Lyons, Dorothy

Dorothy Lyons graduated from the University of Michigan, and worked for the American Red Cross before writing full time, and breeding Connemara ponies. She is one of those authors whom you are surprised no American publisher has thought of re-issuing. Dorothy Lyons received greater critical acclaim for her works during the 1940s and 1950s, but all her works are sought after. Like Marguerite Henry, she covered many different disciplines, but unlike her, the disciplines she covered weren’t ones that would necessarily read easily elsewhere. Several of her books are about equine events which simply don’t happen in the UK. Harlequin Hullabaloo, for example, is about Saddlebred five-gaited showing. The practice of breaking a horse’s tail, which is part of preparing a Saddlebred for showing, means this book is controversial, and would be highly unlikely to read well in the UK, where docking, the only thing nearly equivalent, has been illegal for years. All her other books, though, such as Bright Wampum, which is about stock and rodeo, are much more accessible, and well worth seeking out.

This is not particularly easy for the UK reader. Only two of her books had UK publications, and they were about racing (Copper Kahn) and Western Pleasure (Golden Sovereign).

Connie McGuire series
Silver Birch
Midnight Moon
Golden Sovereign
Copper Kahn

Java Jive
Smoke Rings

Finding the books
Unfortunately for the collector, many of her books are difficult and expensive to find, with the Wesley Dennis illustrated editions often more expensive than the first editions. Most of her titles only ever made one appearance and even as ex-library editions, are very, very hard to source. Some titles (Dark Sunshine, Blue Smoke and Golden Sovereign) did appear in paperback, and are therefore easy to find, as are the two Famous Horse printings. The British printings (Copper Khan and Golden Sovereign) are very difficult indeed to find.

Links and sources
There is some information on Dorothy Lyons here, with biographical information and cover shots.
Dustjackets of the books
Terri A Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibilography, Scarecrow Press, 1987
Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau for all her help with this section.