Ruth Fielding is a series of children’s novels written under the pseudonym of Alice B. Emerson. The series follows the life of Ruth Fielding from the time that she becomes an orphan, through her schooling and her first success as a moving picture writer, and finally to her success as the owner of her own company. It is considered an important series because it influenced several other major series that came later, including Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, and _Beverly Gray. Ruth Fielding is a strong-willed young woman, just like Nancy Drew, and she is also a career woman like Beverly Gray.
Ruth Fielding, a recently-orphaned girl, arrives in Cheslow, New York to live with her uncle, Jabez Potter, at the Red Mill with his housekeeper, Aunt Alvirah Boggs. Ruth is greatly disappointed in the cold reception she receives. Uncle Jabez seems to care very little about her, and all that he has to say is that she must earn her keep. Uncle Jabez grows even more difficult after his cash box disappears during a flood.
Ruth's greatest desire has come true—to attend Briarwood Hall with Helen Cameron. As soon as the girls arrive, they are accosted by Mary Cox, known as the Fox for her cunning. Mary wishes the girls to join her club, the Up and Doing Club. Helen, in particular, is enraptured by Mary's description of her club. Shortly after Mary Cox approaches the girls, Madge Steele informs the girls about her club, the Forward Club.