The Nurse Cherry Ames series encompasses 27 books, which were published from 1943 to 1968. Helen Wells wrote 19 of them and Julie Tatham wrote eight. The books included several annuals, though these were only published in theUKand a board game. They were originally published by Grosset & Dunlap; the first novel was reprinted by the Palm Healthcare Foundation, to raise money for nursing scholarships. Several of the books have been recently republished by the Springer Publishing Company in boxed sets with four books in each set.

The Cherry Ames series was intended to encourage girls to take up nursing during the Second World War. The first few books chronicle her training in a big teaching hospital and detailed the work of the cadet scholarships that gave free nursing training in exchange for a commitment to war work. They were not always concerned with the glamour of being sent to foreign countries, but also included homilies on the importance of those who stayed behind, to dig victory gardens, wind bandages and take part in the rehabilitation of maimed servicemen. There was glory, the books said, even for those girls who stayed in the US to fill the gaps in hospitals and district nursing.

The books were published with dark green covers and the first 22 had brightly coloured jackets and the later books had pictorial covers, and were also published in paperback. Some editions had yellow jackets, some had green. In the UK, the books were published by World Distributors and had dark red covers with coloured dust jackets, but not until the 1950’s. Spelling and punctuation were changed to the British style. One books, “Cherry Ames Veteran’s Nurse” was renamed “Cherry Ames Soldier’s Nurse”. The “Cherry Ames’ Book of First Aid and Home Nursing” was published in the UKwith the last chapter being rewritten to reflect British nurse training. The Cherry Ames annuals were only published in the UK. Each annual included two original Cherry Ames stories, written by Helen Wells. they also included stories written by other authors, of brave girl sleuths and articles on notable women. Other countries had their own translated versions of the novels, with local artists providing the cover art. The books had several illustrators whose work decorated the dust jackets and frontispieces. They were Ralph Crosby Smith, Frank Vaughn, “GB”, and others as yet unknown. Various editions also had different artists.

CherryAmes (real name Charity) went to New York to become a nurse at the Spencer teaching Hospital. Her twin brother Charlie intended to study engineering, but ends up as a pilot during the Second World War. Cherry herself has adventures in the war, as she becomes an army nurse, stationed in thePacificIslandsand then inEngland. She works hard and is a most successful nurse, also solving one or two mysteries along the way. She is dedicated, resourceful and brave, with a lively sense of humour that gets her through a lot of tough times.

Cherry’s dedication means that she has little time for romance, though she has several boyfriends and even receives an occasional proposal. Inspired by the doctor who delivered her and Charlie, Dr. Joseph Fortune, all she wants is to devote her life to medicine. In the early books, she works to bring Dr Fortune’s discoveries to the notice of the most learned men. As a district nurse, she tries to quash superstition and ignorance. Sometimes there are mysteries and puzzles to solve. Such as, the mystery of the secret patient in “Student Nurse” or the strange new weapon in “Chief Nurse”.

Cherry is a heroine for wartime America. She is described as being “slender and healthy and well built; she moved with a proud erect posture that made her seem beautifully tall and slim. Her eyes and her short curly hair were very dark, almost black — the clear-cut black that glistens. Groomed to crisp perfection, Cherry was as vivid as a poster in the new wool sports suit. And her face fairly sparkled with warmth and humour.” Cherry’s cheeks glow as red as her name, which gets her into trouble with crusty old Doctor Wylie, who refuses to believe that she is not wearing rouge.

Cherry soon gathers a group of girls around her, also dedicated to nursing and to enjoying life. These girls follow her through much of her career, though some fade away due to marriage or move to other areas. But Cherry’s girls are always popping up in one adventure or another.

The Authors: Helen Wells was born in 1910 in Illinois, USA, and lived in New York for much of her life. She was a social-worker and won several short-story competitions. During the Second World War, she was a volunteer with the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs where she escorted Latin American visitors. She traveled widely during her life. As well as the Cherry Ames series, she wrote several career novels for girls. She also wrote the “Vicki Barr” novels, about a young flight-attendant who also solves mysteries. She gave up writing both series for a time to concentrate on writing for TV and radio, but came back to them. She died in 1986 and is buried in Illinois.

Julie Campbell Tatham was born inNew York, in 1908, into a military family. She intended to be a journalist but became a society editor. She married and became the head of a literary agency after several other jobs. She wrote the “Trixie Beldon” and “Ginny Gordon” novels as Julie Campbell. She took over the “Cherry Ames” and “Vicki Barr” series for a while, before giving them back to Helen Wells. During her time as Cherry Ames writer, she changed the focus of the books to Cherry’s sleuthing activities and gave her a different boyfriend in each new novel. She also wrote books on Christian Science for adults. She died in 1999.

The Cherry Ames Books

 Student Nurse (1943) Helen Wells

Senior Nurse (1944) Helen Wells
Army Nurse (1944) Helen Wells
Chief Nurse (1944) Helen Wells
Flight Nurse (1945) Helen Wells
Veterans’ Nurse (1946) Helen Wells
Private Duty Nurse (1946) Helen Wells
Visiting Nurse (1947) Helen Wells
Cruise Nurse (1948) Julie Tatham (Credited to Helen Wells)
At Spencer (1949) Julie Tatham
Night Supervisor (1950) Julie Tatham
Mountaineer Nurse (1951) Julie Tatham
Clinic Nurse (1952) Julie Tatham
Dude Ranch Nurse (1953) Julie Tatham
Rest Home Nurse (1954) Julie Tatham
Country Doctor’s Nurse (1955) Julie Tatham
Boarding School Nurse (1955) Helen Wells
Department Store Nurse (1956) Helen Wells
Camp Nurse: The Clue of the Faceless Criminal (1957) Helen Wells
At Hilton Hospital: The Case of the Forgetful Patient (1959) Helen Wells
Island Nurse: Mystery of Rogue’s Cave (1960) Helen Wells
Rural Nurse: The Case of the Dangerous Remedy (1961) Helen Wells
Staff Nurse (1962) Helen Wells
Companion Nurse (1964) Helen Wells
Jungle Nurse (1965) Helen Wells
The Mystery in the Doctor’s Office (1966) Helen Wells
Ski Nurse Mystery (1968) Helen Wells

Book of First Aid and Home Nursing


(these were only published in the UK)

Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1957
Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1958
Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1959
Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1960
Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1961
Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1962
Cherry Ames Girls Annual 1963
CherryAmes Girls Annual 1964