The Peterkin Papers
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The Peterkin Papers is a book-length collection of humorous stories by American author Lucretia Peabody Hale, and is her best-known work.
The first of the Peterkin stories appeared in 1867 in the magazine Our Young Folks, which merged in 1874 with the new children's monthly St. Nicholas Magazine. The series continued for nine years, and made the Peterkins a household word. The collected stories were published in 1880 as The Peterkin Papers and were reprinted in 1960.
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The Peterkins were a large family who were extremely intelligent, but didn't have a lick of common sense among them. Whenever they were confronted with a problem that had a simple solution and a complex one, they unerringly went for the complex one--the simple one never occurred to them. They were usually rescued by their neighbor, the Lady from Philadelphia, known for her wisdom; which usually amounted to the plain, commonsense solution that had been staring them in the face and which any normal person would have seized on immediately.