Monday, March 26, 2018

Dana Girls Series - Titles and Collecting Information

This is the text of an eBay guide that I created in 2006.  The guides are now orphaned pages that can only be found through an Internet search.  eBay plans to delete the guides in April 2018.
This eBay guide was viewed approximately 14,000 times.


The Dana Girls Mystery Stories series is a series of books published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1934 through 1979.  The series consists of 34 titles that were written under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene.  This series is popular with collectors of Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, and other similar series.

The series was always advertised as "by the author of Nancy Drew books," and this message appears prominently on the cover of each Dana Girls book.  As a result, people who do not look carefully at everything written on the cover of a Dana Girls book may actually mistake it for a Nancy Drew book.   

The first 30 titles were published from 1932 through 1968.  The series went out of print briefly from 1969 to 1971.  In 1972, the series was reissued with new cover art.  The first 16 titles, as well as volume 18, stayed out of print permanently, and volumes 17 and 19 through 30 were reprinted with different volume numbers.  Four new titles were added to the series from 1976 to 1979.  The second run of the series ended in 1979, and the Dana Girls series is still out of print in the present day.

First Set (1934-1968):

  1. By the Light of the Study Lamp, 1934
  2. The Secret at Lone Tree Cottage, 1934
  3. In the Shadow of the Tower, 1934
  4. A Three-Cornered Mystery, 1935
  5. The Secret at the Hermitage, 1936
  6. The Circle of Footprints, 1937
  7. The Mystery of the Locked Room, 1938
  8. The Clue in the Cobweb, 1939
  9. The Secret at the Gatehouse, 1940
10. The Mysterious Fireplace, 1941
11. The Clue of the Rusty Key, 1942
12. The Portrait in the Sand, 1943
13. The Secret in the Old Well, 1944
14. The Clue in the Ivy, 1952
15. The Secret of the Jade Ring, 1953
16. Mystery at the Crossroads, 1954
17. The Ghost in the Gallery, 1955
18. The Clue of the Black Flower, 1956
19. The Winking Ruby Mystery, 1957
20. The Secret of the Swiss Chalet, 1958
21. The Haunted Lagoon, 1959
22. The Mystery of the Bamboo Bird, 1960
23. The Sierra Gold Mystery, 1961
24. The Secret of Lost Lake, 1962
25. The Mystery of the Stone Tiger, 1963
26. The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain, 1964
27. The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, 1965
28. Mystery of the Wax Queen, 1966
29. The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, 1967
30. The Phantom Surfer, 1968

Second Set (1972-1979):

  1. The Mystery of the Stone Tiger, 1972
  2. The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain, 1972
  3. The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, 1972
  4. Mystery of the Wax Queen, 1972
  5. The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, 1972
  6. The Phantom Surfer, 1972
  7. The Secret of the Swiss Chalet, 1973
  8. The Haunted Lagoon, 1973
  9. Mystery of the Bamboo Bird, 1973
10. The Sierra Gold Mystery, 1973
11. The Secret of Lost Lake, 1974
12. The Winking Ruby Mystery, 1974
13. The Ghost in the Gallery, 1975
14. The Curious Coronation, 1976
15. The Hundred-Year Mystery, 1977
16. Mountain-Peak Mystery, 1978
17. The Witch's Omen, 1979

The illustrations:

Only volumes 1 through 6 were printed with the four glossy illustrations during the 1930s.  Volumes 7 through 9 were printed with one glossy illustration during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and during the same time period, volumes 1 through 6 were reprinted with only one glossy illustration.  Volumes 10 and up never had glossy illustrations; these volumes had the plain paper frontispiece illustration.

First printings:

The copyright page is the last place to look when you are trying to discover the age of a Dana Girls book.  Grosset and Dunlap very rarely made changes to the copyright page. Even when a list of titles does appear on the copyright page, the list will almost always not be accurate.

The two easiest places to look in order to determine the age of a Dana Girls book are on the dust jacket’s front flap, if present, and on an interior list of titles.  The last title present in the list of Dana Girls titles will tell you what the age of the book is.  For instance, if the dust jacket's front flap lists to The Clue in the Ivy, then the book was printed in 1952, which is the year of publication for The Clue in the Ivy.  Or, if the dust jacket's front flap lists to The Haunted Lagoon, then the book was printed in 1959, which is the year of publication for The Haunted Lagoon.

When the book is missing its dust jacket, refer to the interior list of titles, if present.  The earlier books from the 1930s and early 1940s have post-text ad pages with lists of titles.  The later Dana Girls books will usually have a pre-text list of titles which will give you the same information.

Important:  When I refer to a pre-text list of titles, I do not mean a list that may appear on the copyright page.  Since Grosset and Dunlap rarely updated the copyright page, any list of titles that appears on the copyright page will almost always not be accurate.  If there is a pre-text list of titles that can be used to date a book, it will appear on a separate page from the copyright and title page, usually right after the endpapers.

Identifying the age of a book:

It helps greatly to learn what the outside of a Dana Girls book looks like for the different formats so that you can easily see by a seller’s picture how old the book likely is.  I have chosen not to add detailed pictures to this page since I already have a detailed formats page on my own website.  My formats page has pictures of all of the different types of Dana Girls books.  

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