written by Marsha Qualey
Maud Hart in high school
Maud Hart Lovelace was born on April 25, 1892 in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the middle of three children born to Thomas and Stella (Palmer) Hart. Her sister Kathleen was three years older, and her sister Helen was six years younger. “That dear family" was the model for the fictional Ray family.

Maud’s birthplace was a small house on a hilly residential street several blocks above Mankato’s center business district. The street, Center Street, dead-ended at one of the town’s many hills. When Maud was a few months old the Hart family moved two blocks up the street to 333 Center. Shortly before Maud’s fifth birthday a “large merry Irish family" moved into the house directly across the street. Among its many children was a girl Maud’s age, Frances, nicknamed Bick, who was to be Maud’s best friend and the model for Tacy Kelly. Tib’s character was based on another playmate, Marjorie (Midge) Gerlach, who lived nearby in a large house designed by her architect father. Maud, Bick, and Midge became lifelong friends. Maud once stated that the three couldn’t have been closer if they’d been sisters.

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