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Publication History

There have been numerous editions of Betsy-Tacy. In the 1970’s the first paperback editions were published with the Lenski cover art. The books went out of print in the 1980’s. The Betsy-Tacy Society was founded in 1990 and the members held a letter writing campaign that convinced Harper Collins to reissue the first four books and eventually, all thirteen. The new cover art was done by Diane Goode but the Lenski illustrations inside were kept. There was a hardcover and library binding version of that edition. In 2000 HarperCollins released another edition, in paperback only, with a keyhole cover and the reproduction of a painting done of two girl models. (See the page “cover art” for images of all the editions.) This edition is still available. It is interesting to note that editor Jennifer Hart of HarperCollins, a fan of the books, arranged for a new edition of six of the later books with new covers based on the original Vera NevilleĀ  covers. Betsy-Tacy enthusiasts had complained about the new covers and felt that sales had been hurt by them. Perhaps there will soon be a new edition that uses the original Lenski covers.

The first edition of Betsy-Tacy had more than 30 printings in hardcover. Later printings of the first edition were of smaller books without the illustrated endpapers. Paperback copies were printed in the 1970’s of the first six titles. Betsy-Tacy was rereleased in paperback in 1993 and 2001 with new cover art each time. Betsy-Tacy is still in print.

The author of this website was able to see some of the royalty information that the author had collected while working with the documents in Greenwich Village. Unfortunately, there was not time to do thorough research. According to Elizabeth Riley, Lovelace’s editor, Maud Hart Lovelace did not become rich as author of the Betsy-Tacy books, but she earned enough in royalties to live a comfortable life. She and her husband retired to Claremont, California. Since Maud’s daughter Merian passed away in 1997, the Maud Hart Lovelace/ Merian Lovelace Kirschner estate has collected the royalties. Andrea Shaw, executor of the estate, said in 2006 that the amount totaled $120,000 and some would be used to have the author’s manuscripts digitized.

Other types of promotion: Two life-sized dolls of Betsy as a bride taveled around the U.S. with Maud to book signing in 1955 to advertise the publication of Betsy’s Wedding. Esther Hautzig, assistant to editor Elizabeth Riley, planned the promotional tour. (See The Critical Evaluative Essay page for more information.)

Film: The date of this quotation from an article in the New York Times sheds some light on this issue: ” The rather rabid devotees of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books have been daydreaming on the Internet about who should be cast in the films of the recently optioned novels” (Ellen Pall, APril 14, 1996). The movie has yet to be made, even though another film maker was making preparations about five years ago (Maud-L listserv). The film and merchandising rights for the Betsy-Tacy books are owned by Alison Golden. Several projects to create pilots for a television series have fallen through.

Music: CDs of the music described in later books have been produced to order, but not commercially.

Stage:Heidi Grosch played Maud Hart Lovelace at the Minnesota Historical Society History Center in 1996 (Betsy-Tacy Society Journal, n. 22, spring/summer 1996, p. 9-10).

Translations: Betsy-Tacy has never been translated into another language but the four high school books (sequels) were translated into Japanese in the 1950’s.

Sequels

Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Over the Big Hill: A Betsy-Tacy Story

Downtown: A Betsy-Tacy Story

Heaven to Betsy

Betsy in Spite of Herself

Betsy Was a Junior

Betsy and Joe

Betsy and the Great World

Betsy’s Wedding

Three satellite titles; Betsy appears in all three:

Carney’s House Party

Emily of Deep Valley

Winona’s Pony Cart

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