More from the article written by Valerie Beardwood and printed in Elementary English, November 1959.
“Late in October, 1955 the following announcement was printed:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ray
And Maud Hart Lovelace
Announce the marriage of
To Mr. Joseph Willard
On September Fourteenth
On September 14, 1955 two hundred guests, educators, librarians and others in the Children’s book field attended a tea and reception at the Waldorf-Astoria in honor of Betsy’s Wedding. Not only was Betsy’s wedding an affair of great interest to everyone acquainted with her, but it marked the completion of the tenth book in the series. The occasion was an event to remember. Greeting guests beside Mrs. Lovelace was a life-size replica of Betsy dressed in her wedding gown and looking her loveliest.
When the party was over and the excitement had died down a little, the Betsy doll was carefully packed in a large box and began a trip that was to last three years. All over the United States Betsy has appeared at book stores, libraries and book fairs.
Last year , the Betsy doll was beginning to show signs of wear and Mrs. Lovelace donated her to the public library in Mankato, Minnesota where she is today.
Because requests for the doll were still coming in, the Crowell company had two smaller dolls made. The interest in Betsy is so great that even with two Betsy’s, the dolls are booked ahead six years.
Naturally Betsy’s friends are pleased with Betsy’s Wedding. What could be more romantic than Betsy coming down the stairs to meet Joe, the fun of setting up housekeeping, the problems and joys of young newlyweds? The book leaves them feeling happy though not entirely satisfied. For not a few readers confess to shedding a few tears when Joe leaves for the army.
Coming to the end of Betsy’s Wedding, Betsy’s fans are a little sad, not only because Joe has gone to camp and will soon be going overseas, but because it is the last Betsy-Tacy book.
While in the opinion of one enthusiastic reader, “Betsy books should go on forever,” Mrs. Lovelace is not quite willing to continue the books into another generation. However, she does have plans for the final book in the series which she is going to call Betsy’s Bettina. She feels, as the children do, that it is not right to leave Joe overseas and that to end the stories happily, Betsy should have a baby.
All good things must come to an end at some time, but even if Betsy’s Bettina does prove to be the last in the series, there’s little doubt that the Betsy-Tacy stories will continue to be books to grow on for years to come.”
Photo from “Discover Deep Valley”
You can still see the Betsy doll from “Betsy’s Wedding.” The library donated it to the Blue Earth County Historical Society in the mid-1960s and it remains on display today.
As we know, Betsy’s Wedding was the last book in the Betsy-Tacy series. For some years Maud intended to write one more book in the series, Betsy’s Bettina, which would bring Joe safely home from the war and tell about the birth of their daughter. “I did a little research on it but I didn’t care to write it,” Maud wrote. “I have always felt that the last lines in Betsy’s Wedding were a perfect ending for the series.”