From 1895 to 1912, Evansville, Indiana, native Annie Fellows Johnston published a series of children's books about the Little Colonel and her chum, Mary Ware. L. C. Page & Company marketed one per year as the demand was high. Other series based on the originals were published as the Johnston Jewel Series, the Holiday editions. After many years of additional printings of the original series, the books were marketed with red book cloth, in pink cloth, and with more modern book jackets or front covers.
Meeting a five-year-old girl who would become the prototype for the "Little Colonel" Lloyd Sherman, granddaughter of a Confederate Colonel veteran, Johnston was inspired to write the series based on the residents of Pewee Valley, Oldham County, Kentucky. She moved there with her three step-children where she remained the rest of her life.