Maud Hart Lovelace

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Maud Hart Lovelace

Maud Hart Lovelace (April 25, 1892 – March 11, 1980) was an American author best known for the Betsy-Tacy series.

Early life[edit]

Childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, now a museum, at 214 Center Street, Mankato, Minnesota

Maud Palmer Hart was born in Mankato, Minnesota to Tom Hart, a shoe store owner, and his wife, Stella (née Palmer). Maud was the middle child; her sisters were Kathleen (Julia in the Betsy-Tacy books) and Helen (book character, Margaret). Maud reportedly started writing as soon as she could hold a pencil. She wrote in her high school's essay contest during her junior and senior years. She was baptized in a Baptist church, but joined the Episcopal church as a teenager. She went on to the University of Minnesota but took a leave of absence to go to California to recover from an appendectomy at her maternal grandmother's home. It was while in California that she made her first short story sale – to the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She returned to the university and worked for the Minnesota Daily. She did not graduate from college.[citation needed]

While spending a year in Europe in 1914, she met Paolo Conte, an Italian musician (who later inspired the character Marco in Betsy and the Great World). She married Delos Lovelace when she was twenty-five years old. Delos and Maud met in April 1917 and were married on Thanksgiving Day the same year. They lived apart until 1919, however, due to Delos' military service in the First World War.[citation needed]

They divided their time between Minneapolis and New York (including Yonkers and Mount Vernon) for several years. After 1928, they lived in New York permanently until their retirement in Claremont, California. They had one daughter, Merian (later Mrs. Kirchner; January 18, 1931—September 25, 1997), who was named for Delos's friend, Merian C. Cooper. (Delos had written the novelization of the film King Kong, directed by Cooper.)[1]

Literary career[edit]

Her first book was The Black Angels, which was published in 1926 and is a historical novel set in Minnesota. She wrote several more historical novels, including the successful Early Candlelight in 1929.

She is best known for her books for children. The Betsy-Tacy series started in 1938 after Lovelace told stories about her childhood to her own daughter Merian. The first book in the series, Betsy-Tacy, was published in 1940, and the last book, Betsy's Wedding, was published in 1955. The first four books increase in reading difficulty so that the child can grow up along with Betsy-Tacy. The Betsy-Tacy books take place mostly in the fictional town of Deep Valley, Minnesota, which is based on Mankato. There are also three loosely connected books set in Deep Valley: Winona's Pony Cart, Emily of Deep Valley and Carney's House Party, in which Betsy and Tacy have minor roles. The series has been enduringly popular. The city of Mankato declared Betsy-Tacy Day on October 7, 1961.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Lovelace spent her later years in California, where she died in 1980. She is buried in the Glenwood Cemetery in Mankato, with a monument dedicated to her.

Legacy[edit]

The Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award was established in 1980. Each year, a group of nominees are chosen in two categories: grades 3–5 and grades 6–8. Children who have read at least three books in the relevant category cast a vote for their favorite. Details about her life and work can be found in The Betsy-Tacy Companion by Sharla Whalen.

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Black Angels (1926)
  • Early Candlelight (1929)
  • Petticoat Court (1930)
  • The Charming Sally (1932)
  • One Stayed At Welcome (1934, with Delos Lovelace)
  • Gentlemen From England (1937, with Delos Lovelace)
  • The Golden Wedge: Indian Legends of South America (1942, with Delos Lovelace)
  • The Tune Is In The Tree (1950)
  • The Trees Kneel At Christmas (1951)
  • What Cabrillo Found (1958)
  • The Valentine Box (1966)

Betsy-Tacy series[edit]

Deep Valley series[edit]

  • Carney's House Party (1949)
  • Emily of Deep Valley (1950)
  • Winona's Pony Cart (1953)

Short Stories[2][3]

References[edit]

External links[edit]