Archive for 'The Mary Frances 100th Anniversay Collection'

Mary Frances here. The year 1912 was such a year! As you know, this is The Mary Frances Books 100th Anniversary website, and there are many other events that share this centennial anniversary year with me. I’ll blog about more of them as the year goes on, but this week is the anniversary of the great ship Titanic’s voyage of April 10-15, 1912. I was just a young girl, but I remember it well. When the ship sank, it was all over the newspapers, and it was all Aunt Maria, Mother and Father talked about for days. It was so sad. A few years later, a little song was written about it. Billy (pictured below) sang it at Boy Scout Camp and I sang it with my Campfire Girls. Linda Wright, the editor of The Mary Frances Books 100th Anniversary Editions, even remembers singing The Titanic song at Girl Scout camp in the 1960s. Here’s how it goes:

The Titanic

When they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue
They thought they had a ship that the water wouldn’t go through
But the good Lord raised his hand that the ship would never land
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Oh it was sad (so sad), so sad (so sad)
It was sad when the great ship went down
To the bottom of the sea..eee…eee….eee
(Husbands lost their wives, little children lost their lives)
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Looking back, I can see noteworthy elements in my 100th Anniversary books that are significant to the Titanic. The Mary Frances Cook Book, written in 1912, has a number of recipes that were on the menu of the Titanic. These were popular foods of the time, so it was fitting for them to be in my cook book. They may not sound fancy by today’s standards, but Jacket-Boiled Potatoes, Lamb Chops, Baked Apples, and Custard Pudding were indeed popular delights at the time.

The Mary Frances Sewing Book
, written in 1913, is full of authentic doll clothes patterns from the Titanic fashion period. This was a time when young girls primarily wore dresses. Our dresses covered our knees and the waistline was placed low. For school, many styles were influenced by sailor suits. We also wore jumpers over a blouse called a “guimpe”.  Pleats were common on our party dresses, and we wore bloomers for play. If you’d like to make clothing for your 21st century American Girl® dolls with historical patterns, The Mary Frances Sewing Book 100th Anniversary Edition is a treasure trove. And if you like to dress your modern dolls with a vintage twist, this is a great go-to for patterns.

I love the way the memory of the Titanic is being honored this week with Memorial Cruises. Those who lost their lives are gone, but they have never been forgotten.

Mary Frances here. My fourth book, The Mary Frances Garden Book, never would have come about without my rooster, Feather Flop, or my older brother, Billy. I was outside sitting on the garden bench one day looking at a seed catalog and I couldn’t understand a thing. I was so frustrated—I even muttered something out loud. I was by myself, so imagine my surprise when a voice answered back! Of all things, it was Feather Flop! He told me that I shouldn’t expect to understand gardening without being taught.

Billy had taken a “Home Gardening Course” at the gardening school from Miss Gardener, and Father gave Billy a section of our yard to practice what he learned. It all seemed so exciting that I wanted a garden, too! Billy suggested that I plant a garden around my play house, and I thought that was a splendid idea…except I had no idea how to get started. Feather Flop offered to help and started to work right away by scratching and digging with his feet! Billy also offered to help…and that is how my adventure among the garden people began.

Feather Flop


It was amazing how much Billy knew about gardening. Miss Gardener sure teaches a thorough class! I hope I can take it someday, but Billy taught me so much, and you will learn everything I learned by reading The Mary Frances Garden Book! It’s almost too much for me to remember, so I treasure this book. I can go back to it again and again if I find I’ve forgotten something. One thing I learned for sure is that there is a lot to know about gardening! Even Billy says it seems the more he studies gardening, the more there is to learn!

The Mary Frances Garden Book 100th Anniversary Edition is the 21st century version of my book. It is so beautiful with a pink cover, fresh typesetting and pictures that look better than ever. It even has directions to make your own gardening apron which is a good thing to have because gardening is dirty work! I can’t believe it’s been a hundred years since I planted my first garden–but time flies! I know you will love the new edition of my book as much as I do. Flowers make me so happy and fresh vegetables from the garden are the best!

The Mary Frances Garden Book 100th Anniversary Edition at


Click the book cover to read more about this book at!

Mary Frances here. My books had become so worn and dingy. I was getting embarrassed about their condition — broken bindings, soiled covers and missing pages. I’d even become a bit afraid to handle them for fear they’d fall completely apart! Even though Mother Doll taught me how to properly care for books in The Mary Frances Housekeeper, 100 years is a long time in the life of a book and they have been showing their age.

The original Mary Frances Books, 1912 – 1921


I hear they fetch some handsome prices on eBay from antique book collectors…but they are really too fragile to be used as they were intended. So…I’m delighted to announce the publication of my new 100th Anniversary Editions! They’ve been restored…expanded…and updated to be just right for the 21st century! You can see them on the Home page. I love the new brightly colored covers! The Mary Frances 100th Anniversary Editions are relevant and ready to be loved and used by the children of the world today. They make me feel like dancing!
(Note.–The Mary Frances 100th Anniversary Editions are available at



Mary Frances here. I’m so excited to be on the internet! My friends and I have been cooped up in The Mary Frances Books for 100 years, and now to think we have our very own website! As my Aunt Maria would say, “For Land’s Sake!” I know I’ve had more adventures than the average girl. How many children have been lucky enough to have fairy helpers teach them such useful and fun and interesting things as cooking and sewing and gardening and housekeeping and knitting and crocheting…things that you see grown-ups do…and wished you could do too? If I hadn’t been there myself, I’d hardly believe it could happen the way it did. In my upcoming posts, I’ll tell you a little bit about each of my books…and my very special friends.