The Glad Books, Part 2

June 6, 2007

Pollyanna’s Jewels, by Harriet Lummis Smith, is the fourth Glad Book. It follows Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms, which is also by Smith. Either book three covers at least five years, which I kind of doubt, or Pollyanna’s Jewels skips ahead a few years. It starts with Pollyanna and Jimmy moving to a suburb of Boston with their three kids: Jimmy Junior, who is five or six, Judy, who is probably three, and the baby, who is only ever referred to as “Baby”.

This book reminds me a lot of one of the later Anne of Green Gables books — Anne of Ingleside, I think. Like Anne, Pollyanna stays home and keeps house, takes care of her children, has friends in the neighborhood, and endures pet troubles and visits from irritating relatives. It’s sort of dark in bits, too.

One of the storylines involves a little boy named Philip who is shunned by the entire neighborhood because his parents ran away from their respective families to be together, the mother leaving behind several children from her first marriage. The women in the neighborhood are horribly cruel about it and Pollyanna feels really bad. She tries to be nice to Philip, but she can’t let her kids play with him because if they did, they would be shunned too.

Toward the end of the book, Philip’s parents die in an influenza epidemic, first the father and then the mother. After the father dies, they discover that a) Philip’s parents were never actually married, and b) that Philip’s father never made a will, so all his money goes back to his real wife. Pollyanna’s friend and neighbor Mrs, McGill, a lonely widow, ends up adopting Philip, but she still has a hard time getting the rest of the neighborhood to acknowledge him.

Aside from another plotline involving a neighbor who doesn’t take care of her kid, the rest is housekeeping troubles, children being amusing, and the like. But it’s not too perfect or over the top. Also, they end up having to tell Jamie that Jimmy is Ruth’s real nephew, and he basically has a tantrum, but Pollyanna yells at him until he stops being stupid.

I don’t know how long they end up living outside of Boston, but it seems that they travel around quite a bit later on. The sixth book is called Pollyanna’s Western Adventure, and the seventh is Pollyanna in Hollywood, which sounds really incongruous, I think. The comes Pollyanna’s Mexican Castle, or something like that, and then book nine, Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness, which is the other one I have. According to that one, they’ve just spent a year in Mexico, and ten year-old Judy didn’t want to leave.  If anyone can fill in any gaps in the story, let me know!

The family arrives in New York City, where Jimmy knows a guy who might be able to give him a job. Jimmy’s an engineer, and he must be a good one because he immediately gets asked to replace someone on something called the Swan Expedition, which is leaving the next day, or maybe the day after.

Meanwhile, Pollyanna has taken the kids shopping and discovers that their bank failed a couple of months previously. I think this book takes place in the early to mid-thirties, based on the ages of the characters and the publication dates of the earlier books. Also, people occasionally mention the hard times. Anyway, Jimmy is overjoyed by his job offer, and although he’ll be away for a year and his family will only receive $50 a month from the expedition, he knows they’ve got plenty of savings. Pollyanna feels terrible, and hides the failure of their bank from him until he leaves.

Then she and the children go to Boston because she’s lived there before. She finds them a couple of rooms in a boarding house, puts the kids in school, and starts looking for a job. She hasn’t got any work experience or qualifications, so she finds it difficult. Also, a lot of places tell her that they had to lay off a lot of longtime employees because of the hard times, and if they have any openings, they’re going to hire the old people back before looking for new ones. I really am impressed by this book. It’s a very different kind of book from Pollyanna, but in a good way. In fact, I’m looking at my old books arranged neatly on my new shelves, and I don’t see a single one that Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness compares badly with.

A couple of weeks into the job search, Pollyanna is invited to a dinner party given by her landlady. There she meets Rada Masters, a beautiful novelist who knows Jamie Carew, and Dr. Bennett, a well-known psychologist. Rada goes around the table asking everyone about their favorite games from childhood, so Pollyanna explains the Glad Game, which she sort of still plays sometimes. Also, she realizes that Miss Masters is in love with the doctor.

Miss Masters invites her over for tea the next day, and Dr. Bennett asks if he can join them. Afterwards, Dr. Bennett has a long talk with Pollyanna and offers her a job: he has some patients with very serious mental illnesses, but he also has a lot of patients who have smaller mental issues, or are just unhappy. He wants Pollyanna to see these people as a sort of cross between a friend and a therapist. She takes the job and moves into an apartment in Rada’s building so that she can receive the doctor’s patients there.

Rada is sort of one of Dr. Bennett’s patients — she grew up somewhere in the Middle East, and people stole stuff from her all the time, so the favorite childhood game that she told the dinner party about just revolved around hiding things. She’s got some serious trust issues, and Dr. Bennett’s advice to her is to make three close friends. Pollyanna is the first.

Then there’s Deborah Dangerfield, a teenager who is kind of paranoid — she thinks her parents don’t love her and don’t want her to do anything she enjoys. Pollyanna notices her resemblance to a famous dancer and gets her interested in ballet. Deborah ends up going to the same ballet school as Judy, and while Judy is really serious and has the potential to become a famous ballet dancer, Deborah falls in love with a Russian guy from a famous ballet company.

There’s also Mrs. Garden, who is convinced that she hates babies, but keeps unconsciously stealing baby clothes from department stores, and Mr. Bagley, who after his wife and son are killed in accidents in the same week, is terrified of any kind of transportation. The reasoning behind their problems is all sort of vaguely and sanitized-ly Freudian, but it’s also sensible, and Pollyanna has some pretty sharp things to say about people’s general attitudes towards mental illness.

Everything ends happily of course — Rada and the doctor get married, Pollyanna returns the baby that Mrs. Garden kidnapped, they finally get a message from Jimmy at the South Pole — but the important thing is that nobody shies away from admitting that people have problems. And unlike in the earlier books, they’re not all just bedridden invalids. Pollyanna’s Jewels was fun, but I’m already looking forward to rereading Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness sometime.

Oh, and it turned out that the third kid’s name was Ruth.



  1. Pollyanna is my life story, I think. Only today I finished reading Pollyanna Grows Up. The part about imaginination hit home the most to me. If you can imagine the worst that could happen, then surely you could imagine the best that could happen as well! Thank you for the synopses of the later books in the series. Since I was myself a professional therapist, I am most glad about Pollyanna´s Door to Happiness.

  2. I read your post and i must say that I love Pollyanna too! I’ve been trying to collect them but it’s kind of impossible, and it’s hard to believe that a few decades ago they were so popular and now I can’t find any except the first 2!
    I’ve only read the first 3 so your synopsis was very welcome. I really adored Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms. She and Jimmy are so funny, and Pollyanna is a total darling. I actually think Harriet Lummis Smith is a better writer than Eleanor Porter. Pollyanna was simple, but Pollyanna Grows Up was disjointed, I felt. But Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms was a dream! It just fit together so well and it was so amusing.
    The different authors of Pollyanna really remind me of another series, completely different, called Trixie Belden which I really love. She’s a young detective, in her teens and a tomboy with a great bunch of friends and the nicest family and place to live. They have a club called the Bob Whites of Glen, who solve mysteries. The first six books were written by Julie Campbell but then she signed the rights to the story over, and the rest of the sotries (there are 39 in total) are under the pseudynom of Kathryn Kenny by all these different people. They do a lot of traveling because the authors are basically people all over the world.

    • Hmmm. I don’t know if I agree that Harriet Lummis Smith was a better writer than Eleanor Porter, but porter was definitely overly dependent on the same couple of plots. All her books are kind of the same; Pollyanna is just the one that works best somehow. I’ll have to see if I can track down Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms.

      I’ve heard of the Trixie Belden books, and I’d like to read them, but they’re still under copyright, so I’ll have to wait and see if I stumble upon any of them.

  3. There are actually many more Pollyanna books
    10 Pollyanna’s Golden Horseshoe by Elizabeth Borton
    11 Pollyanna’s Protégé by Margaret Piper Chalmers
    12 Pollyanna at Six Star Ranch by Virginia May Moffitt
    13 Pollyanna of Magic Valley by Virginia May Moffitt
    14 Pollyanna and the Secret Mission by Elizabeth Borton
    15 Pollyanna Comes Home by Colleen Reece
    16 Pollyanna Plays the Game by Colleen Reece
    I wish I could read them all but can’t even get the 3rd one from any local libraries and can’t afford to buy the series.

    • Yeah, I know there are lots. These are just the ones I found in my grandparents’ apartment.

    • I work in a library in York County Virginia. Check with your local library to see if they can order the books you would like to read through Interlibrary Loan. This is where your library borrows the book from another library.

  4. I’ve read alot of Pollyanna sequels plus of course the first two by E H Porter. Of the sequels, I’ve read Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms, Pollyanna’s Jewels, Pollyanna’s Debt of Honour, Pollyanna’s Western Adventure, Pollyanna’s Castle in Mexico, Pollyanna in Hollywood, Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness, Pollyanna’s Protege, Pollyanna at Six Star Ranch and Pollyanna of Magic Valley. Out of them all I like Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness probably the best but as a child I loved Polllyanna’s Castle in Mexico and Pollyanna at Six Star Ranch. I prefered Elizabeth Bortons sequels to Harriet Lumis Smith’s also, btw.
    To give a fill in to the Pollyanna stories if people haven’t read the sequels P of the Orange Blossoms is about Jimmy and Pollyanna’s early married life concluding with WWI and the birth of Junior. P Jewels covered above.P’s Debt of Honour: the new neighbour across the road is a beautiful young woman, who hides away from society because of the disfiguring scar on her cheek from a car accident, which caused her to break up with her fiancee, who also happens to be a colleague of Jimmy’s, so P has her matchmaking work cut out there. Also, I think Jamie writes a scandalous book and Pollyanna has to straighten out someone else’s life as well. I can’t remember completely; it’s been a while since I read these! P’s Western Adventure, where Jimmy’s engineering takes them west and the children need a governess, which so happens to be a pretty, young woman who enjoys flirting, and so there’s problems there when she gets involved with the confirmed flirt of the western town, a dashing cowboy. Plus there’s a young man who can’t walk etc glad game comes in.
    Then Elizabeth Borton takes over the sequel writing with P in Hollywood, where the family moves to the Hollywood area. There they meet a comedy actor, who sounds suspiciously similar to Charlie Chaplin (but is not, he has a different name), there’s a stunt man that gets injured…I really can’t remember much here. Then P’s Castle in Mexico, where Jimmy’s work takes them to Mexico. Judy has a crush on a Spanish boy there, who has musical talent on the church bells and I think Jimmy and Junior discover buried treasure or something. Anyway they’re rich, which leads on to P’s Door to Happiness, where the bank fails and Pollyanna has to find work. Anyway, that’s a good book and I really enjoyed it.
    Then Pollyanna’s Protege by yet another author commences in the middle of WWII, where Jimmy and Junior are away with the forces or something, Judy is using her dancing talents to entertain the troops, which leaves just Pollyanna and Ruth at home. They meet and take in a beautiful young homeless girl, called Rosemary, whose father was a famous artist I think, move to a country village to help with war work, become involved with other young people there, including the fiery striking rich girl there, who is engaged to a tall, cold, blond man the “Prussian type”, even though she loves another. So there’s spies and stuff and Junior comes home and falls in love with Rosemary.
    Then Pollyanna of Magic Valley comes next, by another author, where after the war, the family incl Rosemary go to Texas to find a home. This story was a bit boring. Pollyanna of Six Star Ranch by the same author, is retrospective. Pollyanna, 16 years, spends a summer with Genevieve of Six Star Ranch, who comes from the E H Porter book “The Sunbridge Girls at Six Star Ranch”.
    Sorry this is sooo long but as I always want to know what happens in sequels I don’t have, I thought everyone else might like to know!

    • Thanks for your comment! I’ve been curious about what happens in all of these books, and I appreciate you sharing your expertise. Also I think I want to read the one where Jamie writes something scandalous.

      • Well, actually, I went back and re-read some of these, esp P’s Debt of Honour, and it’s not quite actually scandalous. The book Jamie writes certainly breaks the bounds of society then and even though Pollyanna doesn’t like it, the critical reivews were apparently very positive: “Most mature and thoughtful work”, for example. Basically, the book, called “Growing Pains” is about a married woman who feels she is trapped in a boring marriage, falls into the company of another married man and they leave their marriages and go to Europe. The woman dies in the last chapter, in an attempt by Jamie to moralize but essentially, from what I gather that Pollyanna says, breaking out of society’s conformations, leaving marriages, discarding chastity etc was praised through the storyline of “Growing Pains”. When Pollyanna confronted Jamie about it, the response was, that one had to give the public what it wants and that the book was getting wonderful reviews, such as “most mature and thoughtful book” and that one had to keep abreast with the times. Well, Pollyanna later proved her point when Jamies’s beautiful young secretary took the book, “Growing Pains” as gospel truth planned to run away, without marrying, this suave villain. Of course, Pollyanna stepped in and saved the day, rescued the young girl’s purity and proved her point to Jamie about his book. I believe he was writing a different kind of book from then on. But that was just one of the story lines in P’s Debt of Honour. Also, about Jamie’s writing, in P in Hollywood, Jamie wrote a script for a movie that became a hit; basically it was the Story of Jesus. That’s all I can think of about Jamie’s writing. And if anyone really wants to know in more detail the plots for the Pollyanna sequels, I can give much more info than the brief summaries above. I’d have to re-read some, but that should be fun!

        • Oh, I want to read P of the orange blossoms!!!!… since I don’t live in an english speaker country, it’s a little difficult to buy… could you give me more details about this one?

          • Ok, so it’s been awhile since I’ve read P of the Orange Blossoms but essentially it’s about the early married lives of Jimmy & Pollyanna. They cheerfully marry on a rainy day and spend their honeymoon at a seaside resort, where they meet four children; a girl and three younger boys. The girl, called Gladys, is quite a character and the one who Pollyanna befriends because their mother is so often away on social activities. After their honeymoon, they settle down into their flat. There Pollyanna quickly makes friends with her neighbours, chiefly Judith, another young housewife, also recently married and isn’t finding it as easy as Pollyanna. There are various bits of situations that arise as they get along in married life but I can’t remember them all. She teaches Judith the glad game, meets up with Gladys again, and then very sadly [SPOILER] Gladys dies after an car accident where she was in a car with her mother (who’s face was damaged) and her mother’s friends, who had all been drinking. [END SPOILER]. Then WWI is declared and Jimmy joins up. Pollyanna moves out of the flat back with Aunt Polly and gives birth a nine pound boy, baby James. Then Jimmy returns from the war and they all live happily ever after.
            Well, that’s the best I can do. Hope it gives you a good idea of what happens!

  5. You can buy most of the books here:

  6. The Pollyanna books are the following in chronological order according Pollyanna’s lifetime.
    Pollyanna, the first Glad Book, by Eleanor Hodgman Porter, published in 1913.
    Pollyanna Grows Up, the second Glad Book, by Eleanor Hodgman Porter, published in 1915.
    Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms, the third Glad Book, by Harriet Lummis Smith, published in 1924.
    Pollyanna’s Jewels, the fourth Glad Book, by Harriet Lummis Smith, published in 1925.
    Pollyanna’s Debt of Honor, the fifth Glad Book, by Harriet Lummis Smith, published in 1927.
    Pollyanna’s Western Adventure, the sixth Glad Book, by Harriet Lummis Smith, published in 1929.
    Pollyanna in Hollywood, the seventh Glad Book, by Elizabeth Borton, published in 1931.
    Pollyanna’s Castle in Mexico, the eighth Glad Book, by Elizabeth Borton, published in 1934.
    Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness, the ninth Glad Book, by Elizabeth Borton, published in 1936.
    Pollyanna’s Golden Horseshoe, the tenth Glad Book, by Elizabeth Borton, published in 1939.
    Pollyanna’s Protegee, the eleventh Glad Book, by Margaret Piper Chalmers, published in 1944.

    Pollyanna at Six Star Ranch by Virginia May Moffitt was published in 1947 but it doesn’t belong to the original series because in this book Pollyanna is again sixteen years old and living with her aunt and Dr. Chilton. She visits to a Texas ranch called Six Star and meets a young girl, Genevieve Hartley, who is the heroine of another book by Eleanor Porter, Six Star Ranch. This book has nothing to do with Pollyanna’s original story as we have already seen her married and her children all grown up. In fact in the previous book, Pollyanna’s Protegee, her children Jim and Judy marry. Consequently Pollyanna at Six Star Ranch is useless and inconsistent and wrongly called the twelfth Glad Book. It is only a ridiculous twist of the story. So please ignore it if you don’t want to be confused.

    The actual twelfth Glad Book is Pollyanna of Magic Valley, also by Virginia May Moffitt, who after that misplaced and non-original book about Pollyanna she decided to continue the original story and wrote this one. It was published in 1949.
    Pollyanna and the Secret Mission is the thirteenth and final Glad Book written by Elizabeth Borton and published in 1951.
    These are the original Pollyanna books, also called Glad Books. As for the two books written by Colleen Reece, Pollyanna Comes Home and Pollyanna Plays the Game, are not sequels to the original storyline. I think they refer to a supposed different plot from the first book and so they are not original. Pollyanna’s story was concluded by Elizabeth Borton in 1951.
    All the Pollyanna books can be found in http://www.abebooks.com in used condition, most of them published from Grosset and Dunlap, and some from the original publisher, L. C. Page and Company. You can also find many titles in e-bay. Some are rare and rather hard to find but every book is available if you search for it. I have all the original Pollyanna books in my collection from the original publisher for a long time now.
    I hope I have helped those who are interested.

  7. Wow… I am so glad to find this post. Thank you all for sharing the plot summaries of the Glad books! I just finished reading the first 2 books by Eleanor Porter and desperately wanted to read the rest of the series, but it is so hard to find them nowadays. I am particularly interested in Pollyanna’s Door to Happiness. Would anyone be kind enough to share some memorable quotes or excerpts of the book with us?

    Many thanks, Cherry

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