Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Nancy Pembroke Series

The Nancy Pembroke series consists of seven books published by A. L. Burt under the pseudonym of Margaret T. Van Epps.  According to James Keeline, the books were written by Helen M. Persons.

1. Nancy Pembroke, College Maid, 1930
2. Nancy Pembroke's Vacation in Canada, 1930
3. Nancy Pembroke, Sophomore at Roxford, 1930
4. Nancy Pembroke in New Orleans, 1930
5. Nancy Pembroke, Junior, 1930
6. Nancy Pembroke in Nova Scotia, 1931
7. Nancy Pembroke, Senior, 1931

Some online sources indicate uncertainty about the correct order of the books in the series.  The books are listed in one order on each copyright page and in a different order on the back panel of each dust jacket.  Copyright registration records do not help, since five of the books were registered on the same date in yet another order.  I can confirm that the list seen above shows the correct order for the set.

I have always been interested in the Nancy Pembroke series but not to the point of trying to find the books.  Many years ago, I heard about the hazing that occurs in the books and how it is a bit outrageous.  I have also heard that the series is considered to be odd.  This made me curious.  Probably once every few years, I thought about the series and briefly considered trying to acquire them.  I never followed through.

The books are quite hard to find in the original A. L. Burt editions, which have good quality paper.  The books are readily available in the World Publishing Company edition, but those books have poor quality paper that has turned brown.  I dislike purchasing books with pulp paper and avoid them whenever possible.  My interest in acquiring the Nancy Pembroke books has never been strong enough for me to want to purchase the books with pulp paper.

The series is in the public domain.  Five of the seven books are on Google Books, but I will never read them.  I do fine with reading modern young adult books through the Kindle app on my iPad, but that is a completely different situation.  I find that with old books, I will never get around to reading any of them in a digital format.  I know that they are available and waiting, but there are thousands of digital books out there.  Those books aren't going away, and I feel no urgency in getting around to any of them.  On the other hand, when I actually see the old books in a bookcase near me taking up shelf space, I am motivated to try them.  I must get around to reading them so that I can decide whether to keep them.

For those reasons, I never did get around to acquiring or trying the Nancy Pembroke series.  Recently, I was checking eBay, which I do far more often than I will admit.  I saw a set of six Nancy Pembroke A. L. Burt books with dust jackets that had just been listed.  The lot had a Buy It Now of $49.95 with free shipping.  I couldn't go wrong at that price, even if I ended up not liking the books.  A. L. Burt series books with dust jackets are typically very hard to find.  I purchased the lot, which ended up costing $54.50 with the added sales tax.

I then looked around for the seventh book in an A. L. Burt edition and found exactly one copy available.  Score!  In just a few minutes, I had secured the entire set of Nancy Pembroke books in the A. L. Burt edition with good quality paper.  I was finally going to be able to read the set!

Reviews will follow.


Lauren said...

Sounds like an interesting series! I look forward to hearing your review of it.

mousecliffe said...

I have never heard of this series. I am eager to hear what you think of them.