Susan Coolidge is the pen name of Sarah Chaucey Woolsey (1835–1905). Beginning in 1872, Coolidge published a series of stories about the Carr family. The chief character in most of them is the oldest Carr sibling, Katy. The series comprises:

Most of the stories are set in Coolidge's birthplace of Ohio and the series was a huge success in America. But the books were popular in Victorian England as well. In The Victorians and their Reading (1935), Amy Cruse writes:

the gift from America was received by English children with exuberant gratitude. ... [T]he girls of England loved them; and they introduced into this country a class of schoolgirl heroine whose popularity has never waned.     (pp. 256–257)

I would like to know more about this "exuberant gratitude" with which the Katy series was received in Britain. For example:

  • What did contemporary reviewers or readers in Britain have to say about the books?
  • How did sales figures in Britain for the Katy books compare to those for similarly-targeted books by British authors?
  • Were the books considered valuable windows into the differences between American and British ways of life?
  • Finally, part of What Katy Did Next is about Katy's visit to England. What was the reaction to the portrayal of England in that novel?

Answers need not comprehensively cover all the books in the series or all the above questions. I'm looking just for a general overview of how the Katy books were received and read in Britain, backed by evidence from contemporary sources.


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