Modern girls’ series books evolved in part from the genre of “girls’ stories” that became popular in the nineteenth century, especially Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women and her other books featuring young female heroines.
The first series books for children were the Rollo stories written by Jacob Abbott first published in 1835. Jacob Abbott’s subsequent Lucy series was the first girls’ series. The short, inexpensive dime novels of the nineteenth century were another antecedent of girls’ series books as were the many series adventure books by Oliver Optic and the “rags to riches” stories of Horatio Alger.
Many of the popular girls’ series books of the nineteenth century featured domestic or religious themes and include the Little Prudy, Elsie Dinsmore, and Five Little Peppers series.