Campbell was born on the 1st of June 1908 in Flushing, New York and shares the
same birthday as her character, Mart Belden. As the daughter of an Army
Officer, she travelled widely during her childhood and, at the age of eight, won
her first short story contest while living in Hawaii.
Campbell married Charles Tatham Jr. on the 30th
March 1933 and they worked together on many magazine stories and articles.
Campbell lived in a remodelled farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley with her
husband and two sons when she began writing the Trixie Belden series.
She had her own literary agency in the 1940s when
Western Publishing invited literary agents to find authors who could produce
mystery and adventure books that would be marketed to children at an affordable
price. Campbell proposed four series, two that would be written by herself
and the others by two of her authors Hal Burton and John Henry Cutler.
Both series were published under her maiden name,
Julie Campbell. The Ginny Gordon series consisted of five books published
between 1948 and 1956, while her contribution to the Trixie Belden series
consisted of six books between 1948 and 1958. At the same time, Campbell
stepped in to take over the Cherry Ames and Vicki Barr series and wrote twelve
books in total for these series over the same time period. It is believed
that Campbell wrote Cherry Ames, Cruise Nurse in three weeks during the
same period she was also writing the first Trixie Belden and Ginny Gordon books.
Campbell wrote the series under her married name of Julie Tatham. There
are several similarities to the Trixie Belden series. Cherry Ames: Dude
Ranch Nurse is set in Tucson, Arizona which is the setting of Campbell's
last Trixie Belden Mystery. The last Cherry Ames book Campbell wrote in
1955, Cherry Ames: Country Doctor's Nurse, is set in
Sleepyside-on-the-Hudson, the setting of the Trixie Belden mysteries. So
is a wonderful book called To Nick from Jan,
which has many similarities to Trixie Belden except the main character is almost
17 year's old.
She is also credited for writing "Rin Tin Tin's Rinty"
for Whitman in 1954, but in an article I've read Campbell denies having written
that book and wonders why Whitman credited her with the title.
Trixie Belden series was set in "Sleepyside" but was based on the town
Campbell was living in at the time in the Hudson River Valley near
Ossining. Her home, "Wolf Hollow", was the model for Crabapple
Farm and Campbell actually lived on Glendale Road.
After completing Trixie Belden and the Mystery
in Arizona, Campbell decided to stop. Her experience as a literary
agent assisted her in negotiating a royalty on the next six books of the series
as she owned the characters, but it meant her giving up the originator rights to
this series. Western Publishing decided to continue the books under the
pseudonym, Kathryn Kenny.
Campbell also relinquished the Cherry Ames and
Vicki Barr series when Helen Wells decided to return to writing them. The Ginny Gordon series was not continued.
There is evidence that Campbell sought a writing
position with the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1957. Timothy P. O'Herin spent
an afternoon going through the Stratemeyer archives and found correspondence
between Campbell and Harriet Adams, the daughter of Edward Stratemeyer.
"The letters occurred around 1957 and they
consisted of Ms. Tatham seeking a writing position with the syndicate. Mrs.
Adams responded with glowing praise for her work, but questioning whether Julie
would want to relocate for the job. Julie indicated she would be willing to
commute. There were only a few letters in this brief correspondence, and
best of my knowledge no position was ever open to her at the syndicate. It
was a brief correspondence and I suspect Harriet had no position to offer and
was only being cordial in replying to her." - O'Herin,
The correspondence occurred at the same time
Campbell decided to stop writing for the various series she was involved in with
Whitman. Perhaps Campbell was disgruntled with Western Publishing or saw
more opportunity for success at Stratemeyer, but this is not clear.
Campbell is said to have written another book under
the pseudonym of Jay Morris. She was living in an apartment building
called Hunting Towers in Alexandria, Virginia until her death as a widow on the
7th of July, 1999 at the age of 91. Campbell was interviewed by the Washington
City Paper, pushing her grocery cart down the street, early in the year of
her death, about the building of new bridge that would mean the demolition of her
apartment building. Even at 91 she was still spirited and determined, just
Click here to view a full
list of books written by Julie Campbell Tatham.
Trixie Belden "Schoolgirl
Shamus" by James D. and Kimberlee Keeline
Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, 1959
And other sources as quoted found through Internet