Dedicated to the legacy of Edward Stratemeyer, author & founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate

Artifact — Holiday Bookselling

Both the publishers and Edward Stratemeyer knew that the biggest sales for juvenile series books occurred between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  To help ensure that young readers and adult buyers of the books were thinking of his products, he worked with the publishers to print small folded brochures that listed the books written by Edward and especially the Syndicate series.  He shared printing and mailing costs with the publishers for these and they were sent out right after Thanksgiving.

Addresses for the envelopes were secured from a variety of sources, including magazines for youth and even home paint companies.  Letters would be rented from sources and the names and addresses were transcribed onto the envelopes.  Sometimes Stratemeyer’s niece, Anna Stratemeyer, was hired by him to address the envelopes.  In these, pamphlets (Stratemeyer always spelled this “pamplets”) were stuffed from several publishers.  A given recipient might receive catalogs from four publishers in a given year.

Sometimes two versions of catalogs were prepared.  Some of these had considerably more pages and content than others.  In 1911 Stratemeyer tried to be more elaborate in his mailings and a booklet with review-like summaries of Syndicate books were prepared as by “John Tupper Brownell” called Safe and Sane Books for Boys and Girls. Since Stratemeyer prepared the text for this, it is not at all surprising that the summaries were positive.

In general, however, most mailings sent out to prospective readers and buyers were similar to the three panels shown from a larger Grosset & Dunlap pamphlet from the 1910s seen below.

Small publisher-printed brochures like this were sent out around Thanksgiving to stimulate holiday sales of series books.

Small publisher-printed brochures like this were sent out around Thanksgiving to stimulate holiday sales of series books.

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James D. Keeline has been researching Edward Stratemeyer and the Stratemeyer Syndicate since 1988. He has written many dozens of articles and conference presentations on these topics and has several books in progress, including a Series Book Encyclopedia, a full biography of Edward Stratemeyer, and Stratemeyer Syndicate Ghostwriters. He has also edited and published several Stratemeyer texts in illustrated and annotated editions under the 24 Palmer Street Press imprint at

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