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by the author of Honor Bright

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by the author of Honor Bright
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Evelyn Whitaker is sometimes named as the author of books "by the author of Honor Bright." Is she?
 

 
Honor Bright was a popular phrase and a title used by more than one author and more than one of those authors was a woman writing anonymously.
  • Among the series books written by Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards (1850-1943) is one entitled Honor Bright, first published in 1920 and followed by Honor Bright's New Adventure in 1925.
  • Mary Catherine Rowsell wrote a book titled Honor Bright, a story of the days of old King Charles.  It is not the same as Honor Bright or the four leaved shamrock.
  • Sue Chestnutwood Perkins is the author of Honor Bright, a romance, (1870) and Malbrook (1868) both published by S. Low, Son & Co. (London) and by Carleton, (New York)  and her identity as the author  of both books is confirmed by an 1883 reference to her in The Literary World

Malbrook & Honor Bright by Sue Chestnutwood Perkins are available online at Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875

The Literary World. Vol 14, No 17 Boston, August 25, 1883. digitized by Google.

 When the identity of an anonymous author became known, librarians usually added (hand written, often in pencil) the name of the author to the title page of her book(s) and to the card catalog.  The title page of the volume of Malbrook digitized by Google has the author's name so written as Ruth Woodland. Ruth Woodland  is the pseudonym of  Sue Chestnutwood.

The Literary World, February 11, 1882.

Malbrook digitized by Google.

Despite frequent attribtuion to her, most notably by Google digitized books, Sue Perkins ia.k.a. Ruth Woodlawn is not the author of Honor Bright or the Four-leaved Shamrock, Gilly Flower, Two Blackbirds, Robin and Linnet, Left Till Called for, Tom's Opinion, Larry's Luck etc. Those stories for children were were first published serially in religious and Sunday School publications such as  The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Members of the English Church edited by Charlotte M. Yonge.

 

Evelyn Whitaker, the author of Laddie, Miss Toosey's Mission, Tip Cat, Gay etc., is also associated with several novels "by the author of Honor Bright."


Honor Bright, or the Four-leaved Shamrock  was published anonymously in 1879, shortly after Whitaker's phenomenal successes of Miss Toosey's Mission and Laddie which also first appeared in The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Members of the English Church.
If the "...by the author of Honor Bright" books were penned by Whitaker, why did she use a different attribution? The Honor Bright stories all had different publishers from Laddie, Tip Cat, etc. Their first serialized publications also predate Whitaker's more mature work. Her first major novel Tip Cat was also published that year.
Worth conisdering is possibility that the Honor Bright stories were collaborations with one or more of her sisters.
 

 

  • Honor Bright or the Four Leaved Shamrock was first published in 1879 by William Wells Gardner, London.  The British Library Intergrated Catalog lists these titles by the author of Honor Bright, all published by Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., London:
    • Robin & Linnet (1880)
    • One of a Covey (1882)
    • Peasblossom (1883)
    • N. or M. (1885)*
    • All's Well (1893) {probably Larry's Luck in U.S. editions.}
    • Hardy and Foolhardy (1895)
    • Gilly Flower (1904)
    • title pages add:  Two Blackbirds
    • many are illustrated by T. Pym e.g. Clara Creed
    • title page of Gilly Flower (A.L. Burt issue) adds Larry's Luck and Tom's Opinion

*not to be confused with M.or N. "Simula similibus curantur" by George John Whyte-Melville (1821-1878), published in 1869.  Evelyn Whitaker did however use some similar plotting items in Pomona:  sisters of identical appearance, separted & reared apart, painters, fathers whose failings endangered/impoverished their daughters

Link to G.J. Whyte-Melville will open new browser window.


 

EvelynWhitakerLibrary.org includes  Honor Bright or the Four Leaved Shamrock  and Gilly flower .  {Also added to the collection by the author of Honor Bright are:  Five, Ten, and Fifteen; Tom's Opinion; and Hardy and Foolhardy which I have not yet read.  kcp February 2009} 

The writing style of the Honor Bright series is less refined and elegant than those "by the author of Laddie, Tip Cat, etc".  The Honor Brights books may appropriately be classified as children's adventure stories.  In Gilly Flower there is an element of the fantastic--buried treasure, con men, theives.  Honor Bright or the Four Leaved Shamrock  includes a near-disastrous tidal beach episode.  The books are very didactic and the tone is "preachier" than those "by the Author of Laddie..." 

There is also a lack of flower language:  in Gilly Flower a hedge  is just a "hedge," a tree is just a "tree" while In the more mature works trees, plants, flowers are always specifically named and generally are fraught with meanings from Victorian language of flowers. 

Events of in the "author of Laddie" novels are everyday events; the focus is on home and neighborhood, friends and family, work and church, with just a bit of a love story.   The intent is indeed didactic but with a more delicate touch and better descriptive powers.

  

Five, Ten, and Fifteen.

Five, Ten and Fifteen is listed in the BPLC as by the author of Honor Bright and has been attributed to Evelyn Whitaker by at least one major U.S. university library exhibit. 

 

Left til Called for (1883) is a short story in the collection which is sometimes attributed to Evelyn Whitaker.

 
Hardy and Foolhardy and its sequel Larry's Luck both appeared serially in Chatterbox:
  • Hardy and Foolhardy was the lead story in Chatterbox, No.1, December 1, 1871 and ran through No. 2, February 9. 1872, pages 2, 10, 18, 26, 42, 50, 58, 66, 74, 82.
  • Larry's Luck continued the story of Tom and Bertie and their school dormitory mate Larry in Chatterbox, No. 38, August 17, 1872 and running through No. 46, October 12, 1872, pages 298, 306, 314, 322, 330, 338, 346, 354, 362, 370.
Evelyn Whitaker Library is a physical archive of print materials concerning a late Victorian author. This website is a digital exhibition of that archive. It is also the place where I publish the results of my research into the life and writings of Evelyn Whitaker.
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