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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

Cherry Ames (Now) at Spencer

People of a certain age may recall reading tales of intrepid nurse Cherry Ames, a young woman from Illinois who travels the world in wartime as a nurse, then transitions into peace-time service. In her career, Cherry works in many situations, from nursing and veterans’ homes to department stores, jungles, cruise chips and dude ranches. Always plucky and resourceful, Cherry meets each challenge with humor, grace, and smarts.

Cover of Cherry Ames at Spencer, by Julie Tatham, 1949.

Cherry Ames at Spencer, 1949. Call number Children B2641. Click image to enlarge.

The Cherry Ames series (written mainly for an audience of young girls) was penned by two authors: first Helen Wells, then Julie Tatham, and finally Helen Wells again. The twenty-seven books (as well as annuals and many other spin-off products) were written between 1943 and 1968. At a time when there were not many viable career options for girls, Cherry provided a window into the exciting life of a working woman. Cherry traveled to exciting locales and met handsome doctors, yet her dedication to her patients always came first.

Cover of Cherry Ames: Flight Nurse, by Helen Wells, 1945.  Cover of Cherry Ames: Veterans' Nurse, by Helen Wells, 1946.

Left: Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse, 1945. Call number: Children B2643.
Right: Cherry Ames, Veterans’ Nurse, 1946. Call number: Children B2647. Click images to enlarge.

Cover of Cherry Ames: Chief Nurse, by Helen Wells, 1944.  Cover of Cherry Ames: Rest Home Nurse, by Julie Tatham.

Left: Cherry Ames, Chief Nurse, 1944. Call number: Children B2644.
Right: Cherry Ames, Rest Home Nurse, 1954. Call number: Children B2638. Click images to enlarge.

Spencer Library recently acquired a group of twelve Cherry Ames books. Given that Cherry Ames once worked at a place called Spencer (although in her case it was a hospital), we are sure she will feel right at home in ours. For more information on all things Cherry, see the Cherry Ames Page.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

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