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The Smuggler's Treasure, the first book in the series.

History Mysteries were a twenty-two book series of mystery books originally released by American Girl. The series can be seen as the precursor to the Historical Character Mysteries as several of the authors from this series went on to write for that and other various Historical character series.

Series Facts

Each book was a stand-alone novel set in a time period and/or location that, at the time of publication, was not covered by any Historical Characters, including times before the United States was founded as an independent country. The characters were generally older, ranging from ages ten to fourteen, and the books were marketed as for ages ten and up.

The cover shows the main character from a scene of the story. The first pages, instead of a half title page has a frontispiece; on verso is a quote from the story and on recto is a close-up from the cover illustration, focused on the main character's face. Past the title page, edition notice, dedication page, and table of contents is a two-page map titled "Character's World: Location in Year," bordered by something appropriate to the time and location. The map shows the places relevant to the story, with images of the locale.

At the beginning of each chapter is a small black-and-white sketch illustrated by Greg Dearth, designed to simulate a woodcut block and to help set the mood of the chapter. Books are written in third person limited point of view so only the main character's thoughts and perceptions are seen, similar to the Central Series.

Each book has a Looking Back section that, much like the Central Series, discusses details about the time and location and any significant events. If another language is used prominently, a glossary is included.

The series was published from 1999 to 2004 and later discontinued. Many of the books from the series were later re-released in unbranded digital form by Open Road Integrated Media as the series Mysteries Through Time, and these can be found as Kindle versions via Amazon distribution.

List of Books


  • Alternate titles for the series include Mysteries Through Time and/or Mysteries through History.
  • American Girl had promotional bookmarks for the series featuring the first five books.

See Also