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

Larry Dexter

Larry Dexter covers

The Larry Dexter series about a young reporter was written by Howard R. Garis for the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

The Newspaper (Larry Dexter) series.

As with the Dorothy Chester books, another series published by Chatterton-Peck in 1907 from the Stratemeyer Syndicate used the author’s real name even though they were owned by the Syndicate.

This was originally called the Newspaper series and featured a young man named Larry Dexter. After the first volume in 1907, the titles featured the character name.

Howard Garis, like many Syndicate ghostwriters, had a newspaper background. His was with the Newark Evening News. Around this time Stratemeyer was trying to convince him to work full time on writing juvenile stories for the Syndicate and some on his own to publishers that the Syndicate was not selling books to. Garis was reluctant because although the pay for individual books was good compared with his newspaper salary, he was not sure he would get enough assignments. They came up with an agreement that lasted a couple years where Stratemeyer promised a certain minimum number of books each year. Most were to be published under Syndicate pen names but some would be issued under Garis’ name to help increase his name recognition among the trade and buyers.

The books were among the series taken by Stratemeyer from Chatterton-Peck to Grosset & Dunlap in 1908 and more volumes were added to it.

1. From Office Boy to Reporter (Chatterton-Peck, 1907)
2. Larry Dexter, the Young Reporter (Chatterton-Peck, 1907)
3. Larry Dexter’s Great Search (Grosset & Dunlap, 1909)
4. Larry Dexter and the Bank Mystery (Grosset & Dunlap, 1912)
5. Larry Dexter and the Stolen Boy (Grosset & Dunlap, 1912)
6. Larry Dexter in Belgium (Grosset & Dunlap, 1915)

The sales were fairly limited, however, and eventually G&D was ready to stop issuing them. Stratemeyer took the plates to another publisher that he began working with in 1913 named Sully and the Larry Dexter books, now called the Young Reporter series was issued by them in 1921.

1. The Young Reporter at the Big Flood (Sully, 1921)
2. The Young Reporter and the Land Swindlers (Sully, 1921)
3. The Young Reporter and the Missing Millionaire (Sully, 1921)
4. The Young Reporter and the Bank Mystery (Sully, 1921)
5. The Young Reporter and the Stolen Boy (Sully, 1921)
6. The Young Reporter at the Battle Front (Sully, 1921)

Those same six stories were reprinted in 1926 by Garden City in thick pulp paperbacks like the Dave Fearless series. This time they were issued under a Syndicate pseudonym, “Raymond Sperry.” Two new stories were added to the series at this time.

1. Larry Dexter at the Big Flood (Garden City, 1926)
2. Larry Dexter and the Land Swindlers (Garden City, 1926)
3. Larry Dexter and the Missing Millionaire (Garden City, 1926)
4. Larry Dexter and the Bank Mystery (Garden City, 1926)
5. Larry Dexter and the Stolen Boy (Garden City, 1926)
6. Larry Dexter at the Battle Front (Garden City, 1926)
7. Larry Dexter and the Ward Diamonds (Garden City, 1927)
8. Larry Dexter’s Great Chase (Garden City, 1927)

That name was similar to “Raymond Sperry, Jr.,” the “author” of The White Ribbon Boys of Chester (Cupples & Leon, 1916). This has led to the incorrect conclusion that Garis was the ghostwriter of the only published volume in the White Ribbon Boys series.

Because the books were not especially good sellers in any of their formats, they are hard to find today.

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