The Little Colonel as she was around the time or the Little Colonel's Christmas Vacation"
Hattie Cochran, the real-life "Little Colonel" as a young lady, 1905
(The Little Colonel's Christmas Vacation)



Little Colonel

(Their First Web Site)

ShirleyTemple.jpg (5356 bytes)
Shirley Temple as
The Little Colonel


The Land of the Little Colonel, like "all Gaul," is divided into three parts. One lies in the State of Kentucky, one in the Country of Imagination, and one in the dear demesne of Memory.
--- Annie Fellows Johnston,
Land of the Little Colonel, 1929

The Little Colonel and Annie Fellows Johnston at Clovercroft, click to enlargeAnnie Fellows Johnston, a celebrated author of children's and juvenile fiction from the 1890's until her death in 1931, is best known for her "Little Colonel" series, a semi biographical opus of 13 novels dealing with the aristocracy of old Kentucky, particularly the story of a young girl, who came to be known as "The Little Colonel." Her works sold millions of copies, and were translated into over 40 languages, including Japanese.  

Annie first met "The Little Colonel"  in the early 1890s, a five year old child  whose bully mannerisms seemed to echo the military traits of her grandfather, a former confederate colonel.  This inspired a Annie to write the now classic tale first published in 1895.  Its popularity was such that soon another story followed, then another and another.  Johnston planned to complete the series several times, once after The Little Colonel's House Party, again after The Little Colonel's Knight Comes Riding.  Always, public demand compelled Johnston to continue.   The last work of the series, The Little Colonel Stories, Part 2, was published only a few months before her passing and over 35 years after the original Little Colonel story.  The fame of The Little Colonel peaked in 1935 with the film of the same name starring Shirley Temple & Lionel Barrymore.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, Annie Fellows Johnston began to pass into relative obscurity.  There has been little demand in the last few years for the romantic and sentimental wholesomeness portrayed in her works.  Modern critics often dismissed her as unimportant and too moralizing, not stopping to consider the tremendous impact she had on the shaping of young minds, and therefore the national mores of a century ago.  Furthermore, the the auto- and biographical nature of her works gives tremendous insight into the lifestyle and thought of the Victorian and post-Victorian era among the gentry of the American heartland.  There can be no doubt that Johnston's strong belief in education relayed in her novels, especially for women and girls, had a lasting and important influence for generations of young Americans. 


May!  The Locusts abloom in Lloydsboro Valley
The fragrant black locust, or robinia pseudoacacia has a normal bloom time early to mid May in Kentucky

Annie Fellows Johnston with Hattie Cochran, "The Little Colonel"

(Click image for enlargement)

Annie Fellows Johnston, a short biography

Books on-Line

Annie Fellows Johnston
Mrs. Annie Fellows Johnston
The Author

What's  New? (for regular visitors to this site, a listing of the most recent updates)

Winds nearly destroy the Little Colonel Playhouse
(storm of January 29, 2008 wreaks havoc on old Lloydsboro Valley)

The Little Colonel Books On-Line (click here for our summary)

Links to individual volumes of the Complete Original Little Colonel Books Series:
At the University of Pennsylvania Digital Library:
The Little Colonel
On this site,  and illustrated:
The Giant Scissors   (1898)
Two Little Knights of Kentucky  (1899)
The Little Colonel's House Party  (1900)
The Little Colonel's Holidays   (1901)
The Little Colonel's Hero 
The Little Colonel at Boarding-School 
The Little Colonel in Arizona
The Little Colonel's Christmas Vacation
The Little Colonel, Maid of Honor 
The Little Colonel's Knight Comes Riding 
Mary Ware, The Little Colonel's Chum  
Mary Ware in Texas
Mary Ware's Promised Land 

At Project Gutenberg, other Annie Fellows Johnston books:
Big Brother (1894 illustrated)
The Little Colonel (1895 illustrated)
The Story of Dago (1900 illustrated)
Ole Mammy's Torment (1897 illustrated)
Cicely, and Other Stories (1903 illustrated)
The Quilt that Jack Built (1904 illustrated)

Mildred's Inheritance
(1906 illustrated)
The Legend of the Bleeding Heart (1907 illustrated)
The Rescue of the Princess Winsome (1908 illustrated)
Georgina of the Rainbows (1918 illustrated)
The Story of the Red Cross (1918 illustrated)
Main link to Project Gutenberg:  
  and the Annie Fellows Johnston listings.
At Google Books:
Songs Ysame (1897) - one of the rarest of AFJ's works.

Lists of All Books by Annie Fellows Johnston
             There are more than just the Little Colonel books

A list of the holdings here at  (we think this may be nearly the complete list of Annie Fellows Johnston's books)
A list of the holdings at the University of Louisville Ekstrom Library (includes dates, call numbers, locations)

The Little Colonel as Literature

The Little Colonel: A Phenomenon in Popular Literary Culture  (1991) by Sue Lynn McDaniel  Special thanks to Willard Library, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society and Department of Library Special Collections for their permissions for the article to be added to Western Kentucky University's digital commons.

The People who became models for the characters of the Little Colonel stories:

The Places:

Map of Pewee Valley  in 1879 with Little Colonel Places highlighted
Driving Tour Map of Pewee Valley  (Aobe Acrobat .pdf file, prints to 11 x 17 paper)
Map of "Lloydsboro" Valley (Pewee Valley, KY) ca 1930, done by local residents to assist in the movie production...
     and its offshoot, the Little Colonel Board Game

Pewee Valley



  • The Cuckoo's Nest really Annie's childhood home (McCutchanville, Indiana in real life, though placed in rural Kentucky for the stories)



Other Places

Minor Places mentioned in the stories (from all around)


Letters from Annie Fellows Johnston and Mrs. "Walton"  never before published letters reveal more clues on the Little Colonel books.

Scrapbook (newspaper clippings, etc.)

Cooking with The Little Colonel

Guest Book

Subscribe to our mailing list

About (the web site and the people who helped to build it)





Hit Counter

Search WWW Search


original material & research © 1998-2007