We Recommend The Betsy-Tacy Books

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Maud Palmer Hart 1892-1980

Maud Hart Lovelace (April 25, 1892 – March 11, 1980) was an American writer, best known for Betsy Tycy series. the The series began in 1938 after Lovelace told stories about her childhood to her daughter, Mirian. The character of Betsy is based on Lovelace herself; Tacy is based on her childhood best friend, Frances “Beck” Kinney. The first book in the series, Betsy Tycypublished in 1940, and the last book, Betsy’s wedding, was published in 1955. The first four books increase the difficulty of reading so that a child can grow up alongside Betsy-Tacy. The Betsy-Tacy books are mostly set in a fictional town Deep Valley, Minnesota, which is based in Mankato. They cover the period from the late 1890s, when Betsy was five, until World War I, by which time Betsy is newly married and has recently completed a major tour of Europe.

Maud Palmer Hart was born in Mankato, Minnesota to Tom Hart, a shoe store owner, and his wife, Stella (née Palmer). Maude was the middle child. Her sisters were Kathleen (Julia in the Betsy Taycey books) and Helen (the book’s character, Margaret). Maud reportedly began writing as soon as she grabbed a pencil. She wrote for her high school essay contest during her junior and senior years.

She was baptized into the Baptist Church but joined the Episcopal Church in her teens. She went to the University of Minnesota but took time off to go to California to recover at her maternal grandmother’s home from her appendectomy. While in California, she made her first sale of a short story—to the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She went back to university and worked at Minnesota DailyBut she didn’t graduate.

While spending a year in Europe in 1914, she met the Italian musician Paolo Conti (who would later inspire the character of Marco in Betsy and the great scientist). Hart married writer Delos Lovelace when she was twenty-five. Delos and Hart met in April 1917 and married on Thanksgiving that same year. They lived apart until 1919, due to Delos’ military service in World War I.

Later, the couple 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, Mirian (later Mirian Lovelace Kirchner; January 18, 1931 – September 25, 1997), named after Delos’ friend Mirian C. Cooper who directed the film King Kong character Narrated by Delos.

Betsy-Tacy Series:

  • Betsy Tycy (1940)
  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib (1941)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (1942)
  • Betsy and Tessie Go Downtown (1943)
  • Paradise for Betsy (1945)
  • Betsy in spite of herself (1946)
  • Betsy was younger (1947)
  • Betsy and Joe (1948)
  • Betsy and the great scientist (1952)
  • Betsy’s wedding (1955)

Video about the Betsy-Tacy Society from

KSMQ Public Television

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