The Jane Allen College Series is, not surprisingly, about Jane Allen's life at Wellington College.
Jane Allen of the Sub-Team introduces Jane, who is 16 at this point, her father, Henry, who is a wealthy (natch) Montana rancher, and her spinster Aunt Mary, who has moved in with them after the death of Jane's mother ("Dearest," aka Dorothy) when Jane was 12. Is there any greater predictor of mortality than being the parent of a series heroine? Apparently it was Jane's mother's dying wish that she be educated at Wellington Seminary, which is now Wellington College. Jane is a spoiled tomboy who HATES the idea of going east to school. HATES.
Jane has never had girl friends her own age and can't see the point of courting them. She's rude and stand-offish, with a terrible temper. I enjoy having an imperfect heroine, but Jane at this stage is pretty much unbearable. Of course, with the encouragement of her roommate Judy Stearns and other friends, she eventually becomes more pleasant and makes friends. For a series whose gimmick is basketball, it's not introduced at all until the sixteenth chapter and isn't really a focus of the plot, which suits me just fine. Anyway, with some strategic injuries, illnesses, and resignations, Jane eventually makes the main team and leads them to victory over the sophomores.
- "Once she was imprisoned in that hateful seminary she would die. Her father and Aunt Mary would be sorry. She pictured herself slowly dying of grief and homesick longing. Some day, soon after they sent her away, a telegram would come to El Capitan. Her father would open it and read, 'Come at once. Your daughter died last night.' Then, when it was too late, they'd understand. Jane wept afresh in sheer sorrow for her untimely end." I wish the whole book were as funny as this passage implies.
- Jane has a portrait of "Dearest," to whom she talks. Dearest is her inspiration to do good.
- Jane reads a book series, Beatrice Horton's _____ Year at Exley (First through Fourth years), on her way east. For the record, it doesn't really exist, but I'm entertained by the whole meta aspect.
- She meets the series enemy, Marian Seaton on the train east. Her main flunky is Maizie Gilbert, and while she has others, they eventually defect. Seriously, over the course of the series, Jane inspires more conversions than a messianic figure.
- She lives at Madison Hall, under the auspices of Mrs. Weatherbee. Mrs. Weatherbee messes up the room assignment, and she and Jane haven't resolved their differences by the end of this book.
- Friends and character traits: Judy (bizarrely absent-minded), Dorothy Martin (benevolent/saintly upperclassmen), Adrienne Dupree (elfin daughter of French dancer), and Norma Bennet (poor girl working her way through Wellington waiting tables at Madison Hall).
- In old books like this, girls have "crushes" on each other, not on boys. They also invite each other to dances. I know Clair Blank hadn't been to college when she wrote the Beverly Gray books, but I wonder who had the boys at dances bit correct.
- They have a Morris chair in their room.
- The Rutherford Inn is their off-campus gathering place.
- Jane is tall, with auburn hair, grey eyes, and a size 5A foot. This is my own coloring, which I've always thought was relatively uncommon, but which fits at least one character in about every series.
- The series does have some fashion descriptions, but I'm not a huge fan of 1910s style, honestly.