Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Helen Wells  

Pen Name: Francine Lewis


Born: March 29, 1910 in Danville, Illinois

Died: February 10, 1986 in New York City

-- The Cherry Ames Website --
-- Wikipedia --
-- Helen Wells on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

*Born in Danville, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Helen Wells is best known for the Cherry Ames series, which was published in numerous countries besides the United States, including Canada, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Japan, France, Italy, Holland, and Bolivia. But Wells wrote two other series. Under her own name, she wrote the Vicki Barr books, about a young mystery-solving flight attendant--like Cherry Ames and Helen Wells herself, another Illinois-to-New York transplant. And, as Francine Lewis, she penned the short-lived Polly French series, published by Whitman in the early 1950s: Polly French of Whitford High, Polly French Takes Charge, and Polly French and the Surprising Stranger; these books, about a young teenager, are aimed at a younger readership.Among her other books for young people were several so-called Career-Romances for Young Moderns--novels that featured a young woman pursuing a career, published by Julian Messner: The Girl in the White Coat (1953), A Flair for People (1955), Introducing Patti Lewis, Home Economist (1956), and Doctor Betty (1969). Wells also wrote Escape by Night: A Story of the Underground Railway (1953), a "Winston Adventure Book" for young people, based on a true story; and A City for Jean (1956), a novel about a young social worker, for Funk & Wagnalls; and Adam Gimbel, Pioneer Trader (1955) and Barnum, Showman of America (1957) for McKay.Helen Wells died in New York City on February 10, 1986, and is buried in Danville, Illinois. The 1986 Juvenile Series Writers Conference in Corning, New York, was dedicated to her memory.(Information courtesy of: The Cherry Ames Page - see below)

Selected Titles At Your Library

A new literary history of America
ISBN: 9781782683575. OCLC Number: 841495267

Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,. .

A New Literary History of America contains essays on topics from the first conception of a New World in the sixteenth century to the latest re-envisioning of that world in cartoons, television, science fiction, and hip hop. Literature, music, film, art, history, science, philosophy, political rhetoriccultural creations of every kind appear in relation to each other, and to the time and place that give them shape.