On July 2, 2015, I was delighted to share my research on Annie Fellows Johnston with Dawn Sardella-Ayres, a Ph.D. candidate in Children’s Literature from Homerton College of the University of Cambridge. Mrs. Sardella-Ayres’ thesis will focus on the role of place in the novels. Many Little Colonel fans (of the 1935 Shirley Temple movie as well as the set of children’s novels) will envy the day we spent guided by Donna Russell, owner of Edgewood in Pewee Valley, Kentucky. Our tour included the interior of The Beeches, the interior of Bemersyde, the Presbyterian Church, the interior of Edgewood and so many sites made real to Annie Fellows Johnston’s faithful readers. The Little Colonel books were wildly popular with children as early as 1895 and are still being reprinted today. Asked by the American Library Association to defend her novels as having “too much heart interest,” Johnston explained that boys with apples are hardly recognizable as suitors to young girls who have only had adult fiction and fairy tales from which to draw their impressions of courtship.
To learn more about Kentucky author Annie Fellows Johnston’s influence on children and adults worldwide, read “The Little Colonel: A Phenomenon in Popular Literary Culture” at http://works.bepress.com/sue_lynn_mcdaniel/3/ If you are a Little Colonel fan, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as my research is ongoing.