Dorita Fairlie Bruce.
I first remember seeing the name 'Dorita Fairlie Bruce' on a Dimsie title in my local library. At the time that I was devouring
everything from Enid Blyton's Famous Five, Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators to Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School books.
Now seeing the Dimsie titles on a fairly regular basis, I realized that I did not know anything about the author of the Dimsie books,
so here is a little of the information that I discovered:
Dorita Fairlie Bruce (or her full name Dorothy Morris Fairlie Bruce), was born in Spain on May 20th 1885, where her
father was working as a civil engineer. However, much of her early childhood was spent in Scotland. As with many writers, Dorita
showed promise from an early age - even winning a poetry competition when she was six years old.
In around 1895 the family moved to Ealing in London. Due to her parents spending much time abroad, Dorita was sent
to boarding school at Clarence House in Roehampton, but she spent many holidays with family members in Ayrshire, Scotland, or with
her aunt in Ealing.
The experiences and lifestyle that Dorita became accustomed to at Clarence House is obviously what would inspire
many of her different series of school stories for girls. The Dimsie series starts with Dimsie, aged 10, on her first day at
boarding school, and follows her throughout her schooldays into adult life. This is a change from some of the same genre of books
which focus just on the girls' school life.
Dorita's first novel (following some poems and short stories), was 'The Senior Prefect', published in 1921 which was later republished as 'Dimsie Goes to School'. In total there were nine titles in the Dimsie series. Another series is the 'Nancy' books, sometimes referred to as 'St. Bride's' or 'Maudsley' books. There are again nine titles in this series, eight of them featuring Nancy, a character we first meet in the Dimsie books. Many of the author's series of books are interconnected this way, through characters appearing in different titles across different series.
Throughout the Second World War, Dorita cared for her parents in Ealing. During her time in Ealing, Dorita also
dedicated time to one of her interests, the Girl's Guildry, and was Guardian of an Ealing Company. However, in 1949 she made a
permanent move to Scotland - an area that is reflected in many of her writings and where she appeared to move away from writing so
much for younger girls with tales of boarding school life. Instead her novels concentrated more on older characters in their late
teens and early twenties. Throughout her life, as well as writing stories for girls, she also wrote historical and other novels.
Dorita Fairlie Bruce died, in Scotland, in 1970.
Thinking back to the few Dimsie books that I read, in the late 1980's and early 1990's - it is amazing
to think that they were originally published around 60 years previously and were about a time that I really knew little about.
However, the likeable, but realistic characters in these books still made them appealing and enjoyable to me. This is I think
a testament to the author who wrote about what she knew well.
If you have never read a Dorita Fairlie Bruce title, please check our stock here and I hope you enjoy them, as I did.
Contributed by Joanne Hill.
A selection of Dorita Fairlie Bruce books in stock
NANCY IN THE SIXTHBruce, Dorita Fairlie. Illustrated by Johnston, M.D..
Stock no. 1309235
Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford. 1935. Very good condition with no wrapper. Cream cloth with black border lines and green swan design to front cover, black title to spine. Colour frontis. 288 pages. Spine and corners bumped, cloth ever so slightly grubby. Inscription in ink to front endpaper. Some foxing else contents clean. [R] Price: £24.00
THE BIG BOOK FOR GIRLSStrang, Mrs. Herbert & Bruce, Dorita Fairlie & Brent-Dyer, Elinor M. & et al,. Illustrated by Brock, C.E. & Lodge, Grace & et al.,.
Stock no. 1108280
Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford. Almost very good condition with no wrapper. Pictorial boards and spine showing girl with bunch of flowers entitled "Springtime". Colour plates. B/w illustrations. First story is "The Crimson Shawl" by Florence Bone. Bumping and wear to spine and corners. Frontis is detached. Bookplate to front endpaper. Some foxing. [R] Price: £15.00
THE BRITISH GIRL'S ANNUALOxenham, Elsie J. & Bruce, Dorita Fairlie & et al,. Illustrated by Various, .
Stock no. 1108274
Cassell & Company Ltd. Circa. 1921. Almost very good condition with no wrapper. Blue cloth, gilt titles. Pictorial onlay to front. 4 colour plates, b/w text illustrations. Contains a complete story of Tickles and the Talking Cave by Oxenham. D.F. Bruce story is 'Urgent Private Affairs'. Spine is faded, with some small splits to cloth at edges. Corners are bumped. Inscription in ink to front endapper. Some grubby margin marks and foxing. Couple of plates are detached and creased. [R] Price: £30.00
THE GOLDEN BOOK FOR GIRLSStrang, Mrs. Herbert & Tynan, Katharine & Blackmore, R.D. & Bruce, Dorita Fairlie & et al,. No illustrator listed.
Stock no. 1108268
Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. Circa. 1933. Good condition with no wrapper. Large format. Pictorial onlay to front cover. Colour frontis. D.F. Bruce story is 'Enid's Extreme Measures'. Bumping and wear to spine and corners, with chipping. Front endpaper is MISSING. Name and date in ink to belongs to page. Some foxing and page browning. [R] Price: £18.00
THE GREEN BOOK FOR GIRLSStrang, Mrs. Herbert & Brazil, Angela & Marchant, Bessie & Bruce, Dorita Fairlie & et al,. Illustrated by Campbell, John & Govey, Lilian A. & Brock, C.E. & et al.,.
Stock no. 1108229
Hodder & Stoughton, Henry Frowde. Circa. 1912. Almost very good condition with no wrapper. Large format. Green cloth with dark green title, floral decoration and small oval onlay to front cover. Gilt title block and onlay to spine. Colour plates. B/w text illustrations. First story is "The Magic Fish Bone" by Charles Dickens. Bumping and wear to spine, corners and cover edges. Some damp marks to covers. Foxing and browning to outer page edges. [R] Price: £14.00
THE BIG BOOK FOR GIRLSStrang, Mrs. Herbert & hayes, nancy & Bruce, Dorita Fairlie & et al,. Illustrated by Brock, C.E. & Rochester, Anne & Reeve, Mary Strange & et al.,.
View all current stock of Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Stock no. 1806837
Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford. Circa. 1931. Very good condition with no wrapper. Pictorial boards and spine, front shows "The Silver Lining". Colour plates and b/w text illustrations. First story is "That Ordinary Girl" by Hayes. Also includes two stories by D.F.Bruce: "Captain Betsy" and "The Secretary's Keys". Edges rubbed, corners lightly worn. Boards slightly bowed. Bookplate to front endpaper. A few instances of colouring of b/w illustrations. A few scattered foxspots. Hinges pulled but binding tight. [S] Price: £10.00