The Tune is in the Tree


Cover of the 2019 reprint edition

Those who have read and loved Mrs. Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy stories will also love this one, for it is, as Mrs. Lovelace says, “just the sort of a story Betsy used to tell Tacy”. (quote from 1950 dust jacket of The Tune is in the Tree)

The Tune is in the Tree by Maud Hart Lovelace was published March 25, 1950 by Thomas Y. Crowell Company, NY and has been out of print for many years. I’m excited to share the news that Minnesota Heritage Publishing will release a limited edition (softcover) reprint of this charming story!

Two of Maud’s books were published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company in 1950, the other was Emily of Deep Valley. Five years later she would refer to The Tune is in the Tree in Betsy’s Wedding.

Running her carpet sweeper blithely up and down, Betsy watched s robin’s nest, the eggs, the fledglings. “I think I’ll write a story about a little girl going to live with the birds!”   (from Betsy’s Wedding)

As with all her books, Maud did extensive research. She incorporated 23 species of birds into this entertaining and imaginative story about a little girl named Annie Jo and her adventure living with the birds.

In a March 27, 1950 review of The Tune is in the Tree, Thomas Edwards (aka Willie Putt) wrote in the Mankato Free Press: It is the most imaginative fiction one can expect to encounter. We who have followed Maud for a long entertaining period, and have received the colorful description of places and people, will meet a very new type of reading in “The Tune is in the Tree.

Over the years Maud and Mr. Edwards became close friends and corresponded regularly. In a letter dated April 12, 1950, Maud wrote: I’m so glad to get the two nice letters, the fine review of “The Tune” and the clipping from Mr. Russell’s column. How good you are to me! The Tune was written for Merian many years ago when she was a very little girl. I got it out and prepared it for publication last winter because there is such a demand for more stories for younger children…Betsy, Tacy and their friends having gone to college. The Marguerite Marsh story was finished in March, six weeks late, after a terrific siege of work. Now Miss Neville is working on the pictures. 

TT 6

“The Tune is in the Tree” Illustration by Eloise Wilkin

Eloise Wilkin, award-winning American illustrator, best known as an illustrator of the Little Golden Books, is the illustrator of The Tune is in the Tree. Many of the picture books she illustrated have become classics of American children’s literature.

The reprint edition is in production and will be available in early July. Books can be ordered now and will be shipped as soon as received from the printer. Order online now.


A Year with Betsy-Tacy

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a new project that I’m excited to share. It’s a full color wall calendar featuring 13 months (January 2020-January 2021) of Betsy-Tacy books.

Lo-Res WallCalendar2020_FrontCover copy

Some day in her maple or on Uncle Keith’s trunk, she would write something good. (from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown)

Maud did indeed write something good! Ten books in the Betsy-Tacy series and another three Deep Valley books were published between 1940 and 1955.

SamplePagesJanJulyThe calendar features one original cover each month along with a Lenski or Neville illustration and a book description.  Real life character birthday dates (and some anniversaries) are highlighted each month.  A side bar contains a quote or history related to the book.

Pre-orders are being taken through June 15, 2019. For more information and to order, click here.


Mankato Opera House

2. Harmonia Hall-Opera House

Harmonia Hall, later the Mankato Opera House

Outside, the Opera House was a large brick structure. It was a fine theatre for a town the size of Deep Valley. But Deep Valley was what is known as a good show town. It was a thriving county seat, and theatrical productions, passing from the Twin Cities to Omaha, found it a convenient and profitable one-night-stand.

Winona and Betsy and Tacy and Tib were the first ones inside the house. They did not go at once to their box. First they raced all over the auditorium. It was elegant beyond even Winona’s descriptions and Betsy’s wildest dreams. A giant chandelier hung with glittering crystal drops was suspended from the ceiling. The seats were upholstered in red velvet. The boxes were hung with red velvet tied back with golden cords.

The orchestra started to play. It played sad tunes. Old Kentucky Home, Swanee River, Massa’s in de Cold Cold Ground. All over the house the lights went low. There were rainbow colors in the crystals of the great chandelier as the lights faded away. Then…oh, magic moment!…the curtain started to rise. Slowly, slowly, while the music kept on playing and the rainbow in the chandelier flickered out, forgotten, the curtain lifted. Quote from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace

Maud’s wonderfully descriptive writing easily transports the reader of the Betsy-Tacy books to the 19th century cultural center of Deep Valley—the Opera House. It’s so easy to imagine what it looked like and how it felt for Betsy and Tacy when they first visited the Opera House.

This is a bit of history about the Opera House that Maud, her family and friends attended in Mankato. I imagine it must have looked just like Maud described it in the books.

Mankato (Deep Valley) owed its Opera House and its status as a regular stop on the theatrical circuits to the enthusiasm for culture of some of its German citizens. William and Jacob Bierbauer purchased land in the 200 block of South Second Street in 1870 and transferred it to the Mankato Harmonia Association, a German singing society. The association completed the building they named Harmonia Hall, in July 1872.

The structure cost $11,000, which was paid by donations and loans. It featured a grand stage, a balcony and a 30-foot ceiling adorned with a dome. The dining area was in the basement and was the same size as the main hall (62 by 70 feet). A grand opening was held on December 25, 1872 with speeches, music and tableaux. The following evening was celebrated with an inaugural ball and dinner.

During its first decade, it was used for performances by local musical and theatrical groups and occasional professional productions. The name was changed to the Mankato Opera House in 1878 when the building was remodeled as a playhouse. The Mankato Review reported “The Boston Ideal Company played Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the night of the 26th to a very large house. The hall was filled, even beyond the over-attendance at the Kellogg concert. Never before have we witnessed such a crowding assemblage” (Jan. 3, 1882)

Just a few weeks later, on January 23, 1882, disaster struck when a fire broke out, which destroyed all but the exterior walls of the building. That evening the temperature was -6 degrees with blowing snow when a policeman discovered the building on fire. Reports alluded to possible arson. Kerosene barrels were stored in the ticket office and had caught fire. Rebuilding began and the structure reopened as a theater, the Mankato Opera House in 1883 and was managed by A.G. Bierbauer (son of William).

Clarence Saulpaugh

Clarence Saulpaugh

Clarence Saulpaugh leased the Opera House in 1893, made extensive improvements and changed the name to Mankato Theatre. Townsfolk seemed to prefer “Opera House”, since this is the name many continued to use. The theater had a seating capacity of 1,000 and was of a horseshoe-type construction, designed so that the stage could be clearly seen from each seat in the house.

The Opera House was the center of both high culture and popular entertainment in Mankato. The early 20th century was the golden age of the theater in America. Opera companies and symphonic bands joined New York-based musical reviews and straight dramatic theatrical companies traveling by railroad from city to city. Everything that came out of New York also came to Mankato because the company would break here when traveling between Minneapolis and Omaha.

1. Andrews Opera Co program

Many stage stars, as well as boxers and wrestlers, appeared on the stage at the Opera House. The theatrical programs of the day reveal that almost all of the stage greats appeared at the Mankato Opera House, including Mary Pickford, John L. Sullivan (world-famous boxer), John Drew, Maude Adams, Anna Held, Charles Winnenger, Jos. Jefferson, Gertrude Coughlan, Sousa’s Band, and Mankato’s own Andrews Opera Company. Mankato vocalists also appeared on the theater stage, including Florence MacBeth, who went on to a career in opera and concert, as well as Lora Lulsdorff.

Chauncey Olcott came to Deep Valley in his play, Aileen Asthore. Mr. Ray took the family to hear him. Usually Betsy saw her rare plays at matinees with Winona who had passes because her father was editor of the Deep Valley Sun. But once a year when Chauncey Olcott came, she went to the Opera House in the evening with her parents. The Irish tenor was growing old and stout, but his swagger was as gallant as ever, his voice as honey sweet. Always in the course of the evening the audience made him sing a hit song of earlier years called, “My Wild Irish Rose.”   Quote from Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace

3. Chauncey Olcott Mankato Theatre ad 9.4.1906

Mankato Weekly Review (Sept. 4, 1906)

The Irish tenor Chauncey W. Olcott (1858-1932), was a Mankato favorite. On each of Olcott’s appearances in Mankato special trains were run to the city from towns as far away as Blue Earth and Tracy, Minnesota. Olcott combined the roles of tenor, actor, songwriter and composer in many productions. He is best-known and beloved for his songs; My Wild Irish Rose, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, and Mother Machree.

The motion pictures spelled the doom of live theatrical entertainment for Mankato and the country as a whole. Several movie theaters opened in Mankato, and by 1921 the Mankato Theater was renamed the Orpheum. It became a second-rate movie house where live performances — usually benefits or school theatricals —were given from time to time, the last of which was given in 1928. That year the building was marked for demolition, but it wasn’t actually taken down until 1931.



Lost Landmark

img_3077 copy

Christian Strom’s General Store in Butternut, ca. 1896

Another historic Betsy-Tacy landmark will soon be gone. The Butternut general store in Butternut (Butternut Center) collapsed sometime in December 2018. Although the building had been abandoned for years, it stood up to the weather until high winds likely brought it down.

Located about 20 miles west of Mankato, the village of Butternut was established in 1894, the same year the Lake Shore Creamery and a general store was built. By 1897 Butternut had a railroad depot, feed mill, harness and shoemaker shop, blacksmith shop, meat shop, livery, hotel, and town hall. The bustling village would have been in its heyday when Maud (Betsy) visited in the early 1900s.

Maud’s fictional name for the Butternut General Store was Willard’s Emporium. It was here that Betsy met Joe Willard.

“The store reminded her that in the excitement of her unexpected return, she had forgotten to buy presents. No Ray ever came home from a trip without bringing presents for the rest. Willard’s Emporium, said the sign above the door. It was one of those stores, perfect for her purpose, where everything under the sun was for sale. A single glance revealed kitchen stoves, buggy whips, corset cover and crackers. Betsy browsed happily along the overflowing counters until a boy sitting in a corner, eating an apple and reading a book, threw away the apple and came forward.”       ~ Heaven to Betsy ~

These photos showing the remnants of the Butternut general store were taken January 8, 2019.

img_3022 copy

img_3044 copy

West side of the building

img_2991 copy

East side of the building

img_2995 copy

East side of the building

img_3017 copy

Home Over There: Marguerite Marsh and the YMCA in the Great War

Marguerite Marsh-Emily Webster

Marguerite Marsh (Emily Webster in Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace), ca. 1913 (photo from Maud Hart Lovelace’s Deep Valley).

Firing on the First World War’s Western Front ended on Nov. 11, 1918 at the eleventh hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. As the world commemorates the centennial, there are hundreds of stories of men and women who served.

This is the story of Marguerite Marsh, a Mankato woman who answered the call when the United States branch of the YMCA took a bold step and opened its service to females for the first time in July 1917.  She was born in Mankato on Independence Day in 1890. Her mother died when she was only eleven years old and her father left her in the care of her elderly grandparents, John Q. and Sarah (Hanna) Marsh (early pioneer settlers). Sarah Marsh died two years later leaving Marguerite alone to care for her aging grandfather. Marsh graduated from Mankato High School in 1909, was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church working with the youth. After the death of her grandfather in 1915, she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and studied home economics.

When war was declared in 1917, the YMCA immediately volunteered its support at home and abroad. They organized canteens at the front lines in France, giving soldiers a place where they could get away from the harsh realities of the war. These canteens were huts or tents set up to provide coffee, writing materials, books, gramophone and records or moving picture shows several times a week for the soldiers. Nearly 1500 entertainers met with the troops in their off hours.

record-image_3Q9M-CSMB-P9W2-3 copy

Marguerite Marsh YMCA WWI service card

Some Americans thought that women would not hold up to the physical and mental strain of war work. However, many women stepped up to the challenge, including Marguerite Marsh. She enlisted with the 82nd Division in November 1917 and served with 13,00 YMCA workers in France. Marguerite was assigned to a YMCA café at Tours, France, and was later given the rank of Secretary in charge of a canteen at Gondrecourt, with the First Army school.

Back in Mankato, the First Presbyterian Church published a newsletter, Our Church Life. In addition to church news, it contained letters and news about servicemen and women from the church. This newsletter was gratefully anticipated by the soldiers and kept those at home informed of their fellow church members. Below are excerpts from news and letters written by Marguerite and published in Our Church Life.

A telegram Marsh sent to the Rev. Paden on Dec. 11, 1917, describes her hopes to depart for France on Dec. 19. Soon after arriving she first worked canteen service in the largest café at Tours, outside of Paris, serving three meals a day in addition to other duties. “Before leaving Paris, some of the group visited the American Hospital there. We could hardly get away. Though there was no one there from our part of the United States, we were welcomed like long lost friends. The boys were all eager to see anyone from America.”

April 16, 1918, she sent a letter from “Somewhere in France.” The weather cold and damp and she was rooming with a friend at the YWCA Hostess House. Marsh wrote that she was eager for “real canteen work” at one of the barracks.

May 17, 1918, she wrote about being “muchly excited” over the granting of their repeated request to be transferred nearer the front and their preparations for the approaching transfer—to what point she did not know.

Our Church Life published a report from her aunt, Mrs. John R. Beatty, about her receiving a letter from Marsh’s superior officer regarding her work: “She is doing really good work here and is a credit to her country and to her family.”


Marguerite most likely dresses similar to the woman in this poster designed by Neysa Moran McMein in 1918, “One of the Thousand Y.M.C.A. Girls in France.”

Marsh wrote in July 1918 about the few weeks she had spent starting a canteen 28 miles from the front: “Starting a canteen means bushels of work…We furnish the boys stationery, envelopes, pens and ink—free. The writing tables are in use most of the day. A bunch of boys who came in recently from the South and can not read and write so we are arranging classes for them. Last Sunday afternoon I watched an air battle at some distance. We never know whether it is a practice fight or a real one.” Several weeks later she writes about the abandonment of the canteen and her transfer to a large canteen at the divisional headquarters.

Writing on August 23, 1918: “Back again and working harder than ever in a hut which serves thousands of men. I never saw so many hot, dusty boys in my life. They come in on trucks so white with dust that they bear no resemblance to human beings…There is a beautiful full moon and we are congratulating ourselves on our escape from the air raids. We have had bombs to the right of us and bombs to the left of us but so far have remained untouched.

I am writing to the accompaniment of a beautiful band which is playing on the shady side of the village street. There is something incongruous about that band. It has played each afternoon for a week. It gives me a queer feeling. Even as I write, the sound is drowned by the rumble of army trucks. Music gives war a stagy effect which it is far from having. It is quite too real.”

In her Oct. 21, 1918, letter she made an admission: “I am ashamed to tell you how comfortable I am. I have a room all to myself, with two other American women in the same house—‘Y’ workers also. The canteen work is very hard but with such comfortable living conditions, I don’t mind. I work every night until ten or half past. The cook from one of the Company messes made doughnuts for us yesterday afternoon and last night we were just swamped.”

“We had Billy Sunday’s trombonist at our hut Sunday evening. He gave such a straightforward talk which did us all good. We lead such double lives over here. Underneath, our hearts ache for the boys suffering in the hospitals or standing in the cold mud of the trenches; at the same time we must joke, play around with, and try to help keep up the spirits of the boys in the back areas who are waiting their turn.”

“The other day, on one of the few sunshiny afternoons which we have had, Miss Tyler and I went up on the hill back of the village. In the distance and outlined against the sky, was an apparently never-ending line of French artillery, appearing over the edge of the hill, passing across a long straight stretch of road where according to French custom, trees were set a regular intervals. I was fascinated with the picture which they presented, but Miss Tyler said that she had seen so much of the horrible side of war that she could see nothing picturesque about it. It seems as though it must be over by spring.”

Sierra copy 2

U.S. World War I transport ship, USS Sierra

Three weeks later, November 11, 1918, armistice was signed. Demobilization took time and Marguerite returned to the states with the 82nd Division. They departed Bordeaux, France aboard the troop transport ship USS Sierra on May 9th and arrived in New York on May 21, 1919.

During WWI, the YMCA had assumed military responsibilities on a scale that had never been attempted by a non-profit, community-based organization in the history of our nation and would never be matched again.

Marguerite enrolled in a hospital training course at the Presbyterian Hospital in connection with Columbia University in New York. She married Myron Wilcox in New York in May 1923. They moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa, where Marguerite gave birth to a son, John Marsh Wilcox, on January 31, 1925. Just two weeks later, Marguerite died in Iowa City, at the age of 35. She is buried near her grandparents in Glenwood Cemetery in Mankato.

From her obituary in the Mankato Free Press: “There are lives made stronger by adversity. For Marguerite Marsh, one after another the home ties of her girlhood were broken by death. Through it all, she preserved her brave faith, the sweet poise of character that carried her through to a fine womanhood in a happy home of her own.”

Armistice Day

Firing on the First World War’s Western Front ended on Nov. 11, 1918 at “the eleventh hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.” Thousands of Americans served in this war both at home and abroad and many lives were lost. As the centennial of Armistice Day is commemorated, I can’t help but remember the friends and family of Maud Hart Lovelace who were touched by this war.

Delos Lovelace (Joe Willard) was in First Officers Training Camp and stationed at Fort Snelling when he met Maud Hart (Betsy Ray) in 1917. Just six months later, on November 29, 1917, the couple was married while Delos was on a weekend pass from Camp Dodge, Iowa. Delos was sent to France as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 339th machine gun battalion. When the war ended, the Army sent him to Trinity College in Cambridge for four months of study while he waited for space on a troopship to come home.

Charles Harris WW1

Charles Harris (Jack Dunhill), husband of Marjorie Gerlach (Tib Muller) enlisted in the U.S. Army at the beginning of the war and served as a sergeant in Company C of the 212th Engineers.

Marguerite Marsh (Emily Webster) enlisted with the YMCA for canteen work in the fall of 1917. She went overseas with the 82nd Division to operate a YMCA Cafe at Tours, France, and later at Gondrecourt. She wrote home about the work she was doing in France.  “Starting a canteen means bushels of work,” she wrote. “We calcimated the ceiling a blue grey, stained the rafters brown, put burlap on the walls and curtains on the windows. We got a new Delco moving picture machine — with the same engine we have electric lights in the hut. We use a tar paper over the windows at night to prevent the light from being seen outside. We have shades over the lights. Everyone says it’s very pretty. There are millions of flowers on the hillside, so we can have fresh ones every day. We furnish the boys stationery, envelopes, pen and ink — free. The writing tables are in use most of the day. A bunch of boys who came in recently are from the South and cannot read and write, so we are arranging classes for them. The teachers are boys from their own companies who have had at least a high school education.”

Myron Wilcox (Jed Wakeman) served in Chaumont, Dordogne, and Aquitaine, France. He  was a 1st Lieutenant Infantry on General Pershing’s staff in Chaumont, France. It’s unknown if he and Marguerite knew each other at that time they were serving in France. Myron and Marguerite were married in 1923.

William Everett WW1

William Everett (Sam Hutchinson), husband of Marion Willard (Carney Sibley), was ordered to active duty as a first lieutenant in the Aviation Section in August 1917. After training, he was sent to France with an aero squadron in January 1918. He and Marion were married a month after he returned home in August 1919.

Tom Fox cemetery stone

Tom Fox (Tom Slade) attended West Point in 1915. His classmates were Dwight D. Eisenhower and Omar Bradley. Tom had a lifelong career in the military. He died in 1955 and is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, CA.

James Baker Jr. (E. Lloyd Harrington) was overseas serving in the Norton-Hordjes ambulance corps and he later became a lieutenant in the French military.

The war interrupted and changed the course of the lives of these young men and women as it did for thousands of others. 100 years later…we remember…and continue to pray for peace. Never forget.

Remembering Marguerite Marsh (Emily Webster) on Decoration Day


IMG_0884Memorial Day always brings to mind Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace. I love the story of the patriotic Decoration Day celebration (as it was known then) and the tradition of decorating the graves of soldiers and family. Over the years this tradition seems to have been lost to some. Even in 1912, the year this book was set, some of Emily’s friends do not understand the true meaning of the holiday. Don calls it “bunk” and asks Emily, “how many people are thinking about anything except the impression they are making, or the picnic they are heading for, or how their feet hurt?” Emily realizes the day means more to her than most people and explains, “It’s —part of growing up in America.” Don tells her she’s just a sentimentalist.

As Emily works to tidy up the family gravesites, she remembers the lives of those she loved and how her life might be different had they lived longer. Emily’s family mirrors that of her counterpart, Marguerite Marsh, who lost her mother at a young age and then her grandmother. She was left with only her grandfather, who she cared for until his death.

Marguerite had a deep sense of service to others and devotion for her country. She enlisted in the YMCA in November 1917 and served 16 months in France with the 82nd Division. She was assigned to a YMCA café at Tours, France and later was in charge of a canteen at Gondrecourt, with the First Army school.

When I visited Glenwood Cemetery in Mankato this Memorial Day weekend, I stopped by Marguerite’s grave, left a flower and placed an American flag. The family plot is located in the older part of the cemetery and is heavily shaded by a large tree where the grass no longer grows. Remember Marguerite…

YMCA Poster Gt. War Centenary 1914 - 1918 Fb Page





Happy 126th Birthday Maud Hart Lovelace!

MHL birthday 4.24.18

In honor of Maud Hart Lovelace’s 126th birthday, I’m offering a birthday sale! All Maud Hart Lovelace related books are on sale now through May 31, 2018. Click the title to take you to the description page.

The Black Angels by Maud Hart Lovelace

One Stayed at Welcome by Maud and Delos Lovelace

Maud Hart Lovelace’s Deep Valley by Julie Schrader

Discover Deep Valley by Julie Schrader

Collected Stories of Maud Hart Lovelace & Delos Lovelace, Vol. 1

Collected Stories of Maud Hart Lovelace & Delos Lovelace, Vol. 2

My Betsy-Tacy Miracle by Kathleen Baxter

Orange Blossoms Everywhere: The Story of Maud and Delos Lovelace in California, 1953-1980 is not on sale due to limited remaining quantities.

Your interest in Maud Hart Lovelace and her work help to promote her literary legacy. Minnesota Heritage Publishing is a small publishing company and all our titles are limited editions. Please help by sharing this with a friend, give a book as a gift or donate to your local library. Together we can keep Maud’s legacy alive!
Sign up for occasional e-news from Minnesota Heritage Publishing and stay informed about future sales and new releases. Just send your name and email address to be added to our mailing list.








Trimming the Tree with Deep Valley Ornaments


, , , , , , , ,


Since 2008, our Christmas tree has been adorned with a Maud Hart Lovelace/Betsy’s House ornament. While working as the Executive Director for the Betsy-Tacy Society, I had come across a collectible ornament for author Louisa May Alcott and the Orchard House. With a little research, I located the manufacturer, ChemArt from Providence, Rhode Island. This began the process of creating the Lovelace/Betsy’s House ornament that is sold exclusively by the BTS as a fundraiser.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the story on CBS News (Dec. 17, 2017), Trimming the tree with Presidential history and ChemArt was mentioned. Turns out that ChemArt makes the annual White House Christmas ornament for the White House Historical Association! ChemArt owner Richard Beaupre is interviewed and it ‘s interesting to learn more about the company and see the manufacturing process. Most of the ornaments are made piece by piece, one by one. The Deep Valley ornaments are made of brass and finished in 24 carat gold. It’s hard to see from the photograph, but the porch on each house is 3-dimensional.

The Frances “Bick” Kenney/Tacy’s House ornament was created in 2015 and hangs with the Lovelace ornament on our tree. “Hold Christmas in your hand” and decorate your tree with these Deep Valley collectible ornaments. They’re available online from the Betsy-Tacy Society Gift Shop.  Your purchase supports the preservation of these historic literary landmark houses. What could be better!


Christmas Cards


This postcard is reminiscent of the Brass Bowl story in “Heaven to Betsy”. There’s even a brass bowl in the upper right corner of the card. It could very well be Mrs. Ray window shopping with Betsy.

With all the excitement and the rush of the holiday season, it’s easy to put off writing and mailing Christmas cards. With email and Facebook today, holiday cards might seem as outdated as the horse and buggy. But I’m holding on to the tradition of sending actual cards by mail. I’ve tried the easier and more convenient way a few times, but it doesn’t hold the same feeling. Apparently, I’m not the only one because, according to the Internet, Americans still purchase approximately 1.6 billion Christmas cards a year.

I love vintage Christmas cards and postcards and occasionally will come across reproductions in the store. The beautiful vintage artwork makes me think of Betsy, Tacy and Christmas in Deep Valley. Images that create the nostalgic feeling of a time long ago when Maud Hart Lovelace and her friends grew up in Mankato (Deep Valley), with snowy scenes of children ice skating and sledding, Christmas trees and holly, Santa Claus and church bells.

Imagine the excitement this time of year when the postman delivered the holiday greetings from family and friends at the Hart (Ray) and Kenney (Kelly) homes. Maud (Betsy) most likely had postcards similar to these in her postcard album.

A little history…For a few years in the early 20th century, postcards were a massive phenomenon. Postcards were the cheapest and easiest means of communication at one time. The cost of a stamp was only a penny. Billions of postcards were sent through the mail, and billions more were bought and put into albums and boxes. Christmas postcards were the most popular. Nearly every home in the early 1900s had a postcard album holding greetings from near and far.penny_post_by_yesterdays_paper-db6411q

Here are two references Maud made to postcards in the Betsy-Tacy books:

“As soon as I get back to Cox,” Jerry told her when he said good-by, “I’m going send you a present. What would you like? A postcard album?” A postcard album! It was just what she had been wanting. … 

She [Betsy] hobbled downstairs late and spent most of the day on the back-parlor sofa. She liked to watch the red flames flickering behind the isinglass windows of the stove. After the postcard album came (for Jerry sent it! It had leather covers and the seal of Cox School on it.) she enjoyed putting in her collection of postcards. Postcards from her grandmother in California and from various uncles and aunts, from her father that time he went to St. Paul and from Tib when she went to visit in Milwaukee.    Quote from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

When Betsy went out into the Great World, “she sent flocks of post cards telling her friends that it was simply fascinating.”    Quote from Betsy and the Great World