THE BETSY-TACY SOCIETY
Tour the Betsy-Tacy Society Houses!
The Betsy-Tacy Society (BTS) was established in April 1990 by a small group of Mankato women whose goals were to promote awareness of the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace (which at that time were mostly out of print) and to preserve the local homes and landmarks the author so lovingly depicted. That group evolved into a nonprofit organization that today boasts more than 700 members.
The rallying cry of Betsy-Tacy fans is, “I thought I was the only one!” The not-well-known but deeply beloved series follows the adventures of Betsy Ray (based closely on author Maud Hart Lovelace) and her friends and family—in particular, bashful redheaded Tacy, who lives across the street. The first book, “Betsy-Tacy,” begins in 1897 on the eve of Betsy’s fifth birthday; “Betsy’s Wedding,” the final book in the series, ends in 1917 as the U.S. prepares to enter World War I. Together, Betsy and Tacy share the difficulties and joys of growing up, go on countless adventures—both real and imagined—and offer a beautiful model of true friendship.
The volunteer-run BTS has achieved a number of significant accomplishments since its founding, for example:
• Mobilizing our members to encourage republication of the out-of-print books: In 2000, HarperCollins reissued the entire series, in part due to BTS members’ tireless efforts. The books have been designated Harper Perennial Classics and continue to sell well.
• Purchasing the Betsy and Tacy Houses and paying off their mortgages: In 1995, the BTS bought “Tacy’s House” at 332 Center Street, where the real-life Tacy lived. Today it serves as the BTS office and Gift Shop. In 2001, the BTS purchased the Hart house at 333 Center Street (“Betsy’s House”). Both houses were built in the 1890s and have been lovingly restored to their original turn-of-the-century charm. They are open to the public for tours and are popular destinations for Mankato visitors. In 2010, the Betsy-Tacy Houses were designated National Literary Landmarks by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations.
• Fostering a growing membership across the U.S. and in several other countries: The BTS offers four age-based membership levels. Each level has its own newsletter, and the BTS publishes several issues of each newsletter per year. The BTS is especially proud of our 50+ youngest members (ages 5–12) and 30+ YA members (ages 13–19), whom we see as the pipeline to future BTS leadership and promotion.
• “Mapping” Deep Valley: To promote tourism, the BTS has created numerous maps of Betsy-Tacy sites in Mankato.
• Stocking a thriving Gift Shop: Our Gift Shop is physically located in Tacy’s House, and the BTS maintains a brisk mail-order business of hundreds of different items.
• Maintaining a strong social media presence: In addition to the regularly updated BTS and Shop websites, BTS volunteers post regularly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.
• Hosting numerous Betsy-Tacy Conventions, attended by hundreds of fans.
333 Center Street
332 Center Street
PO Box 94
Mankato, MN 56002