Series Books-Edward Stratemeyer

"Write" Off the Assembly Line

Shorthand Tom the Reporter by Edward Stratemeyer cover,  a young man in a sport coat and new cap observing a fire

Cover of Shorthand Tom the Reporter

By Edward Stratemeyer, Grosset and Dunlap, 1903

Writer-entrepreneur Edward Stratemeyer was the singular mastermind behind an impressive array of American juvenile fiction series, generating a number of all-time best sellers. Between 1910 and 1930, his Stratemeyer Syndicate employed an army of ghostwriters, editors, and stenographers dedicated to turning out "slam-bang," 50-cent tales of the youthful adventures of the Rover Boys, Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew.

Stratemeyer amassed a fortune by marrying the fast-paced, character-driven storytelling of his mentor, Horatio Alger, Jr., with the assembly-line production techniques of his other lifelong hero, Henry Ford. (One Syndicate veteran referred to the exacting, formula-based writing process as "fitting the pipes.") High-minded librarians shunned the Syndicate's standard-issue chapter books as subliterary and "cheap," but a 1926 American Library Association survey of 36,000 young people told a different story: fully 98% of respondents placed a Stratemeyer title at the top of their list of all-time favorite books.


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Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger Jr. Cover, black sketch of a young boy in a news cap on green book board

Cover of Ragged Dick or Street Life in New York with the Boot-blacks

By Horatio Alger Jr., Pennsylvania, 1895

Ragged Dick

Written by Horatio Alger Jr.

1865

Der Schatz im Silbersee by Karl May cover, two indigenous men in a canoe on a lake

Cover of Der Schatz im Silbersee

By Karl May, Karl-May-Verlag, 1952

Der Schatz im Silbersee

Written by Karl May

1952

Edward Stratemeyer standing in front of his desk, several piles of books around him

Edward Stratemeyer

Syndicate Response to Fan Mail

1920s

Other titles by Edward Stratemeyer

How Children Get Their Books
Series Books-Edward Stratemeyer