Oxenham Non-Connectors

Non-Connectors are titles by Elsie J. Oxenham that do not connect into her main Abbey Series.

Dustjacket from Dorothy's Dilemma

There are four of these series, they have no connections with each other, or with any of EJO's other books. They are shown below in best reading order (which does not always accord with publication order) except for the Scottish Sequence (see Notes 3 & 4):

The Deb SeriesEdit

code Title Date Publisher Illustrator
D1 Deb at School 1929 Chambers Nina K. Brisley
D2 Deb of Sea House 1931 Chambers Nina K. Brisley
D3 Deb Leads the Dormitory[1] 1993 Woodfield Audrey Lee

Deb at School was first published as a 12-part serial 'St. Margaret's' in the magazine Schooldays Weekly from November 1928 until January 1929. It explores the relationship between Deb, a new girl at St. Margaret's School in Sussex, and Chloe, a senior to whom she gives admiration. Chloe is not worthy of the 'crush' – although other juniors have also fallen under her spell – and lets Deb down very badly. But Deb forgives her and she is redeemed at the end. Deb of Sea House brings in two much younger juniors, who themselves have a crush on Deb. How she deals with this, and comes to realise, through the head girl, Selina, that the admiration of juniors for seniors can be beneficial if the influence is used for good purposes, provides the main theme for this title. In Deb Leads the Dormitory, Deb herself becomes dormitory prefect, and has to help Chloe with a young cousin, Claudia, who has just joined the school knowing nothing of Chloe's shady past. This title did not find a publisher in Oxenham's lifetime, but was published by her niece in 1993.

The Jinty SeriesEdit

code Title Date Publisher Illustrator
J1 The Tuckshop Girl 1916 Chambers H Earnshaw
J2 The Reformation of Jinty 1933 Chambers Rene Cloke
J3 Jinty's Patrol 1934 Newnes not credited
J4 A Divided Patrol[2] 1992 Woodfield 'Ros'

In this series Oxenham picks up threads from a story she had published sixteen years earlier. Tuckshop Girl tells how Jinty arrives at a school in the western suburbs of London from the Scottish Highlands. Her catastrophic introduction is redeemed by her good intentions, and Prue, the 'tuckshop girl' of the title, helps her to integrate into the school. Later titles bring Jinty herself more to the fore, and Prue is kept in the background, though the final title gives a satisfactory end to her story. It is probable that Oxenham was being pressed by publishers for more 'schoolgirl' type stories, and took a schoolgirl character from an earlier book and tried to develop her story and character. Reformation of Jinty and Jinty's Patrol were published at about the same time that Oxenham was developing characters from her Abbey Series into adulthood, whereas her publishers were looking to sell to a younger audience. Divided Patrol did not find a publisher in Oxenham's lifetime, but was published by her niece in 1992.

The Scottish SequenceEdit

code Title Date Publisher Illustrator
Sc1 Goblin Island 1907 Collins g[3] Heath Robinson
Sc2 A Princess in Tatters 1908 Collins Frank Adams
Sc3 A Holiday Queen 1910 Collins T. J. Overnell
Sc4 Schoolgirls and Scouts 1914 Collins Arthur Dixon
Sc5 Finding her Family[4] 1915 S.P.C.K. W. S. Stacey
Sc6 Twins of Castle Charming[5] 1920 Swarthmore Press none

Of the six titles in this series, four are set largely in Scotland: Goblin Island is set on 'Loch Avie', a fictionalised Loch Lomond; Princess in Tatters is set on 'Loch Ruel', which may be Loch Fyne; A Holiday Queen is set at 'Morven' on what appears to be Loch Long; and Schoolgirls and Scouts is set at 'Glenleny', which also seems to be on Loch Long, but a bit further up the loch. Twins of Castle Charming – perhaps Oxenham's rarest title – is set largely in Switzerland, whereas Finding Her Family has some early scenes set in Ealing and mainly takes place in Saltburn. The connections between these titles is rather tenuous, there being no single character or place that appears in all six. Jill Colquhoun from Goblin Island reappears in Twins of Castle Charming and Schoolgirls and Scouts. Eilidh the 'Princess' from Princess in Tatters also appears in Schoolgirls and Scouts and plays an important role in Twins of Castle Charming. Larry Avery appears in both Princess and Twins. Lexa Stewart is the main character of Holiday Queen and reappears briefly in Schoolgirls and Scouts. Monica Howard has an important role in Holiday Queen and reappears in both Schoolgirls and Finding her Family. Melany and Blanche Merrill are the main characters in Twins of Castle Charming and reappear as minor characters in Schoolgirls and Scouts. Elspeth Buchanan is the main character of Schoolgirls and Scouts, which tells of her feud and reconciliation with Mysie and Madge Campbell. The school – never named, but its headmistress is Miss Johnson – which is the setting for the first chapters of both Schoolgirls and Twins, has among its pupils Jill, Melany, Monica and Elspeth, and later Jill's sister Sheila, introduced in Goblin Island, and Mysie and Madge from Schoolgirls.

 
Dustjacket from At School with the Roundheads

Isolated TitlesEdit

(listed in order of publication)

code Title Date Publisher Illustrator
Is1 The Conquest of Christina 1909 Collins G. B. Foyster
Is2 Rosaly's New School 1913 Chambers e[6] T. J. Overnell
Is3 At School with the Roundheads 1915 Chambers H. Earnshaw
Is4 Expelled From School 1919 Collins Victor Prost
Is5 The Girls of Gwynfa 1924 Warne Nina K. Brisley
Is6 Dorothy's Dilemma 1930 Chambers Nina K. Brisley
Is7 Sylvia of Sarn 1937 Warne not credited

Conquest of Christina, Girls of Gwynfa and Sylvia of Sarn are set in Wales, a favourite holiday destination for the Dunkerley family.[7] Rosaly's New School is set in Goathland, Yorkshire, and At School with the Roundheads set at 'Redburn', an amalgam of Saltburn and Redcar. Expelled from School is set in Switzerland and Dorothy's Dilemma in Sussex, both favourite settings which Oxenham used frequently.[8]

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ In the early 1990s, Elsie J. Oxenham's niece discovered some unpublished manuscripts among her aunt's papers. Two of these were published shortly afterwards, as they continued series in which earlier titles had appeared during Oxenham's lifetime. This was the second title to be published (see note to J4).
  2. ^ This title was the first to be published of the manuscripts found with EJO's papers (see note to D3).
  3. ^ The letter 'g' in the publication box indicates that this title was republished in paperback by Girls Gone By Publishers
  4. ^ Finding Her Family is not set in Scotland, but includes the character Monica Howard, who also appears in Sc3 and Sc4.
  5. ^ Twins of Castle Charming comes between Sc3 and Sc4 in terms of series chronology, so is probably best read in that place rather than after the other titles. It is not set in Scotland, but largely in Switzerland. Characters from the preceding titles appear in various scenes during the book, and events from it are recalled by characters in Sc4.
  6. ^ The letter 'e' in the publication box indicates that this title was republished in paperback by the EJO Society/Abbey Chronicle
  7. ^ Oxenham's real name was Dunkerley, see Elsie J. Oxenham for more information on her family.
  8. ^ see Oxenham's Swiss Set and her Sussex Set and Woody Dean Set as well as several titles in the main Abbey Series which were set at least partly in these two places.

See also The Elsie J. Oxenham Society/Abbey Chronicle web site, which has extra notes on how the series fit together.