Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Helen Wells  

Pen Name: Francine Lewis

Genre:

Born: March 29, 1910 in Danville, Illinois

Died: February 10, 1986 in New York City


-- The Cherry Ames Website -- http://www.netwrx1.net/CherryAmes/helenwells.html
-- Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_Ames
-- Helen Wells on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=helen+wells


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)


Published Works

    In additiion to the following, Helen Wells wrote 22 Cherry Ames Series books; 11 Vicki Barr Series; and 4 Polly French Series under the pseudonym of Francine Lewis.
  • The Girl in the White Coat, Messner, 1953
  • Escape By Night, A Story of the Underground Railroad, Winston, 1953
  • A Flair for People, Messner, 1955
  • Adam Gimbel, Pioneer Trader, McKay, 1955
  • Introducing Patti Lewis, Home Economist, Messner, 1956
  • A City for Jean, Funk, 1956
  • Barnum, Showman of America, McKay, 1957


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