The Outdoor Girls Series
by Laura Lee Hope

"Five girls have no business hiking alone through all sorts of country," said Clem.  "I don't like the idea at all."

"But you see," said Stella, as she passed the cake, "it isn't as though it were just any group of girls starting out on any sort of hike.  It's the Outdoor Girls, you know, and there's a difference."

"Oh, of course," said Hal, with elaborate scorn.  "It's a protection, I suppose, a sort of invisible armor.  You should carry a banner with you.  'We are the Outdoor Girls of Deepdale.  Harm us at your peril.' "

"Might be a good idea, at that," chuckled Irene.  "They say advertizing always pays."

                                                                          —pages 34-35, The Outdoor Girls on a Hike

The Outdoor Girls series is a product of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and was published from 1913 to 1933 by Grosset and Dunlap in hardcover with dust jacket.  Four titles were later reprinted by Whitman with new dust jacket art.

Volumes 1 through 6 were written by Howard Garis, and volumes 7 through 23 were written by Elizabeth M. Duffield Ward.  Walter S. Rogers drew many of the duotone dust jackets and all of the color dust jackets for volumes 1 through 21.  Norman Braley illustrated volumes 22 and 23.

The series focuses on the various activities of a group of girls who form a Camping and Tramping Club.  As a result of the girls' outdoor activities they become known as the "Outdoor Girls" in their city of Deepdale.  Deepdale is described as a city of 15,000 residents and is located on the Argono River in the state of New York.

Titles in the Outdoor Girls Series:

  1. The Outdoor Girls of Deepdale, 1913
  2. The Outdoor Girls at Rainbow Lake, 1913
  3. The Outdoor Girls in a Motor Car, 1913
  4. The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp, 1913
  5. The Outdoor Girls in Florida, 1913
  6. The Outdoor Girls at Ocean View, 1915
  7. The Outdoor Girls at Pine Island, 1916
  8. The Outdoor Girls in Army Service, 1918
  9. The Outdoor Girls at the Hostess House, 1919
10. The Outdoor Girls at Bluff Point, 1920
11. The Outdoor Girls at Wild Rose Lodge, 1921
12. The Outdoor Girls in the Saddle, 1922
13. The Outdoor Girls Around the Campfire, 1923
14. The Outdoor Girls on Cape Cod, 1924
15. The Outdoor Girls at Foaming Falls, 1925
16. The Outdoor Girls Along the Coast, 1926
17. The Outdoor Girls at Spring Hill Farm, 1927
18. The Outdoor Girls at New Moon Ranch, 1928
19. The Outdoor Girls on a Hike, 1929
20. The Outdoor Girls on a Canoe Trip, 1930
21. The Outdoor Girls at Cedar Ridge, 1931
22. The Outdoor Girls in the Air, 1932
23. The Outdoor Girls in Desert Valley, 1933

Brief Series Synopsis

The Characters

Dust Jacket Gallery

Summaries of #1-8

Summaries of #9-16

Summaries of #17-23

Brief Series Synopsis

Volumes 1-7:  Four girls, Betty Nelson, Mollie Billette, Grace Ford, and Amy Stonington form a Camping and Tramping Club in their city of Deepdale.  The four girls quickly become known as the "Outdoor Girls" due to their many outdoor activities.  It is during these books that Amy learns that her name is Blackford instead of Stonington and is reunited with her long-lost brother.  Additionally, Betty is plagued by the unwanted affection of Percy Falconer, a dandy who speaks with a fake British accent.

The girls are joined in many of their activities by four boys:  Allen Washburn, Frank Haley, Roy Anderson, and Will Ford, Grace's brother.  Allen Washburn is an ardent admirer of Betty, and Will Ford is quite taken with Amy.  Grace is quite jealous that her brother Will is so fond of Amy.

Volumes 8-11:  The boys join the military to fight in the World War and are gone for two years.  During this time, the girls run a Hostess House and do other work to support the war effort.  The girls also check the lists of the missing and wounded, praying that they will not recognize any of the names.

Volumes 12-16:  The girls resume their carefree adventures.  The boys also take part when they can, and some of the relationships reach higher levels.  Betty and Allen marry followed soon by Amy and Will.  Stella Sibley and Irene Moore become Outdoor Girls to fill the void left by the departures of Betty and Amy.  Next, Grace and Frank marry.

Volumes 17-18:  Mollie is the subject of much speculation as both Roy Anderson and Clem Field continue to court her.  Carolyn Cooper and identical twins, Meg and Lota Bronson, become Outdoor Girls.  Mollie Billette finally decides that Roy is the one and marries him at the end of volume 18.

Volumes 19-23:   Stella Sibley is the leader of the Outdoor Girls now that all four original Outdoor Girls are married.  Betty now has a daughter who is her namesake.  Stella, Irene, Carolyn, Meg, and Lota continue the adventures of the Outdoor Girls, and the original Outdoor Girls make frequent brief appearances.

The Characters

The age of the girls is rarely mentioned.  They all attend Deepdale High School in the first few books and then school is never mentioned again.  In volume 1, it is stated that Betty Nelson is about sixteen and that Mollie Billette is fifteen.  In volume 11, Betty is eighteen and Grace Ford is "almost the same age as Betty."  Mollie Billette and Amy Blackford are both seventeen in volume 11.

Betty Nelson

Betty Nelson, the daughter of a wealthy carpet manufacturer, is known as "The Little Captain" to all of her friends.  Betty is the leader of the group, and it is Betty's idea to form the Camping and Tramping Club.  Betty is the type of girl who always looks on the bright side of things and has the ability to make another person feel better even in the worst of situations.  Betty is courageous and always knows exactly what to do in any situation, no matter how serious.

Mollie Billette

Mollie Billette is fifteen years old and is the daughter of a wealthy widow.  Mollie is of French blood, and often Mollie's French ancestry is given as the reason for her unusually quick temper.  Mollie angers very easily at even minor teasing, but also gets over her anger very quickly.  Mollie's driving is as volatile as her temperament; she careens around curves and brakes only at the last possible moment.  Mollie's brother and sister are four year old twins, Paul and Dodo, and the twins are forever getting into trouble.  The twins act up on purpose and then agree to behave only if they are given candy.  The twins almost always succeed in their purpose.

Grace Ford

Grace Ford is described as a typical "Gibson Girl" in appearance.  Grace has blond hair and is tall and very thin, which is amazing since she is constantly eating chocolates.  Grace always brings a box of chocolates with her on all of the girls' adventures or fills her pockets up with chocolates.  It is quite often Grace's chocolates that Paul and Dodo covet.  Grace is very lazy, and the other girls find it difficult to get her out of bed in the morning.  Grace also tends to wear shoes that are inappropriate for hiking, and so often complains about her feet when the girls are walking or hiking.

Amy Blackford

Amy Stonington is the quietest and most thoughtful member of the group.  Early in the series, Amy is deeply troubled when she learns that Mr. and Mrs. Stonington are not really her parents.  Amy must endure the taunts of Alice Jallow, a jealous classmate at Deepdale High School, until she is finally reunited with her brother, and learns that her true name is Blackford.  Amy is considered timid and sweet by the other girls, and all of them like her a great deal.

Stella Sibley

Stella Sibley enters the series in volume 14 and becomes an Outdoor Girl.  Stella and her friend, Irene Moore, are described as considerably younger than the original Outdoor Girls, around thirteen years old or so.  Stella is an artist and plays the piano; later, Stella becomes the leader of the Outdoor Girls after all four original Outdoor Girls have married.  In volume 22, Stella successfully lands a plane with very little training after the pilot passes out, and the other girls bestow the title of "Captain" upon her since she has proved herself to be as resourceful as Betty Nelson.

Irene Moore

Irene Moore first appears in volume 14 and becomes an Outdoor Girl at the end of the book.  Irene is described as being around thirteen years old.  Irene is boisterous and has a talent for singing comedic songs.  Irene's dog, Hesper, causes endless problems on several of the girls' outings.

Carolyn Cooper

The Outdoor Girls rescue Carolyn Cooper from a difficult situation in volume 16, and in volume 18, Carolyn becomes an Outdoor Girl.  Carolyn Cooper is described as "blond and pretty and delightfully lazy."

Meg and Lota Bronson

Meg and Lota Bronson are identical twins and can only be told apart by a freckle that is on Lota's nose.  Meg and Lota become Outdoor Girls in volume 18.  The Bronson twins have an admirer, Dick Blossom, who cannot tell the two girls apart.  The girls love to harass Dick by always dressing identically and by impersonating each other.

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