And Then I Read: THE JOURNALS OF LAVINIA R. DAVIS

Here’s a book that will interest almost no one, but it’s of great interest to me. Lavinia R. Davis is a favorite author of books for children, and I particularly love her novels about children and animals beginning with “Hobby Horse Hill” in 1939. Her books are mostly long out of print and she is largely forgotten. This book, privately published by her family in 1964 about three years after her death, is composed of excerpts from her journals. Often the subject is the author’s continuing struggles to be a better writer, but many entries focus on her family, children, and extended family, animals, the places she lived and visited, friends, nature, the seasons, and anything that interested her. References to specific books of hers are few, but the writing is appealing and the life described is worth reading about for me, and I suspect for any other fans of her work. There is little information to be found about her elsewhere. It was edited by her nephew Samuel Sloan Walker Jr., and contains a fine photo of the author at the beginning, the best one I’ve seen:

At the end is a complete list of her books, including some titles I haven’t seen (A few were written under the pen name Wendell Farmer.) I thought I’d list them here for others, like me, in search of more Lavinia R. Davis books, though many of these definitely do not interest me as much as my favorites. See end of list for key to symbols.

A Biography of the Writings of Edith Wharton  1933

The Keys to the City  1936«

Skyscraper Mystery  1937^

Adventures in Steel  1938«

Americans Every One  1938«

Hobby Horse Hill  1939*

We All Go Away  1940^

Buttonwood Island  1941*

Grab Bag (co-editor and contributor)  1941«

Pony Jungle  1941*

We All Go To School  1942^

Plow Penny Mystery  1943*

The Surprise Mystery  1943^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Stand Fast and Reply  1943‡

Round Robin  1943^

Spinney & Spike and the B-29^  1944

Bicycle Commandoes  1944^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Evidence Unseen  1945†

A Sea Between  1945‡

Fish Hook Island Mystery  1945^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Barren Heritage  1946†

Taste of Vengeance  1946†

Roger and the Fox  1947**

Melody, Mutton Bone and Sam  1947*

Threat of Dragons  1948†

Wild Birthday Cake  1949**

Reference to Death  1950†

Peppermint Pond  1950^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Sandy’s Spurs  1951*

Summer is Fun  1951**

Secret of Donkey Island  1952*

Danny’s Luck  1953**

Hearts in Trim  1954‡

Donkey Detectives 1955*

Janey’s Fortune  1957*‡

It Happened On A Holiday  1958«

Come Be My Love  1959‡

Clown Dog  1961**

Island City: Adventures in Old New York  1961« (This may be a reprint of “Keys to the City” from 1936.)

* Novels about children and animals (my favorites)

**Picture books for young readers

^Non-animal-focused stories for children

†Adult murder mysteries

‡Teen romance novels

«Short story collection

 

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