Julie Campbell Tatham

Brief Biography

Julie Campbell Tatham

Born:  June 1, 1908, in Flushing, New York.

Family history:  Seventh of ten children; father and paternal grandfather were Army generals.

Childhood:  Traveled a lot and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, for five years.  She sold her first short story, at the age of eight, while living in Honolulu.  Graduated from the Finch School at the age of eighteen.

Married:  Charles Tatham Jr. on March 30, 1933.

Family:  Two sons and eight grandchildren.

Career:  Planned to attend the Columbia School of Journalism following her high school graduation in 1926 but took a job as the Assistant Society Editor at the New York Evening Post instead.  She left the newspaper in 1933, just before her marriage, but subsequently returned.  Eventually, she left again and worked as a secretary, model, saleswoman, business executive, a hotel hostess [manager], and in various promotion and publicity departments before opening her own literary agency.

It was in her capacity as a literary agent that she became involved in writing children's books.  She answered a call from Western Publishing to produce inexpensive mystery books for children, and the Trixie Belden and Ginny Gordon series were born.

Died:  July 7, 1999, in Alexandria, Virginia.


Hedblad, Alan (ed.).  Something About the Author:  Volume 80,  Farmington Hills, MI:  Thomson Gale Publishing, February 1995, pp. 229-232.

Keeline, James and Kimberlee. Trixie Belden 'Schoolgirl Shamus'.  Popular Culture Association National Conference, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, April 8-11, 1998.

Kelly, Ernie.  Meet the Author:  Julie Campbell Tatham.   The Yellowbook Library,  Volume 43, January 1988.  Republished as "Interview with Julie Campbell Tatham" in The Whispered Watchword:  The Newsletter of the Society of Phantom Friends, September 1996, pg. 27.

"The Author."  To Nick, From Jan, New York:  Coward-McCann, Inc., 1957, inside dustjacket.


On Writing:
"I plan a lot of my work ahead.  I plan the plots very carefully and then I divide the book into three sections and then divide the sections into chapters and do summaries for each one.  I always write my last chapters first and my first chapters last because you have to rewrite the first one a thousand times to get it right.  The last chapter is vital.  If there are any loose ends you better take care of them before you write the rest of the book."

On Plotting:
"I used to spend a lot of time reading newspapers and magazines, and I'd clip out little tidbits that might lead to plot ideas.  Eventually, I had enormous files with clippings that had the germ of a plot in them."

On Her Characters:
"Yes [my characters are taken from real life].  I'd think of someone who had a special type of disposition and meld him or her together with maybe two or three other people and there emerges a character who is new.  The character takes over and becomes a living human being.  Somehow, they exist.  Trixie Belden's kid brother, Bobby, was a combination of my kid brother and my younger son...I can talk about my characters without any sense of pride or egotism because to me they are real people.  They get involved in a plot I devise, and they make it come to life.  If you don't feel that way, then they are just stick figures."

On Juvenile Series:
"I had friends who tried to discourage me from writing them.  'Potboilers' they called them—written just to make a little money on the side.  But I didn't agree with them.  I put my heart and soul into those books.  I didn't write any less better than I did with other books.  I knew those books were going to sell for a long time, and nothing was going to stop them.  When I was writing those books, I made sure there was nothing dated in them, and that's why they're as popular today as they were thirty years ago."

On Nancy Drew:
"I wanted Trixie to be different from Nancy Drew.  I thought Nancy Drew books were poorly written and totally implausible."

From:  Kelly, Ernie, "Meet the Author:  Julie Campbell Tatham," The Yellowbook Library, #43, January 1988.  Republished as "Interview with Julie Campbell Tatham," The Whispered Watchword: The Newsletter of the Society of Phantom Friends, September 1996, pg. 27.


As Julie Campbell:

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion (#1 of 39, 1948)
Trixie Belden and the Red Trailer Mystery (#2, 1950)
Trixie Belden and the Gatehouse Mystery (#3, 1951)
Trixie Belden and the Mysterious Visitor (#4, 1954)
Trixie Belden and the Mystery off Glen Road (#5, 1956)
Trixie Belden and the Mystery in Arizona (#6, 1958)

Ginny Gordon and the Disappearing Candlesticks (#1 of 5, 1948)
Ginny Gordon and the Missing Heirloom (#2, 1950)
Ginny Gordon and the Mystery at the Old Barn (#3, 1951)
Ginny Gordon and the Lending Library (#4, 1954)
Ginny Gordon and the Broadcast Mystery (#5, 1956)

Rin Tin Tin's Rinty (1954)  is credited to Julie Campbell by Whitman Publishing, but she denied writing it.

 As Julie Tatham:

Cherry Ames, Cruise Nurse (credited as Helen Wells) (#9 of 27, 1948)
Cherry Ames At Spencer (#10, 1949)
Cherry Ames, Night Supervisor (#11, 1950)
Cherry Ames, Mountaineer Nurse (#12, 1951)
Cherry Ames, Clinic Nurse (#13, 1952)
Cherry Ames, Dude Ranch Nurse (#14, 1953)
Cherry Ames, Rest Home Nurse (#15, 1954)
Cherry Ames, Country Doctor's Nurse (#16, 1955)

Vicki Barr, The Mystery of Magnolia Manor (credited as Helen Wells) (#4 of 16, 1949)
Vicki Barr, The Clue of the Broken Blossom (#5, 1950)
Vicki Barr, Behind the White Veil (#6, 1951)
Vicki Barr, The Mystery of Hartwood House (#7, 1952)

As Julie Campbell Tatham:

The Mongrel of Merryway Farm (1952)

World Book of Dogs (1953)

To Nick from Jan (1957; revised edition, 1987)

The Old Testament Made Easy (1985)

As George Watson Little:

True Stories of Heroic Dogs (1951; contains a story about an Irish Wolfhound named Trixie)

As Jay Morris:

Mystery at Stony Cove (1955)

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Note: Trixie Belden® is a registered trademark of Random House Books. These pages are not affiliated with Random House Books in any way. These pages are not for profit.  Photo of Julie Campbell Tatham from "Trixie Belden 'Schoolgirl Shamus'" by James Keeline and used respectfully, albeit without permission.  Original source of photo unknown.  Many thanks to Colleen for helping me get my pseudonyms straight!

All graphics created by GSDana (except as noted) and may not be used without permission.