BACK IN PRINT!
Where to begin?
I discovered the children's writer Gladys Malvern as an adolescent, and absolutely loved her books. I had a passion for historical fiction at that time, and her novels ranged from Queen Esther to the 19th century. Malvern was amazingly popular and prolific (45 books I can find online), and yet her books have fallen out of print. Here's how lost she was: there wasn't any mention of her in Wikipedia!
I find this ridiculous (but then, I do acknowledge that my tastes in literature run towards the uncomplicated; and that's a rather unpopular "mode" at present).
Several years ago I stumbled across 3 of her books in an abandoned school library, snatched them up, and re-read them. They were much as I recalled, although a little more simplistic than I remember... but still, well-written, interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable. They are perfect for kids, especially girls and homeschoolers seeking historical fiction.
Gladys Malvern wrote almost 4 dozen books in her prolific career as a writer of Young Adult fiction and biography. She was born in New Jersey on July 17, 1897, though her roots were in Virginia and her ancestors include such historic American names as Lee, Rolfe, Randolph, and Custis. Her mother, Cora Malvern, worked as a wardrobe mistress for theater companies, and as Gladys writes in The Junior Book of Authors (1951) "...until I was twenty-one, home to me was anywhere--hotels, trains, boarding houses; for my sister, Corinne Malvern, and I were 'stage children.' When I stopped being a 'stage child,' I became what they called an ingenue, and then a leading lady. But by this time I had decided I didn't like wandering about, and I began to think how nice it would be to have a home like other people."
In the 1910s, the two sisters were working regularly in traveling vaudeville productions, as well as in the growing New York movie industry. But by the early 1920s, Gladys wrote that Corinne "had given up acting and gone in for art. So I finally gave up the stage, too, and thought I'd write for a living. That shows how optimistic I was. To write doesn't cost anything, but buying stamps to send out what I wrote had a way of adding up to money, because it hardly seemed I'd dropped the stories into the mailbox before there they were again!"
Gladys, now in advertising, Corinne, and their mother were living together in Los Angeles. "Advertising is a very good business. I liked it immensely and stuck with it for about twelve years. But after work, being very stubborn in this matter, I continued to write. And I wrote. And I wrote. Finally--oh, after I'd torn up any number of manuscripts--I sold a book... And somehow or other I began to feel encouraged. In fact, after I'd sold three novels, I felt so brave I gave up my advertising job. We sold the lamps and the easy chairs and most of the books, and came blithely to New York." The Malverns moved to New York sometime between 1934 and 1936, and Gladys settled down to writing, sharing an apartment with her sister Corinne overlooking the Hudson River. Corinne illustrated most of Gladys' books until her death in 1956. Gladys wrote in a variety of formats, including short stories, advertising copy and radio scripts, but was happiest when writing for young adults. She died in Weston, Connecticut on November 16, 1962.
As an out-of-print writer, her books are currently selling for ridiculous prices ($100-200 on certain titles), so it is my goal to do what I can to get her works republished. I have several tasks to fulfill as a result:
I need help; if any Malvern fans come across this site and have anything to contribute (photocopies, biographical information, etc.), I will be so grateful!
* copy on hand
Gladys Malvern on amazon.com
Gladys Malvern on Wikipedia
Corinne Malvern on Wikipedia
|Date last updated: 4/14/15|