Ponies, ponies, ponies
Jane McIlvaine McClary
Jane McIlvaine McClary was born in Pittsburgh, and moved when she was seven to Middleburg, Virginia. There she went to a one-
She also wrote several horse books for children. Those best known in the UK are the Cammie books (although only the first two made it into print here). Unlike British pony authors, Jane McIlvaine introduced romance into her books.
Michael Korda, in his book Four Legs and Flies, about his adult infatuation with the Horse, wrote about visiting Jane. The visit is described here by Penelope Green, who reviewed the book for the New York Times.
“... deep in the 1960s, Korda makes a pilgrimage to Middleburg, Va, ''perhaps the horsiest place in America.'' He's there to deliver a sidesaddle to one of his authors, a horsewoman named Jane McIlvaine McClary, whose novel A Portion for Foxes became a sensation as ''a kind of Gone With the Win' of fox hunting,'' as he describes it. Laboring under the misunderstanding that Korda is some sort of Pancho Villa in the saddle, his hostess leads him on a whiskey-
McIlvaine worked on the Times Herald and Fortune magazine as a writer. She married Robinson McIlvaine, and they moved to Downingtown, where they bought the Archive newspaper. She and her husband did pretty much everything on the paper, and she chronicled their time there in It Happens Every Thursday, which was later turned into a film, starring Loretta Young as Jane.
Finding the books: Cammie’s Challenge and A Portion for Foxes books are easy to find in the UK. With the exception of Cammie’s Choice and Cammie’s Cousin, all of the other books are easy to find either here or in America.
Links and sources
Dustjacket of Cintra’s Challenge
New York Times
Amazon review of It Happens Every Thursday
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibilography, Scarecrow Press, 1987
Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau for providing virtually all the photographs in this section.
The Cammie Series
Macrae Smith, Philadelphia, 1951, illus Paul Brown
Republished as Blue Ribbon Romance
Berkley Highland Books, pb, 1951, 1959
Copper likes the big black horse when he arrives at Mr Wainwright’s stable. This is just as well,
as Copper is the only one who can ride him.
MacRae Smith Co, 1955
Willow Books, 1970, pb
Cintra helps her family run Shelbourne Hall. Guests Gary Townsend and Sheila
Baker arrive, and Cintra finds she likes Gary just as much as Sheila does.
Collins, London, 1964, not illustrated
Collins Seagull, 1968
Cammie is given a horse, Sabrina but as well as dealing
with her horse, also has to deal with growing up.
Collins, London, 1963
Collins, London, Seagull edition
Cammie has a rather disastrous time on the Courtneys’ Shetland pony Jason, but is then
introduced to Missy Devereux and the Pony Club, where Cammie learns to ride hunters, and
Cammie visits Ireland with the Courtneys, and is asked at the last minute to show a pony at the
Dublin Horse Show.
Front Page for Jennifer
MacCrae Smith, Philadelphia, 1950
It Happens Every Thursday
MacCrae Smith, Philadelphia, 1951
The Sea Sprite
MacCrae Smith, Philadelphia, 1952
Stardust for Jennifer
MacCrae Smith, Philadelphia, 1956
To Win the Hunt: A Virginia Foxhunter in Ireland
Barre, Massachusetts, 1966
The Will to Win: the True Story of Tommy Smith and Jay Trump
Doubleday, New York, 1966
Maggie Royal (a novel)
Simon & Schuster, 1981
A Portion for Foxes
Simon & Schuster, 1972
Popular Library paperback, 1972
New England Library, London, 1974