THE PAGE TWINS SERIES
|"Here is a sparkling new
series of stories for girls -- just what they will like, and ask for more of
the same kind. It is all about twin sisters, who for the first few years in
their lives grow up in ignorance of each other's existence. Then they are at
last brought together and things begin to happen. Janet is an independent
go-ahead sort of girl, while her sister Phyllis is -- but meet the twins for
yourself and be entertained." -- from a Barse
This is one of my very favorite series.
My grandmother and her twin sister were born in 1920, the same year that the series started, and their collection of Twins books was given to me when I was nine or ten years old. They seem to me to be written with a bit more care than most children's series books of the era -- at least, the earliest books in the series do -- but that may just be my sentimental attachment to them coming through. However, the characters are more three-dimensional than usual, and the classic series stereotypes are, for the most part, avoided. Although some of the characters seem to fall into stock types like "the bully" or "the clownish fat boy" or "the malicious old lady", these stereotyped characters prove to have much more depth and dimension than usual, and their qualities and motivations are explainable in terms of their personal histories.
The sense of setting is nice, and there is a wealth of small-town period detail -- the reactions of family and friends when the twins finally bob their hair, the outings to see the latest Mary Pickford movie at the village picture-house -- that's especially interesting. And the basic premise -- isolated, misunderstood Janet, suddenly given a twin sister who promises constant love, understanding, and companionship -- is a fantasy that's especially appealing to the imagination of any lonely child.
The twins, who are thirteen or so in the first book, age as the series progresses and actually marry in book #7. Unlike many other older girls' series, however, marriage is not the culmination and climax of the whole series -- the Page twins continue to have adventures after marriage and the series continues for another six books.
The first five books have fallen into the public domain and I would like to put these all online, when I can get time. So far, I've completed only the two volumes...
Publisher and illustrator information is incomplete.
(1) JANET, A TWIN -- illustrated by Thelma Gooch. 1920, Barse & Hopkins. Grosset & Dunlap. Read it online!
(2) PHYLLIS, A TWIN -- illustrated by Thelma Gooch. 1920, Barse & Co.; Grosset & Dunlap. Read it online!
(3) THE TWINS IN THE WEST -- 1920, Barse & Hopkins. Grosset & Dunlap.
(4) THE TWINS IN THE SOUTH -- 1920, Barse & Hopkins. Grosset & Dunlap.
(5) THE TWINS' SUMMER VACATION -- illustrated by Thelma Gooch. 1921, Barse & Hopkins. Grosset & Dunlap.
(6) THE TWINS AND TOMMY JUNIOR -- illustrated by Thelma Gooch. 1922, Barse & Hopkins; Grosset & Dunlap
(7) THE TWINS AT HOME -- 1925, Barse & Hopkins. Grosset & Dunlap.
(8) THE TWINS' WEDDING -- illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn. 1926, Barse & Co. Grosset & Dunlap.
(9) THE TWINS ADVENTURING -- illustrated by Mary M. Ludlum. 1927, Barse & Hopkins. Grosset & Dunlap.
(10) THE TWINS AT CAMP -- illustrated by John M. Foster. 1928, Barse & Co. Grosset & Dunlap.
(11) THE TWINS ABROAD "The Twins and their husbands go on a tour of Italy, France and Britain." -- illustrated by John M. Foster. 1929, Barse. Grosset & Dunlap.
(12) THE TWINS A-VISITING -- illustrated by John M. Foster. 1930. Barse; Grosset & Dunlap.
(13) THE TWINS AND TIM
Advertisement in The Twins in the West, Dorothy Whitehill, ill. Thelma Gooch. Barse & Co. New York. 1920.
Advertisement inside wrapper of The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge, by Laura Lee Hope, Illustrated by ???. Grosset & Dunlap. New York. 1913