The Betty Gordon Series
by Alice B. Emerson



The Betty Gordon series is a Stratemeyer Syndicate series that was published by Cupples and Leon from 1920 through 1932.  The Betty Gordon and Ruth Fielding books were heavily cross-promoted.  All of the books in both series are listed on the copyright pages of each book in each series.  The Betty Gordon series was written by four different ghostwriters under the pseudonym of Alice B. Emerson:

              #1-4, 7, and 9 by Josephine Lawrence
              #5 and 6 by W. Bert Foster
              #8 by Elizabeth M. Duffield Ward
              #10-15 by Eunice W. Creager


Titles in the Betty Gordon Series:

  1. Betty Gordon at Bramble Farm, 1920
  2. Betty Gordon in Washington, 1920
  3. Betty Gordon in the Land of Oil, 1920
  4. Betty Gordon at Boarding School, 1921
  5. Betty Gordon at Mountain Camp, 1922
  6. Betty Gordon at Ocean Park, 1923
  7. Betty Gordon and Her School Chums, 1924
  8. Betty Gordon at Rainbow Ranch, 1925
  9. Betty Gordon in Mexican Wilds, 1926
10. Betty Gordon and the Lost Pearls, 1927
11. Betty Gordon on the Campus, 1928
12. Betty Gordon and the Hale Twins, 1929
13. Betty Gordon at Mystery Farm, 1930
14. Betty Gordon on No-Trail Island, 1931
15. Betty Gordon and the Mystery Girl, 1932

Formats and Illustrations

The Betty Gordon books went through two formats during the run of the series.  The first format books, seen at the left, show a large image of Betty in red on the front cover.  The second format books, seen at the right, show a smaller image of Betty within a circle on the front cover.  The first format books have heavier boards and are sturdier than the second format books.

While building a set of the Betty Gordon books, I did not attempt to obtain examples in both formats, so I cannot comment as to which books were printed in both formats.  I do know that the earlier titles were printed in both formats while the later titles were only printed in the second format.

There are two styles of dust jackets for the Betty Gordon books.  The earlier style of jacket is pictured at the left and mimics the cover of the first format books.  The art is signed H. L. Hastings.  At least the first nine books were printed with this style of dust jacket.  These dust jackets are very scarce.

The second style of dust jacket is shown at the right.  All fifteen books were printed with the second style of dust jacket.  The art is not signed, so the artist is unknown.

Most of the glossy frontispiece illustrations are signed, so these frontispiece artists are known:

               #1-6  Thelma Gooch
               #7  Walter S. Rogers
               #8 and 11  Ernest Townsend
               #10  Bess Goe Willis
               #12, 13, and 15  Russell H. Tandy

Overview

Betty Gordon is an orphan who becomes the ward of Richard Gordon, her uncle.  Since Uncle Dick has to travel on business, he sends Betty to Bramble Farm to stay with an old friend, who, unknown to Uncle Dick, is married to a mean old miser.  During Betty's unpleasant stay at Bramble Farm, she becomes friends with Bob Henderson.  After the two young people leave Bramble Farm, Bob acquires his rightful inheritance and also becomes the ward of Richard Gordon.

Betty attends Shadyside School with her friends, Bobby and Libbie Littell.  Bobby and Libbie's personalities are similar to that of Nancy Drew's friends, George and Bess.  Bob attends Salsette Military Academy which is conveniently located across the lake from Shadyside School.  Bob and his friends often serve as escorts for Betty and her friends.

While Bob Henderson is referred to as a brother to Betty in one of the earlier volumes, it is apparent that he and Betty are destined to be more than friends at some point in the future.  Bob is always Betty's escort and regularly compliments Betty on her appearance.

Betty Gordon is a very outspoken girl who angers very easily.  Betty's personality is very similar to that of Trixie Belden, and the early volumes in particular are much like the Trixie Belden books.  There is great camaraderie between Betty and her friends which is very reminiscent of the Bob-Whites.

Summaries

My Betty Gordon Blog Posts

Building a Set

All of the volumes are somewhat scarce, but the low demand makes it not too difficult to acquire most of the books.  Volumes 1 through 9 are the easiest books to find. Volumes 10, 11, and 12 are more scarce than the first 9 volumes, while volumes 13, 14, and 15 are the hardest to find volumes.  As with other series that ended during the early 1930s, such as the Blythe Girls and Ruth Fielding series, I have found that the final volume, Betty Gordon and the Mystery Girl, is slightly easier to find than the preceding two volumes.

The low demand for this series keeps the prices affordable for even the final volumes in the series.  It is not unusual for the last few volumes to sell for $25.00 to $50.00 with intact dust jackets.  The prices for the earlier volumes with intact dust jackets will range from $5.00 to $25.00 on average.  The prices are considerably less for bare books that are missing the dust jackets. 

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