Cover of reprint of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse (1943), the first Cherry Ames book
|Author||Helen Wells (#1-7, 17-27)
Julie Campbell Tatham (#8-16)
|Publisher||Grosset & Dunlap
Springer Publishing (reprints, 2005-2007)
Cherry Ames is the central character in a series of 27 mystery novels with hospital settings published by Grosset & Dunlap between 1943 and 1968. Helen Wells (1910-1986) wrote volumes #1-7 and 17-27, and Julie Campbell Tatham (1908-1999), the creator of Trixie Belden, wrote volumes #8-16. Wells also created the Vicki Barr series. During World War II, the series encouraged girls to become nurses as a way to aid the war effort. Cherry Ames original editions are prized by collectors and fans. The series generated a few spin-off items, including a Parker Brothers board game; some titles have been reprinted.
The series stars a job-hopping, mystery-solving nurse in the Nancy Drew mold, named Cherry Ames. Cherry (short for Charity) hails from Hilton, Illinois (based on Wells' hometown of Danville, Illinois), and was steered into nursing by Dr. Joseph Fortune, an old family friend. Cherry's training at the Spencer Hospital School of Nursing is chronicled in the first two books. There, she meets the classmates who become lifelong friends.
With the third book in the series Army Nurse, Cherry joins the Army Nurse Corps, and, after the war, she moves to Greenwich Village. Whenever Cherry isn't working with the Visiting Nurse Service, Dr. Joe sends her on assignments in various parts of the country. Unlike other nurses of girls' fiction, such as Sue Barton, Cherry remains unpartnered throughout her career, although an occasional beau will crop up, such as Dr. "Lex" Upham.
Evolution of character
Cherry's early adventures are set during World War II. In these early adventures, Cherry solves problems and captures criminals when men in authority have failed to do so, "demonstrating that women can succeed in the public, working world."
The books were written by Helen Wells and Julie Tatham and published in the United States by Grosset & Dunlap between 1943 and 1968. They were extensively printed in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and 1960s. Beginning in 2005, the Cherry Ames series was licensed to the Springer Publishing Company and are currently being re-printed. In addition, a new edition of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse was released by the Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc., through its Palm Publishing LLC subsidiary. Proceeds from the sale of the books were used to support nursing scholarships.
Between 1957 and 1964, the Cherry Ames Girls Annual was printed and distributed in the UK, usually before Christmas. Each annual had two original Cherry Ames short stories by Helen Wells, and additional stories by other authors.
In 1959, Cherry Ames' Book of First Aid and Home Nursing was published by Helen Wells for adolescents as a companion volume to the series.
Also in 1959, Cherry Ames' Nursing Game was published by American board game titan, Parker Brothers Inc.. Designed for 2 to 6 players, the game consists of a center-seamed, illustrated game board depicting various rooms in a hospital, 6 colored tokens, 36 colored rings, 20 directional cards, and a spinner. The object of the game is to travel about the board, gather six rings, and then leave the board at the space marked 'graduate.'
In the 1990s, Mabel Maney created a series of little known gay parodies of the girl-sleuth series books, bringing out their imagined lesbian subtext. Her first book, The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse, had lesbian detectives “Cherry Aimless” and “Nancy Clue” doing more than just detective work with each other.
- "Cherry Ames, War Nurse." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- Inness (1998), 250.
- Hallam (2000), 49.
- Re-printed as The Clue of the Faceless Criminal.
- Re-printed as The Case of the Forgetful Patient.
- Re-printed as Mystery of Rogue's Cave.
- Re-printed as The Case of the Dangerous Remedy.
- Abate, Michelle Ann (2008). Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-59213-723-7.
- Hallam, Julia (2000). Nursing the image: media, culture, and professional identity. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18455-X.
- Parry, Sally (1997). Sherrie, Inness, ed. "'You are needed, desperately needed!': Cherry Ames in World War II" in Nancy Drew and Company: Culture, Gender, and Girls' Series. Popular Press 1. ISBN 0-87972-736-5.
- Pendergast, Tom and Sara (2000). "Cherry Ames" in The St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, volume 1. St. James Press. p. 491. ISBN 1558624007.