Thursday, June 20, 2013


Six Decades of Harriet the Spy Covers

a. 1964
b. 1979
c. 1985
d. 1996
e. 2004
f. 2010 :(



93 Comments / Post A Comment

raised amongst catalogs

My copy is the one from 1979! Harriet, you are the reason I carried a notebook everywhere I went until I was at least 20. This seems like the right place to confess that I still occasionally throw on my "Harriet the Spy" outfit and feel superrrrrrrr cool. I also have a Fern Arable outfit.

Also, JIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Hope to meet you later this summer at a Michigan pinup.

fondue with cheddar

@raised amongst catalogs How is it that I never read Harriet the Spy when I was a kid? I had plenty of other "A Dell Yearling Book" titles but don't recall coming across any Harriet. Which is especially odd considering I was a big fan of Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew.

I guess this is where I confess that I thought HTS was nothing more than a TV show.


@raised amongst catalogs Mine was the 1985. PRE TRACHTENBERG. I just joined the Michigan Hairpin fb group let's get it poppin

raised amongst catalogs

@fondue with cheddar If I had a time machine, I would let you borrow it so that you could go back and read it when you were just a tiny chunk of cheddar.

raised amongst catalogs

@j-i-a Oh dear, will you all let me participate without being on Facebook? I promise I don't think I'm too good to Facebook but I just don't WAAAAAAAAAAAANT to.


@raised amongst catalogs Me too! Hello old buddy!

I fully tried looking in neighbor's windows and whatnot after I read that book. Turns out they are boring and largely not in the rooms with peerable windows.

Girl Named Jack

@OhMarie Me too me too! I loved it because I actually kind of looked like that when I was reading it. I always wanted to be the type of person to record everything in a notebook, but it turns out I am very lazy and never have a pencil.

fondue with cheddar

@raised amongst catalogs That's quite generous of you, thank you! Maybe we could solve mysteries together? When we get a time machine?

raised amongst catalogs

@fondue with cheddar Hey, any time. I'll start working on an outfit.

raised amongst catalogs

@OhMarie I've never gotten over my non-lecherous peeping tommery. At least 80% of my reasoning for taking long walks in the evening is for the joy of looking into windows. There is no way to make that sound uncreepy.

fondue with cheddar

@raised amongst catalogs Awesome! I'll come up with a spy team logo to draw on our notebooks.


@raised amongst catalogs I also still do this a little--my current excuse is that I live in a 1960s neighborhood where all of the houses are identical and I want to get inspiration for my place from what other people are doing. But that's only like 60% of it.

fondue with cheddar

@OhMarie Here's how I see it: if they don't want people looking in their windows, they should close their curtains/shades/blinds. People are naturally curious, and will tend to look unconsciously. If they leave them open they can't get upset at people for looking. You wouldn't walk around topless and then get upset at people for looking at your boobs, right?


@OhMarie After I read Harriet the Spy, I put together a little spy-kit belt and then wandered around the neighborhood, looking for people to spy upon. However, we had very few neighbors (my parents live out in the country), so I mostly ended up "spying" on the neighbors' horses and documenting their horsey behavior.


@rosaline That's amazing. Horsey behaviour! I left notes in my neighbour's mailboxes advertising my SPY SERVICES but my mom had me go take them back.


@raised amongst catalogs I totally do this, and because I was a picture framer for many years I often want to knock on the doors of houses with large blank walls and tell them to get some framed art.

Faintly Macabre

@raised amongst catalogs That is my favorite part of taking the Philly El all the way to the end at night. It goes right past so many windows!

Citizen Christy

Mine is the 1964. My mom was nine when the book came out and I still have her copy lying around somewhere. It was one of my favorite books as a kid. Still love it.


@Citizen Christy I have the 1964 version, too, because I bought it from the library book sale for 25¢ in 1990-something.

Lisa Frank

I still want to be Harriet when I grow up.

raised amongst catalogs

@Lisa Frank Let's discuss this over chocolate egg creams.

Girl Named Jack

@raised amongst catalogs I was so excited to taste my first egg cream. I was in high school by that point. It was... underwhelming. I mean, it was fine. Fine! But, you know, maybe eight years of waiting is too much anticipation for any beverage.

Lisa Frank

@raised amongst catalogs Egg Creams and Tomato sandwiches! Let's do it!

raised amongst catalogs

@Girl Named Jack I think that even though your rational mind knows better, and even though they're actually good, you never get over feeling betrayed by the non-eggy, non-creamy mouthfeel of an egg cream.


@Lisa Frank Once we hit August all I want to eat are tomato sandwiches. They are DELICIOUS.


@anachronistique The heirlooms are just in at Whole Foods -- I'm buying them by the armload for $6.99/pound, eating them as sandwiches and adding them to every damn thing I cook ... ohshatnerYES.




I never read Harriet the Spy, but I loved the movie.

The 1964 cover is cool. 2010 cover is sad.


I think I was too old when I read Harriet because I hated it and I thought she deserved every bad thing that happened to her. Too harsh?

Lily Rowan

@lobsterhug I re-read it last year, and man, that book is ROUGH. I don't know why I (or anyone) wanted to be Harriet!


@Lily Rowan The older I get, the way sadder Ole Golly's departure is. Like, heartbreaking sad.


@lobsterhug That's kind of the point.

The book is about childhood depression, and is a lot "heavier" than people think it is (I mean, I'm not denying the register of the "Spying is fun" theme - I definitely got way into that). I'm perpetually surprised it's such a warmly regarded classic because it is really pretty dark.


@Ellie Ok, now it makes a lot more sense. I just remember Mary Ann (?) from The Babysitters Club loving it and thinking it would be more fun spying and fewer paranoid delusions about her parents getting divorced.


@lobsterhug The book is about childhood depression, and is a lot "heavier" than people think it is

Oh, wow! I never realized, but that must be at least part of why I felt so attached to it (I definitely suffered depression from about 2nd or 3rd grade, if not earlier).

I loved the book a TON but had a bad experience with it when I was 11 and never read it again and blocked it from my memory quite a bit until recently. (Long, terrible story, but the crux is that I caught my mom's boss's young daughter fiddling with herself while reading the book, and holding the book right below her crotch with her knees up near her shoulders. It was SUPER gross and disturbing to me, and then when I was 13 I learned a LOT more disturbing things about the boss and how much of a shitstain he is, and now I can't help but associate Harriet the Spy with the lurid, horrible things I learned. There's a really awful parallel between how Harriet discovered things about her neighbors and what I learned, that was kind of started by seeing the girl with the book on the couch.)

BUT ANYWAY. I'm thinking of maybe trying to read the book again. It was so good, and the 1985 cover with the potted palm was so iconic! And it made living in NYC so exciting in the way other books didn't, for me in my suburban Florida neighborhood.


I read the 1985 copy! What even is the 2010 one? HARRIET DOESN'T HAVE AN iPHONE.


@cosmia I had 1985, too! …or, I did, until I read it so many times that the cover actually fell off. Scotch tape was useless.

And 2010 needs to stop. I mean, this seems like the kind of story that didn't actually need to be revamped.


@iwearaFEZnow That is exactly what happened to mine. Exactly. I ended up rubber-banding it, I think.

I wish I knew where it was; I desperately need to re-read it now!

Eliza Wharton

Yesterday when I order my sandwich from the deli, the gentlemen forgot the cheese and so I had just lettuce and tomato on a roll. Fine by me! I told myself it was Harriet inspired and it was delicious.


1964 = RIGHT.


Tell me they didn't change the illustrations in the text itself, because I WILL FIND THEM AND CUT THEM. (The changers, not the illustrations.)


@C_Webb Yep. Mine is the 1964 version, and I got all my ideas about New York from it.

Lily Rowan

@C_Webb Yeah, original illustrations or GTFO.



Harriet would have bitten anyone who put her hair in pigtails. A "cute" Harriet is a crime against childhood, and Louise Fitzhugh.


@C_Webb Hey, I've got this one, from somewhere between 1964 and 1979, and it is still all flavors of right. Original illustrations FTW.



(Anyone?? I was just telling a friend I needed to hunt it down because it is a great summer/comfort read)

Li'l Sebastian

@PennyCentury Right!! I always felt like the way that everyone's personalities shifted in the summer was so true to my experience with how fast some kids can change who they are in different contexts. Brb interlibrary loaning the Long Secret right now.

Lily Rowan

@PennyCentury Loved! And yeah, I should re-read! ..off to the library website.


@PennyCentury The scene where Harriet and her mom watch the crazy society dinner party at the inn is one of the funniest things I've ever read, with the crazy tea party in "Sport" as a close second.

"ZEENEY!" screamed Bunny.
"BUNNY!" screamed Zeeney. They rushed at each other like two gladiators. As Bunny was about to collide, Zeeney put out a stiff arm and he fell against her hand as though he'd walked into a parking meter.


@Li'l Sebastian YAY ME TOO. Additionally as a Midwesterner I still in my heart of hearts would want to have a clambake SO BAD.


@C_Webb I just remember really distinctly, and now finding hilarious, the page where Beth Ellen says "I'm menstruating!" and Harriet hangs up on her.

Lisa Frank

@PennyCentury Also: SPORT.

raised amongst catalogs

@PennyCentury I just snorted at that (the Beth Ellen thing, I mean).



But before hanging up, I believe she says "how come you're doing that and I'm not?" which is the most excellent of unanswerable questions.


@PennyCentury I read that one first, so I actually never liked Harriet all that much. Which is silly because I was the bossy friend in every childhood friendship I ever had, but I really sympathized with Beth Ellen.


@PennyCentury I just read that for the first time this year, and it's so great. So great! (I was definitely more of a Beth Ellen than a Harriet, except my mother was a hippie and didn't leave me with my rich grandma.)

Betsy Murgatroyd

@PennyCentury The Mama Jenkins/Jessie Mae bible scene is the one part that stuck with me over the years. Now I need to go read this book again. It's been too many years.


@sophia_h Oh man, that would be crazy! I just remember finding it when I was like eleven and realizing Beth Ellen was like, a real person and how I totally had friends like that, who were only "summer" friends. But yeah. Also Janie totally kills it in this book.


I had the 1985 version, and I like the 1964 version best, and I remember being SUPER excited to see the 1996 Nickelodeon movie on the orange VHS tape.

But MAN, the 2010 movie looks like a huge bummer.


@peasofmind huUUUUUUUUUUUUUge

fondue with cheddar

@peasofmind I haven't seen anything about it. What is it about the 2010 that makes it look like a huge bummer? Aside from the fact that the girls are more sexualized.


@fondue with cheddar The 2010 "Harriet" is smirking, posing, and appearance-conscious. The Harriet in the book is psychologically younger, more androgynous, socially clueless. She's deadly earnest and kind of grumpy, and just nothing like the 2010 version.

fondue with cheddar

@veryanonymous So...just like pretty much every other depiction of girls in TV and movies today. :(


My mom got me the 1985 version as a kid and I never read it until after I saw the Trachtenberg movie and to be honest I don't think I finished it. I don't remember really enjoying it. And now when I think back to the movie, I mix Harriet up with Trachtenberg's character on Pete and Pete in my head.


Mine was from 1985, apparently the last edition before Harriet sold out (rather, whoever owns the copyright sold out). Harriet is the reason I wanted to be a child psychologist when I was 10. And now I'm feelin' the itch to get an MSW - maybe I should re-read as a re-evaluate.


"Grandma Grandma! Tell us what you did in the blog wars!"


How did I end up with both the 1964 and 1985 versions, as a 1986 baby?

The 2010 one makes Harriet look like a proto-Mean Girl :(


I don't remember ANY of those covers, weirdly.

I do remember going to see the Trachtenberg movie and thinking it was kind of blah - but loving the cartoon before it about a weird kid with a football-shaped head and the mean girl who was secretly in love with him.


Damn, you aren't kidding about the 2010 version being :(


Saw the 1996 film, it was sad but I did fall in love with wee Gregory Smith dancing to James Brown dressed as a chicken leg. I also started hiding in the playhouse in our living room and transcribing what I heard...it was always less exciting than I hoped. I think I checked the 1985 edition out from the library but 1964 is lovely! Reminds me my copies of E. L. Konigsburg's books.


I have b from '79. Got it from Goodwill for like 50 cents. I was fascinated even though I don't remember liking Harriet very much. Still have it, but it's falling apart now.

Can someone PLEASE let me know if you can see this comment? I've been having trouble for like two weeks. *weeps into the void*


@mnemo I SEE YOU.


@C_Webb THANK YOU. May the wind gently caress your hair into a stylish pompadour this day.


I never had my own copy of the book. However my library had the 1964 and 1985 versions. I thought they were different books for a long time.

Also, after sharing "Harriet the Spy" with my favorite kid in the world she started calling herself L___ J. Spy. Would sign her homework papers like that and everything. Even now, as a soon to be high school freshman, she uses it. Love.

Cat named Virtute

HOMEGIRL REPRESENT. I just reread this in February when I was going through a bit of a dark time, along with both sequels. It is still just as dark and angry and funny and wonderful. Such a perfect read when you feel like you've fallen from grace.

Cat named Virtute

@Cat named Virtute Also, my library has the first edition of both Harriet the Spy (the hardcover version of the paperback I had growing up) but also of The Long Secret, which has a fantastic cover.


1996 version represent! I, too, joined the legion of girls who started carrying around one of those black and white memo notebooks and ached for a cool toolbelt like Harriet's.

Now I feel like rereading it but I'm getting slightly discouraged by these comments?

Cat named Virtute

@metermaid I would say reread it when you're having a tough time. I felt so much empathy for Harriet as an adult and it allowed me to afford a little for myself too. Yeah, she gets herself into trouble, but it's because she's trying so hard to both understand and subvert her world.

Cat named Virtute

It is this one here: http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1339951879l/9809453.jpg

ALSO did you guys know that Louise Fitzhugh was queer? I read a really fabulous article that did a queer reading of HTS and Harriet's Otherness. I'll see if I can dig it up if anyone's interested.


@Cat named Virtute si, porfa!


@Cat named Virtute I AM I AM ME ME ME

Cat named Virtute

@Cat named Virtute UNFORTUNATELY I can only find the citation right now, but for any of y'all with university library privileges, it is this one here: http://uwinnipeg.worldcat.org/title/too-realistic-and-too-distorted-the-attack-on-louise-fitzhughs-harriet-the-spy-and-the-gaze-of-the-queer-child/oclc/210801391&referer=brief_results


@Cat named Virtute Here is a lovely article by KT Horning about growing up queer in the 60s with the help of Harriet and the Boy in the Purple Socks, no privileges required!

Betsy Murgatroyd

None of these illustrations looked right to me. Upon Googling, I was reminded it was the very Rockwellian, bent over Harriet peering through the fence that looked similar to original hand drawn Harriet. It was definitely somewhere between 64 and 79. I must have read this and The Long Secret at least 20 times.

Lisa Frank

@Betsy Murgatroyd Yes! I definitely read the version with that cover too! Which always confused me because Harriet lived in New York City which has very few white picket fences.

honey cowl

I had the 1985 but I remember literally nothing about this book (and many books) (yes I was an English major whatever). Should I reread?


@honey cowl ME TOO! I remember I loved it at the time (2nd grade? 3rd?) but I really can't remember anything else.


I borrowed the 1964 version from my elementary school's library!


I had the 1979 version and it was not in great shape. What a great, great book.

happy go lucky scamp

I never had a copy of any of them, but I read the 1996 cover one at the doctors surgery. I was there often enough to finish it.
Between Harriet the Spy, and the Famous Five series I had wild delusions about what adults did in their spare time.


Ugh, there's a rebooted Harriet the Spy series, which Louise Fitzhugh's estate approved, and it is apparently beyond dreck. They make Harriet "kooky."

I remember my friend and I reading the book and really wanting to hide in her dumbwaiter. I think her mom warned us the ropes were really old and we'd likely fall to our deaths.


<<<< 1964!


Real instructive and fantastic structure of written content vigrx results

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account