Welcome to the Greater Mankato on the Move Mobile History Tour featuring the childhood home of beloved local author Maud Hart Lovelace.
Mankato is the place Maud Hart Lovelace portrayed so lovingly in her Betsy-Tacy books for children. She called the town Deep Valley, and she peopled it with the characters of her youth. The childhood adventures of three girls, Betsy, Tacy and Tib, have sparked the imagination of young readers everywhere since 1940.
Maud Hart Lovelace described the series thus:
“All of the Betsy-Tacy books are laid in Minnesota, most of them in Mankato, which I call Deep Valley. I often used Mankato street names but seldom gave them to the proper streets, which confuses visiting children now. Many, although not all, of the characters are based on real people. In making plots, I have invented freely but usually the invention sprang from fact, for in writing the high school books my diaries were extremely helpful. The Ray family is a true portrayal of the Hart family. Mr. Ray is like Tom Hart; Mrs. Ray like Stella Palmer Hart; Julia like Kathleen; Margaret like Helen, and Betsy is like me except that, of course, I glamorized her to make her a proper heroine. The family life, customs, jokes, traditions are all true and the general pattern of the years is also accurate…for example, Julia went to Europe just when Kathleen did, as well as having much the same adventures. The Uncle Keith in the books is based on my Uncle Frank.”
Lovelace wrote ten Betsy-Tacy books in all; inspired by the oft-repeated stories about her childhood that she told her daughter Merian at bedtime and made possible by her numerous diaries she kept throughout her life to remind her of all the details found in these stories. The first book was published in 1940. She wrote the books in a way that each addition to the series increases in reading difficulty, so the reader can grow up along with Betsy. The events of the books span from her childhood to the birth of her daughter, with the last book Betsy’s Wedding published in 1955.
To learn more about Maud’s Deep Valley, visit the Betsy-Tacy Society and the Blue Earth County Historical Society or visit your local library.