. Actually, though, Phil and Azalea starting married life haunted by the ghost of Mrs. Van Reypen is a cool concept, in a sitcom-ish way.

    All the fun goes out of Patty and Bill’s relationship when they get engaged. I adore Bill, and I’m okay with him being overbearing when he’s, say, carrying Patty away from Sam Blaney & Co. because she danced barefoot, but when he’s all disapproving of her when they’re married, it comes off a bit creepy.

    It’s early for airplanes, but not that early. I think L. Frank Baum had already done his girl pilot series by then. That part did bother me, but more because of Patty’s lack of adventurousness than because of Bill’s objections. But riding in an airplane was certainly more socially acceptable than going on stage, which was totally out of the question for a wealthy, unmarried society girl in the teens.


  7. I mentioned these books to a friend the other day and she sent me the link to this site. The Patty Fairfield books were my favorites when I was a girl–I had an almost-complete set (missing only Patty’s Motor Car and Patty and Azalea) that had been my mother’s when she was young. We didn’t have a lot of books in our house and I read these over and over. Decades later, I’m confident that I could quote most of the last chapter of “Patty Blossom” from memory! In my thirties I had a used bookstore find me copies of the two books that I was missing.

    I loved that stuffy old Phil fell in love with the highly unconventional Azalea–and thought it a bit of a cheat that she was revealed at the end to be a Boston Adams, and not Bill’s cousin at all.

    I loved Bill throughout, although I thought he was a bit stuffy about the barefoot dancing. His forbidding airplane-riding was because it was dangerous (and indeed, Patty’s scarf gets tangled in the propellor and she nearly strangles).

    For me the best part about these books is that they reveal details about life in their era–in the first book telephones and automobiles are rarities (the girls get about in a pony cart). You can see society changing as the books go along.

    You should also know that Carolyn Wells was best known as a satirist, so who knows how much of these books was written tongue-in-cheek. Patty is rather too good to be true!


  8. I agree that Azalea’s real origins were a cop-out, but I didn’t like her very much, and I was never really a fan of Phil, so I thought they deserved each other. I also adore Bill, complete with stuffiness, right up until Patty-Bride. Somehow the absent fiance isn’t as romantic as the the suitor who is always on his way in or out of town.

    The historical detail is fun, isn’t it? In one — maybe Patty Blossom, when Patty goes with Mona and Roger and Phil to check out Mona’s Spring Beach house? — they take a thermos with them on a picnic and they’d only been invented a couple of years before. Also, isn’t it awesome when the accessories for Patty’s car include a flower vase?

    I do know that Carolyn Wells was a satirist. She had three almost separate and overlapping writing careers — one as a humorist, one as a writer of children’s fiction, and one as a mystery novelist. Her children’s books actually brought her the least fame, while her nonsense verse made her America’s foremost female humorist and her mysteries made her “the dean of American mystery writers” in the 1930s.

    I think she less serious about the Patty books than about almost anything else she wrote. Her Marjorie books are a little bit autobiographical sometimes, and the Two Little Women books tend toward the moral, but with the Patty books she definitely plays around with the conventions of girls’ literature.


  9. I also have most of the Marjorie books and maybe a couple of dozen of her mysteries–courtesy of the used-book dealer who, after I had her find the two Patty books I was missing, decided that I must want every book Carolyn Wells ever wrote! The mysteries are also interesting from a historical perspective. For instance, I recall that one plot revolves around a girl who, because she was adopted, was not eligible to inherit her parents’ estate when they died without wills. I have to assume that this was true at the time although it seems like an odd distinction to make.


  10. It does seem like an odd distinction, but maybe the issue was that she wasn’t legally adopted? I think the difference has less to do with inheritance laws than that people could have a kid brought to live with them without making any legal arrangements. Another thing I find interesting is that usually the murder releases a young woman from some sort of unpleasant position, although I guess the one you’re talking about presents an opposite scenario.

    I kind of do want every book Carolyn Wells ever wrote, except for the nonsense verse ones, which don’t really do much for me, but I’ve never come across one of her mystery novels in a used bookstore. The only ones I’ve read are the ones available online. Which ones have you got?


  11. Oh you glorious people! To have finally found fellow Patty aficionados! My story is that we had one book, “Butterfly Days,” that my mom had carried with her from childhood. I read it so many times, and would spend hours looking at the page that listed the rest of the series and try to figure out from the titles what happened to Patty.

    One day we were in an antique shop and there they were- the whole delicious set of ‘em for like a buck a piece. I guess I was in 9th or 10th grade. I read them so many times they fell apart, and I have been working to replace them since.

    I am so much of who I am because of Pattty! What a totally cool chick she was for the times, and I have so often (even today at age 44) found myself when in a quandary wondering, WWPD (what would Patty do?!)

    I think I have never been truly happy in love because I have not yet found my Bill. I have had my Phillip, and my Kenneth and even my Mr. Hepworth, but no Bill. I even once dated a Texan just to see if maybe…

    Ok, so obviously I am obsessed; I have even had dreams that the books were made into a movie that I was watching! But the rest of you sound pretty ga ga too, and I love it!

    I have a number of Carolyn Well’s other books as well. One of my favourites is “Ask Me a Question.” It is 180 pages of questions to be answered such as:

    Does lion-farming pay?
    Who is reported to have fiddled while Rome burned?
    What is threnody?

    and the answers can be found in the back of the book. Of course, many of the questions are based around popular topics of the time, which makes it all the more fascinating.

    Rock on Patty lovers! i am so happy to have found you!


    • I love the Patty Fairfield books too! I read them over and over again from 5th grade through high school! It is a pleasure to find other people just as thrilled with the books. I thought Bill..Little Billy was just the sort of man I would marry! He wasn’t controlling – just proper and wanted Patty to have self-control. Okay, so they were a bit old fashioned, but I like that! The best part is that he treasured her and THAT’S ROMANTIC! :)


  12. For me, one of the coolest things about this blog is that it has become the corner of the the internet for Patty Fairfield fans. I’m really glad you’ve found it, and I’d love any suggestions about additional content that you may have.

    Also, while it never would have occurred to me to refer to Patty as “a totally cool chick,” it’s kind of wonderfully appropriate. There may be no cooler girl anywhere in children’s literature.


  13. http://flickr.com/photos/27245196@N02/2945024583/

    if it is of any interest to anyone, I was able to obtain this signature of Carolyn Wells in an auction. I have it framed and on my desk. She uses her full (married) name to include the Houghton. It is dated 1923.


  14. I am wanting to find the whole set for my wife , if that is possible. Is there someone who can point me toward that goal?
    magicmann0@yahoo.com if so

    Thanks


  15. Being a fan of both Patty (and Marjorie) … thought I’d pop in and say how great to find all these Patty books in one spot. I started with the fourth one that I picked up at some book sale… and have since tracked down some of the others to read, but there are ones here I have yet to explore.

    this is so great!


  16. The fourth one was my first, too! I’ve since collected all the rest, but I hope they’ll also all be available online sometime soon. I’d do it myself if I had a book scanner or something.


  17. “Phil butter and eggs” ;) OMG, I can’t believe I found this! I used to read these every summer when I was visiting my grandmother in New York. I loved the scene when Patty had to keep the letter secret from the spy trying to coerce her into revealing it. Lots of good memories from these books. Wow.


  18. I think everyone who has ever read these book must have good memories of them. They’re kind of special like that ;)


  19. I had almost all of these books 1st edition as a child. I loved them very much and it breaks my heart that the box they were in got lost during a move. I just hope they went to a good home. I’d forgotten all about them until now and I want the collection again, though I know I probably can’t afford to buy all 1st editions :(


  20. I’ve read almost all patty bookks online..but the one that’s missing is patty bride..could some one PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE put it up on project gutenberg or something..i’d sell my soul to read it…


  21. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEAAASEEEE


  22. I live in India…it’s hard here..


    • This isn’t really the place for requests like this. I have no way of creating etexts, and I don’t think any of my other readers do either.


  23. okay..sorry for bugging you. Thanks any way.


  24. i’ve been looking everywhere, but I can’t find a list of the marjorie books. I only recently found out about the patty series, and I’m very interested in it, it sounds great and I will start reading them as soon as I can. But I can’t seem to find any information about her other marjorie series. Can anyone tell me how many books there are in that series and their titles in order? So far I’ve found 6 but not sure what order


  25. Wow. It’s good to see so many “Patty” fans! I have 8 of the Patty books, and love all of them. Some were given to me by my mother, who I think had them when she was a kid. They have the blue sort of fabric covers and some of them have a paper picture of Patty glued to the front cover. I would be happy to lend mine to someone in exchange for the ones I haven’t read yet, or (am I allowed to say this?) sell mine, although I have no idea what they are worth, mostly in good but not excellent condition. I would keep them, but my daughter isn’t a reader :(


    • Anyone still looking for Patty Fairfield books? I have a full set plus some duplicates to sell (from devoted friends, library sales, and used-book stores)– all in good shape, though well-read. And of course, always in the best of taste and proportion.
      PFM


  26. I’m a Patty-Come-Lately to this forum but had to say how delighted I am that there are others who have experienced PattyLove! I am just re-reading them. Again. I used to borrow the entire set from the grandmother of a friend when I was maybe 10 or 11 (hated to give them back…) and have loved them for lo these many years (50!) I was just thinking that since I read and re-read them so many times, how much they influenced my outlook and personality. Didn’t even have a set of my own until I began collecting them from internet sources about 12-15 years ago. Thanks for letting me ramble and gush. I’ve never known others who even read them, let alone loved them as I do! I agree with Lyn: “O you glorious people!”


    • Welome! I love that even though these books are a hundred years old and have been out of print probably since the thirties, I can still count on recieving a comment from someone who loves them once every few months.


  27. I can read these on my phone! I’m so happy.

    Discovered the PF series by accident ages ago, with Patty’s Social Season. It was in a junk and art supplies store run by a real character, and he would insult his customers in a friendly way… I really fell for the book, never found another ‘real’ copy, and to re-discover
    the series now is like getting a present every day.


    • Patty’s Social Season is one of my favorites! And I love how these books stick with people — there are so many stories here of this series sticking with people for a long time.


  28. Just wondering, but do you have any idea what these books are worth? My sister and I grew up having our mom read the series to us, but she’s missing #7- Patty’s Pleasure Trip. I’m going to try to find it in order to complete her series. All three of us have loved the series!


    • I don’t know what they’re worth, but when I was completing my set about five years ago, they weren’t hard to find and they weren’t all that expensive — especially if you’re just looking for a reading copy.


      • Thanks, Melody!


  29. I started reading the Patty Fairfield series a few weeks ago. I have most of them on my kindle but I am at the Patty’s Romance book anx now I can’t fi d it for my kindle. in fact I can’t find it on line at all. this is the book I have been waiting for for weeks. now that I am here I am dissapointed I can’t find it.


    • I’m…sorry to hear that? I don’t know what else to tell you. You might have to track down a hard copy.


  30. I am so thrilled to meet other Patty fans. I started reading the books (and the Marjorie books) as a young teen and have most of them. I have lately begun getting them for my kindle, too.


  31. My sister and I were just discussing our Patty love this past weekend. (She is 80 and I am 75!) Our copies were mostly our mother’s, and we read them to pieces. Several of them we never found, but my son found Patty’s Motor Car and Patty’s Butterfly Days a few years ago. What a treat to finally get to read them! My sister couldn’t wait to visit me!
    BTW, a propos of someone’s comment about adopted children not being able to inherit as heirs without being mentioned in their adoptive parents’ wills–it was true in many states until the 20th century. In fact, I believe at one p oint only Louisiana (its laws are based on French Civil Law rather than English Common Law) allowed adptees to inherit as “heirs” or “issue.” So Carolyn knew what she was talking about. Not surprising, she seemed very savvy to me from the books.
    So glad to have found you all!
    Martha


    • Thanks for dropping by — I always love hearing from fellow Patty fans.

      Also, that’s a really interesting note about adopted children, and yeah, Carolyn Wells was definitely super smart and aware of the relevant facts. And her mysteries often have young women left in uncomfortable positions, so it’s no surprise that she would have used this legal loophole as material.


  32. I have all but 4 of the Patty books. I read them as a child, and still enjoy them. I would like to find
    Summer Days,Suitors,Bride and Azalea. If anyone out
    there has these I would appreciate hearing from you.


  33. I don’t have any of the Patty books anymore, but I do have a complete set of the Marjorie books if anyone is interested!


  34. Oh, the joy of finding people who understand my love for Patty! I keep to complete sets: one to read, and one to sit pretty with dust jackets intact. Party Blossom is my favorite :) I use an ephemera comic Valentine by Carolyn Wells as my book marker for them. Found by accident, but love it.


  35. I have a complete set of the Patty Books that belonged to my Mom in the 1920′s. I would be interested in selling these only as a complete set.


    • How much would you be willing to sell them for?



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