Early School Stories

Early School Stories

The bibliography below lists in chronological order books up to 1876, an arbitrary but convenient date to stop, as there are no authors so far discovered who wrote school stories both before and after that date. From 1877 onwards, authors are given individual entries. Titles with asterisks after them are at least partly set in school, but are actually compilations of tales or instructive material. Where the title is marked 'Short stories', this implies a collection of tales of which one or more is set in a girls’ school. The dates are not, as with the individual entries, bracketed if the date is not given in the book; and little reliance should be placed on the accuracy of the dates provided for many of these early volumes, as they were often acquired by the British Library or the Bodleian (where the majority have been inspected) many years after their first publication, and may bear the dates of accession rather than publication.

In some cases, the books were published anonymously or with authors’ initials; where the author is known from subsequent research, the book is listed under that name.

It should be emphasised that the list below is only the books which have been discovered so far; it is certain that there are many lurking on the shelves of the great libraries waiting to be tracked down.


Fielding, Sarah, The Governess*, Andrew Millar (1749)

de Beaumont, Mme Jeanne-Marie le Prince, Magasin des Enfans (1756); trans. into English as The Young Misses Magazine* (1757)

Beaumont, Mme Jeanne-Marie le Prince de, Magasin des Adolescentes (1759); trans. into English as The Young Ladies Magazine* (1760)

‘C. Allen’, The Polite Lady; or, A Course of Female Education advisory letters à la Lord Chesterfield*, John Newbury (1760)

Johnson, Richard, The Little Female Orators; or,Nine Evenings Entertainment* (1770)

Anonymous, Moral and Instructive Tales for the Improvement of Young Ladies (short stories), John Marshall (c.1785)

Anonymous, The Governess; or, the Boarding School Dissected (play), London (1785)

Fenn, Eleanor, Lady, The Juvenile Tatler: By a society of young ladies under the tuition of Mrs Teachwell*, John Marshall (1789)

Kilner, Dorothy, Anecdotes of a Boarding School; or, An antidote to the vices of those stablishments*, John Marshall (1790)

Edgeworth, Maria, ‘The Bracelets’: from The Parent’s Assistant (short stories), London (1796)

Anonymous, The Governess; or, evening amusements at a boarding school*, Newbury (1800)

Lamb, Mary and Charles, Mrs Leicester’s School; or, the History of several Young Ladies, Related by Themselves*, William Godwin (1809)

‘A.Kent’, York House, or Conversations in a Ladies’School; principally founded on facts; by Domina, Williams & Sons (1813)

Hofland, Mrs, Ellen the Teacher, Griffith & Farrar (1814)

Taylor, Mrs [Ann] and Taylor, Jane, Correspondence between a Mother and her Daughter at School, Taylor and Hessey (1817)

Sandham, Elizabeth, The Schoolfellows, J.Souter (1818)*

Hughes (or Hughs) ‘late Robson’, Mary, The Rebellious School-Girl, Wm. Darton (1821)

—N.B. The Two Schools (1835) is not a school story, despite its title

Anonymous, The Boarding School; or, Familiar conversations between a Governess and her Pupils, written for the amusement and instruction of Young Ladies, London (1823)

Dymond, Edith, Eight Evenings at School*, Harvey & Darton (1823)

Dove, Elizabeth Ann, Tales for My Pupils (short stories), J. Souter (1823)

Anonymous, Elizabeth Ann, School for Sisters; or,the Lesson of Experience, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown (1823)

Rankin, Emily Elizabeth, Ellen Cameron: a Tale for Youth, Baldwin and Cradock (1829)

Hall, Mrs S.C., Chronicles of a School Room, Cottons & Barnard (1830)

Gilbert, Mrs A., Sketches from a Youthful Circle, Darton & Harvey (1834)

Sherwood (Mary Martha Butt), Mrs, The Broken Hyacinth; or, Ellen’s School Days, Oliphant, Anderson & Ferner: date of first publication not known, but US publication 1832

Caroline Mordaunt; or, The Governess, London (c.1835)

Percy, Clara, The Changeling of Fortune; a sketch from real life, W. Cole (1836)

Leckie, Elizabeth  The Village School; a story for girls of twelve years old, H. & J. Pillars, Edinburgh (1836)

M’Crindell, Rachel, The Schoolgirl in France, Seeley & Burnside (1840)

Anonymous, Helen’s Schooldays (c.1840) Not seen

Anonymous, The English Governess, a tale of real life, W.H. Dalton (1844)

Corner, Julia, Girls in their Teens; or, Tales for Young Ladies. Containing: Always Too Late;and, The Boarding School, Dean & Munday (c.1845)

Anonymous, The Convent; a narrative, founded on fact, Aylott & Jones (1848)

Anonymous, Hartfield: or, Emily at School, RTS (1848): a sequel to Emily Grey (RTS, 1847) – not a school story, and reprinted in 1881 as Emily Grey’s New Home

Loudon, Agnes, Tales of School Life (1850)

Anonymous, Bessy Graham: or, a Peep at the Heart. A story for children. By the author of “Home Life”, “Rosa’s Childhood,” etc. RTS (1853). Republished as Anonymous, Bessie Graham’s School Days. RTS (1912)

Old Humphrey, Lessons Worth Learning for Girls (short stories), RTS (c. 1853)

Worboise, Emma Jane, Grace Hamilton’s Schooldays, R.E. King (1856)

Anonymous, Ruth and her Friends: a story for girls, Digby Long & Co. (1857)

Hall, A.M., The Governess; a tale, Chambers (1858)

Oliphaunt, Mrs, Agnes Hopetoun’s Schools & Holiday, Macmillan (1859)

Sewell, Elizabeth, Laneton Parsonage (part school); 1848

Anonymous, Harriette Browne’s Schooldays (possibly autobiographical?), Saunders, Otley & Co. (1859). Could be earlier.

Fitton, Sarah Mary, How I Became a Governess, Griffith & Farran (1861)

Anonymous, Home and School; or, The Neglected Child, Routledge, Warne & Routledge (1863)

Packer, Mrs Harriet, Agatha, or, Sketches of School Life in England and France, Rivington (1865)

Anonymous, Little Pansy, Oliphants (1864); Little Violet (a very slightly rewritten version of above), RTS (1866)

Betham-Edwards, Miss M., Abby and her Schoolfellows, James Hogg (c.1866)

De Jongh, Anna Inez and Emmeline, or, The Adopted Sister: a tale for the Young, Routledge,(1867)

Buckland, Anna Jane, Lily and Nannie at School: A Story for Little Girls, Tubbs & Book (1868)

Anonymous, Ruth and Rose ‘by E.R.’, Griffith & Farran (1870)

Norris, Emilia Marryat, Theodora, Griffith & Farran (1870)

Dixon, Edith, and de Morgan, Mary Augusta, Six by Two: Stories of Old Schoolfellows, Virtue & Co (London) (1873). Republished as The French Girl at Our School and Other Stories, Virtue & Co (1887)

Gray, Annie: Ailie Stuart: a story of school life, National Sunday School Union (1873)

Hering, Jeanie, Golden Days (autobiographical), Cassell, Petter & Galpin (1873)

Meeke, Mary, Madeline Clifford’s School Life, E. Marlborough & Co. (1873)

Yonge, Charlotte M., The Pillars of the House (part school), Macmillan (1873)

Comyn, L.N., Christian Elliott; or, Mrs Danvers’ Prize, Griffith & Farran (1874)

Searle, Edis, Maggie’s Mistake; a Schoolgirl’s Story, Seeley, Jackson & Halliday (1874)

Ewing, Mrs, Six to Sixteen (small part school, 1875)

Gray, Louisa M., Ada and Gerty: a Story of School Life, Stepping Heavenwards Hand in Hand (1875)

Geary, P., Elsie’s Victory, untraced (1876)

Paull, Mrs Henry H.B., The Greatest is Charity, Jarrold (1872): 8 novellas connected by the theme of charity, most published separately by Jarrold in 1876. The two relevant stories here are The Concert Programme, published as School-day Memories; or,‘Charity Envieth Not’, and Alice Maitland’s Trial, which doesn’t seem to have been published separately (at least, it doesn’t appear in any of the copyright libraries’ catalogues).

Mabel’s Schooldays, Jarrold (1872). Illus. ‘R & E Taylor’