The ten books of this series chronicle the adventures of a number of youngsters in and around the White Mountain village of Franconia. Humorous and moralistic, these tales were extremely popular in the mid and late nineteenth century.  Now, of course, these stories, despite their gentle nature and wonderfully amusing tales, are mostly forgotten like the rest of Abbott's works.

Some early ads noted that the series was "complete in five volumes". Probably because the popularity of the 1850 publications was so great, the series was lengthened to ten books.

This series was published in four different formats by Harper and Brothers. A late 1923 omnibus type book was published by G. P. Putnams' Sons in 1923.

The books: Copyright
1. Malleville 1850
2. Wallace 1850
3. Mary Erskine 1850
4. Mary Bell 1850
5. Beechnut 1850
6. Rodolphus 1852
7. Ellen Linn 1852
8. Stuvyesant 1853
9. Caroline 1853
10. Agnes 1853

Harper and Brothers

First Edition/Format 1 (Books #1-5)

The first five titles were all copyrighted in 1850. These books are blind stamped with gold gilt lettering on the spine. The first edition of books #1-5 note 82 Cliff Street as the Harper and Brothers address on the title page.  This basic book format remained the same for all ten books. Later 1850's books have Franklin Square as the Harper address on the title page. 

Unfortunately dating the early format 1 editions of this series can be very difficult. All of the earliest (<1852) editions note the Cliff Street address on the title page. Some have back ads that advertise Abbott's Illustrated Histories listing to Josephine.  (Some post-1852 books are in the Illustrated Histories list- their publications were anticipated). A variant book format has no ads. 

At the present time I am unable to distinguish between these two early editions. 

1852 Copyrighted First Edition Books (Rodolphus and Ellen Linn)
By 1852 all the books had the Franklin Square address on the title page. The first edition of the 1852 books has back ads that list five Franconia books as the "complete" set. They were priced at 50 cents each. These books also listed Abbott's Histories to Cleopatra (1851 book). In these ads the Harper Pearl Street address is given. There is a variant of the 1852 titles that has no ads. It cannot be dated.

The first editions of the 1853 Franconia books have no ads, the Franklin Square address and a list of all ten books in the front of the book.

All the Harper first format books are 6.75 x 4.5.

(Early title page of the first editions of the first five books has the address 82 Cliff Street as seen below.)

Title page as of 1852 shows the Franklin Square address:

1852 back ads

The approximate dates of the later reprints can be determined by looking at the back ads and finding the dates of the listed books' publications.

Some examples:
Heat by Jacob Abbott was first published in 1871
Harper Story Books Vol. 12 published as three volumes in one in 1857

Combination books

Beechnut/ Rodolphus
Mary Erskine/ Mary Bell
Ellen Linn/ Stuvyesent

The second and third formats of the Harper editions were published in these combination books. They were sold at that time as boxed sets as well as individual volumes. The first mention of the two books in one appeared in the 1888 Harper catalogue. The boxed set directly below cost $7.50. This book is 6.75 x 4.75.

Format #2

Format #3

The third Harper & Brothers edition was copyrighted in 1878. It was not published however until sometime thereafter. This book was not published until at least 1888. When it was published the ten books were combined into 5 volumes. This set cost $5.00 The book is 6.75 x 4.75

Format #4

Harper's Young People's Series was a multi-authored series of children's/juvenile book reprints first published in the late nineteenth century and published with various titles into the 1920's. The ten Franconia volumes were added to the series in 1903. These two covers have been seen in numerous colors and have been used for other titles in the series. Appreciate that although the books of the Harper's Young People's Series have been seen in many different covers, the ten Franconia books were only published with these two covers.

Format #5 G. P. Putnam's Sons

An edited edition of the Franconia stories was published in 1923 by G. P. Putnam's Sons. This volume was edited by Margaret Armstrong and illustrated by Helen Maitland Armstrong. This large 8.25 x 6 books was published with a dust jacket (shown below). It has 321 pages and consists of a number of abridged stories from the original Franconia books.

Beechnut Excerpt

In 1905 E. V. Lucas edited a book with illustrations by F. D. Bedford published by Wells Gardner Darton and Co. Limited called "Old Fashioned Tales for the Young". This book contained nineteen stories mainly for the nursery written by 19th century children's authors. One story is an abridged version of "Embellishment" by Jacob Abbott. This tale was previously written as Chapter VI in the Franconia Series book Beechnut.