March 23, 2011

The exciting adventures of Cherry Ames, mystery solving WW2 nurse

Day 82 of Vintage 365


All right vintage lovin' gals, hands up if you read Nancy Drew detective stories as a youngster? (*Enthusiastically thrusts hand in the air*) Now, hands up if you read Cherry Ames stories?

While perhaps not as famous as Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames was another beloved fictional female youth who broke onto the literary scene in the mid-20th century. Written by Helen Wells and Julie Campbell Tatham (each authored different books as opposed to collaborating on a story together),the myriad novels these ladies penned chronicled Cherry’s exciting adventures, and were favourites of mine as a youngster.

Though both Nancy’s and Cherry's tales were ones centered around mysteries, Cherry (whose full name was Charity) was a young nurse (the first two books in the 27 title series cover her time spent in nursing school) who held nursing positions in a variety of places, always ready and able to solve any strange conundrum that befell said medical establishments.

Though Cherry Ames books were written until 1968, they began during the war-torn year of 1943, and thus many of this bright and ambitious young nurse's first escapades deal with the world war that was in full force at the time. While these days few would raise an eyebrow at the idea of a female character in a girls' storybook series being a go-getter of a career woman, back when Cherry burst on the scene such fictional characters were relatively few and far between.

Cherry Ames' stories always struck me as being a bit more mature (though still entirely child-friendly in every sense) than Nancy Drew. It was fun to run around the house pretending to claw through cobweb covered attics and find clues in old clocks alla Nancy, but Cherry was a character I felt more like I wanted to emulate when I grew up. She was as much a role model to me as a girl in the (comparatively progressive) 80s and 90s, as she'd been for those in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.

Whether you spent your youth thumbing through Cherry's tales or are just hearing about her for the first time today, you can quickly add a serious dose of vintage medical mystery charm to your (and/or your child's) bookshelf with the immensely lovely boxed sets of Cherry Ames books that I just discovered this week on Amazon.

Though recently manufactured, these delightfully lovely stories have been packaged with their original vintage cover art, and come housed in elegant boxed set holders that makes it instantly easy to place anywhere you'd like around the house.

A great place to start off your Cherry Ames collection is with the boxed set above, which contains the first four stories in this entertaining series. Comprised of a quartet of hardcover books, this wonderfully old school looking Cherry Ames boxed set is quite a steal at $26.37.

Whether you'd like to help Cherry solve exciting medical detective stories yourself or think you know a budding youngster with their eye towards becoming a nurse or doctor, these absorbing mystery novels are a seriously fun way to lose yourself in a great vintage book.


  1. Oh my goodness, how wonderful!
    Im always looking for nurse bits and pieces :)


  2. Great find, Jessica. I have been a romance writer for over a decade and it is always so interesting to me how the 'medical romance' has endured for so long.

  3. I discovered Cherry Ames books in a box in my cousin's bedroom many years ago. I agree that the character and stories were more mature than Nancy Drew, likely a result of the wartime and medical settings. I've recently been rebuilding my collection. It's wonderful to revisit them. :)

  4. I bought a Cherry Ames book at a vintage store a while ago but haven't gotten around to reading it. It was only a couple dollars and the cover was too cute to resist!

  5. I LOVED Cherry Ames. My mom had one or 2 copies that I read, and re-read, and re-read. I devoured what the library had as well. Good idea to revisit them...hadn't thought of them in awhile!

  6. Hi Jessica! Wow - being a nurse, I absolutely love these books!!!! TFS!

  7. Anybody for Trixie Belden? I got a bunch of her books from my grandmother's attic--she was a younger, more tomboyish and rambunctious Nancy Drew. I absolutely loved her when I was younger, where Nancy Drew never really resonated.

    Had never heard of Cherry Ames though--going to track her down!

  8. I LOVE these books!! They bring back fond memories of my younger years. I have several Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and a couple of Trixie Belden. The latter seem harder to find for some reason. I know I have a Cherry Ames around somewhere! I'll have to try and track it down...

  9. I never heard of Cherry Ames before your post, but you can bet I'm going to look into her.

    Thanks for sharing about her!!