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Like any field with complexity and sophistication, the people who read, collect, and research juvenile series books from the Stratemeyer Syndicate and other people and groups have developed specialized terms. For the person who is new to the community, this jargon can be confusing and even intimidating. Learning the meaning of these words can help […]
After 33 successful hardcover titles were published in the Tom Swift Jr. series by Grosset & Dunlap between 1954 and 1971, there were two paperback editions offered. The first group of four from 1974 were large digest-size paperbacks. New cover art was made but the original printing plates were used, complete with the Graham Kaye illustrations […]
One of the persistent myths about Edward Stratemeyer is that he wrote his first long professional story, “Victor Horton’s Idea,” while clerking in a relative’s shop in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is said to have found some idle time and took wrapping paper from a roll and wrote his story in pencil to be sent […]
When collecting modern first printings, the typical desire is to obtain a first printing of a book in fine condition that is signed by the author. Sometimes these copies are the only ones that will sell at all. With juvenile series books, this is usually not possible because there were relatively few occasions to meet […]
The Bobbsey Twins was one of the longest-running series produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The first volume was personally written by Edward Stratemeyer and was published in 1904. It was not a big seller. Undeterred, two additional titles were added in 1907, the product of a ghostwriter, Lilian C. Garis, working from Stratemeyer’s outlines. These also did […]
Tom Swift was among the Syndicate’s most successful creations. The first series was forty volumes published between 1910 and 1941 and featured a young inventor of Shopton, New York, who made airships and other gadgets and these were instrumentals in adventures around the world. The inventive genius ran in the family. Tom inherited it from his […]
When series books were published, it was expected that thousands of copies would be printed and sold. The lead-based type metal (actually lead, tin and antimony) was too soft and heavy for a page’s worth of type. The electrotype printing plate was one of two main methods used to make plates for books (and other […]
As written previously, this novel combination aircraft was not without a real-life precedent. Most of the inventions in the Tom Swift series are enhancements of real inventions. Although the design was not ultimately successful, the combined aeroplane-dirigibile balloon was an area of interest for several inventors. It is difficult to know precisely which publications were […]
A recent article in The Atlantic gives some interesting perspectives on the role of ghostwriting the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew in the era immediately after the Stratemeyer Syndicate was sold to Simon & Schuster in 1984. When the Stratemeyer Syndicate was a separate entity, they supplied the outlines to ghostwriters, edited the stories, and submitted […]
To the modern reader used to visualizing the frail pioneering aircraft of the Wright brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and others, the Red Cloud from the Tom Swift series seems utterly fantastic — the stuff of science fiction. However, as was often the case, the descriptions were not pure fantasy but rather extensions of concepts and inventions described in […]