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

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James’ Research:

Conference Presentations

Apr 2009
“The Tale of A Tale of a Lumberman” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). Many sources describe “Victor Horton’s Idea” (1889) as his first work. However, he was writing much earlier, including works produced while he was still in high school. In 1878, at the age of 15 he published a small 32-page chapbook called “A Tale of a Lumberman as Told by Himself.” Since its discovery, it has been something of an enigma to Stratemeyer scholars since it is so different in style from his other extant writings. Now, for the first time, the true origin of this story can be revealed.
Apr 2008
“Booming the Books: Innovations in Book Promotion by Edward Stratemeyer” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). Edward Stratemeyer not only wrote and produced books through his Syndicate, he was also an adept businessman with interest in every phase of the books’ production, distribution, and promotion. This paper profiles some of the innovative ways in which he promoted his books.
Jun 2007
Syndicate 101; or, Where did all of those books come from?” (presented at the Nancy Drew Sleuths Convention). An up-to-date introduction to the Stratemeyer Syndicate, its many series, and its methods of book production involving ghostwriters.
Apr 2007
“Edward Stratemeyer and the Fraternity of Authors” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). In addition to the writers who worked for him, Stratemeyer was in contact with other established authors. Their correspondence shares information about publishers and market conditions.
Feb 2007
“The Nancy Drew Mythtery Stories ” (presented to the Nancy Drew Conference in Chambersburg, PA and published in Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths). The origins of Nancy Drew and the Stratemeyer Syndicate have long been steeped in legend. This paper sorts through these many stories to identify those which are true and others which are not based upon the best source material and research.
Apr 2006
“Edward Stratemeyer’s New York (and New Jersey)” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). Describes the places in Elizabeth and Newark, New Jersey, and New York City with which Edward Stratemeyer would be familiar. Notes the places where he lived, attended school, and worked.
Mar 2005
“Edward Stratemeyer Responds to Critics: Was There Really a Feud with the Boy Scouts of America?” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). Two of Edward Stratemeyer’s sharpest critics were the Chief Librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, Franklin K. Mathiews, and a children’s librarian for the Newark and Brooklyn Public Library, Clara Whitehill Hunt. This presentation examines the charges from these critics and the ways that Edward Stratemeyer responded to them.
Apr 2004
“My Dear Young Friend: Book Collectors Correspond with Edward Stratemeyer” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). Another way to gain insight into Edward Stratemeyer’s life and personality is to see how he corresponded with fans. Some of these fans were advanced book and story paper collectors who asked interesting questions about these items. This 2004 PCA paper examines Stratemeyer’s answers which contain autobiographical statements which are not available elsewhere.
Apr 2003
“Computer Authorship Analysis for Stratemeyer Syndicate Series Volumes” (presented to the Popular Culture Association). This paper uses the contraversial Cumulative Sum (CuSum or QSum) technique to examine series texts which have questionable or mixed authorship.
Mar 2002
“Edward Stratemeyer, Man of Mystery” (presented to Popular Culture Association). This paper explores Edward Stratemeyer’s connection with the mystery genre beginning with his amateur stories written while he was still in high school and including work in dime novels, story papers, pulp magazines, and series books such as the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.
Mar 2002
“Among Kindred Spirits: Collecting the Books of Lucy Maud Montgomery” in Firsts magazine. A guide to collecting the books written by and about the author of Anne of Green Gables (1908).
Oct 2001
“Time Travel Literature” in Firsts magazine. A survey of highlights from a bibliography of more than 4,000 short stories, novels, and children’s books in many genre which involve time travel. The bibliography is now a searchable database.
Apr 2001
“Edward Stratemeyer, Correspondent and Art Critic, 1894-1944” (presented to Popular Culture Association).  During Stratemeyer’s lifetime, he frequently corresponded with artists and commissioned art for both his personal books and those produced by his Syndicate. After his death in May 1930, the decisions about artwork were largely left to the publishers. This paper profiles the artists who worked on these books over a span of fifty years.
Apr 2001
“Collecting Clive Cussler” in Firsts magazine. This author is best known for his Dirk Pitt adventures, including titles like Raise the Titanic, Treasure, Inca Gold, and Atlantis Found. Thanks to the success of these books, he has been able to fund expeditions to seek shipwrecks and collect classic automobiles.
Dec 2000
“How Tom Swift Invented Everything” in Firsts magazine. Tom Swift was a name of a character used in four series of books issued between 1910 and 1993. Three of these series were produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and in most cases, Tom Swift is a boy inventor who develops marvels which seem to predict vehicles and devices which seem commonplace in retrospect. This article includes information about the history of the series and the relationship between the books and real-life inventions.
2000
2000
“Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators” in St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture.
Apr  2000
Edward Stratemeyer, Author and Literary Agent, 1876-1906” (presented to Popular Culture Association).
Apr  1999
Trixie Belden, Schoolgirl Shamus” (presented to Popular Culture Association).
Jan  1999
“The Webster Series” in Newsboy. A Stratemeyer Syndicate series of Alger-like stories. Authorship for the entire series is presented for the first time.
1998
How Jules Verne ‘Invented’ Tom Swift’s Electric Rifle” (presented to the North American Jules Verne Society). Traces the Electric Rifle invention from the Tom Swift title (1910) back to a similar device in Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (U.S., 1873) with previous Stratemeyer examples cited and a comparison of the Verne story to a Stratemeyer-owned imitation.
Feb  1997
Jules Verne, Bracebridge Hemyng, and Edward Stratemeyer: A Case of Nineteenth-Century Plagairism” in Dime Novel Round-Up. This article describes how a British author, Hemyng copied Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas. Hemyng’s story was later plagiarized by Stratemeyer to become The Wizard of the Sea.
Jan  1996
“The Stratemeyer Syndicate and its Role in Creating Series Books that Children Actually Read” in Teaching and Learning Literature. This article surveys the Stratemeyer Syndicate.
Apr 1995
Tom Swift on the Silver Screen.” (presented at the 1995 Popular Culture Association National Conference in Philadelphia, PA) that describes, in detail, the several attempts to put the Tom Swift stories on television or film including a television pilot in 1958, attempts by Twentieth Century Fox in 1966 and 1968 for a feature, a 1983 Tom Swift Linda Craig Mystery Hour television pilot, and an episode of George Lucas’ Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Jan  1995
Who Wrote Nancy Drew? Secrets from the Stratemeyer Syndicate Revealed” in Yellowback Library. An listing of all volumes in the Nancy Drew series (1930-1985) produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate identifying specific ghostwriters involved in writing the stories as “Carolyn Keene.”
Nov 1994
“Suspiciously like Stratemeyer Syndicate series” in Newsboy. A discussion of series books containing characteristics of Stratemeyer Syndicate series not listed in Deidre Johnson’s Stratemeyer Pseudonyms and Series Books (1982) citing circumstantial and documented cases of new series that should be classified as Syndicate products.
Nov 1994
Who Wrote the Hardy Boys? Secrets from the Stratemeyer Syndicate Revealed” in Yellowback Library. Identification of all ghostwriters writing Hardy Boys books (1927-1985) as “Franklin W. Dixon.”
Sep 1994
Who Wrote the Bobbsey Twins? Secrets from the Stratemeyer Syndicate Revealed” in Yellowback Library. All ghostwriters writing Bobbsey Twins books (1904-1985) as “Laura Lee Hope.”
May 1994
“Secret of Box MSS 107; or, What the Nancy Axelrad papers revealed (part 2) – The Axelrad Notebooks” in Newsboy. A summary of Stratemeyer Syndicate ghostwriter identifications, many of which were identified for the first time.
May 1994
“Tom Swift Books Published by Wanderer and Archway” in Yellowback Library. A discussion of the third and fourth Tom Swift series (both published by Simon and Schuster) with identification of most of the ghostwriters working on the series for the first time.
Apr 1994
“Sources of Material on the Stratemeyer Syndicate: Holdings of Papers in University Special Collections” in Yellowback Library. A listing of University special collections with collections of original documents relating to the Stratemeyer Syndicate.
Jan 1994
“Secret of Box MSS 107; or, What the Nancy Axelrad papers revealed (part 1)” in Newsboy. A summary of Stratemeyer Syndicate ghostwriter identifications, many of which were identified for the first time.
May 1993
“Unknown Nancy Drew Edition” in Yellowback Library. Describes an unrecorded variant edition of the eleventh volume of the Nancy Drew series with the third cover art and the second text.
Jan 1993
“Mechanics of the Stratemeyer Syndicate as Related to the Tom Swift Series (part 2)” in Newsboy.
Nov 1992
“Mechanics of the Stratemeyer Syndicate as Related to the Tom Swift Series (part 1)” in Newsboy. A two-part article, originally presented at the 1990 Popular Culture Association Conference, that describes the internal workings of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and the methods they used to create one of their most popular series. It includes many rare documents used to plan the first two Tom Swift series.

Academic Conferences Attended:

1990-2008
Popular Culture Association National Conference. Area chair for dime novels, pulp magazines, and juvenile series books for 1999-2001. Presented papers at 1990 and 1994-2002 conferences.
2007
Nancy Drew Conference. Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA. Presentated “The Nancy Drew Mythtery Stories.” Several papers, including this one, from the conference were published as a book, Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths.
2007
Nancy Drew Sleuths Conference. Pasadena, CA. Two presentations (Syndicate 101 and The Nancy Drew Mythtery Stories). Conference was designed to celebrate the premier of the Nancy Drew film with Emma Roberts.
2005
Nancy Drew Sleuths Conference to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and the 75th Anniversary of the Nancy Drew series. New York City, NY. Two presentations (Edward Stratemeyer’s writings and Early Syndicate Illustrators) and tour guide of New Jersey sites important to the Stratemeyer family.
1995
Symposium on Dime Novel and Series Books. Library of Congress. Washington, DC. Session chair.
1994
Modern Language Association National Conference, San Diego, CA.
1994
Series Book Collectors in Earthquake Land Conference, Buena Park, CA. Made presentation on research projects including Yellowback Library Index and Series Book Encyclopedia (in progress).
1993
Nancy Drew Conference, Iowa City, IA.
1993
American Library Association National Conference, New Orleans, LA. Made presentation for ALCTS group on acquiring rare and out-of-print children’s books.
1991
Out-of-Print and Antiquarian Book Market Seminar, Denver, CO.
1989
Hess Symposium on Dime Novels and Series Books. University of Minnesota, Walter Library.

Reference Books and Bibliographies in Progress (partial list):

“Yours Truly, Edward Stratemeyer”
A thematic biography of the author of the Rover Boys and creator of the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, and hundreds of other juvenile series book volumes.
The Series Book Encyclopedia: A Bio-Bibliographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Series Fiction for Boys and Girls with special emphasis on Stratemeyer Syndicate series and those most collected today.
A bibliographic checklist and biographical dictionary identifying authors, pseudonyms, ghostwriters, and illustrators of series books with pertinent information on themes and specialized terms in the field. (500 pages, projected Fall 2006)

 

Disney Films Inspired By Books: A Bibliography of First American Editions of Literature Adapted into Film by Walt Disney and His Successors.
Over 2/3 of the feature-length films produced during Walt Disney’s lifetime by his film company were based on books. This bibliography identifies specific titles and editions that inspired the plot and art for those films. Similar information is included for films produced after Disney’s death in 1966 and films made for television. (50 pages, complete, publication pending trademark negotiations with the Disney Company)

 

Subject Index to the Yellowback Library and Similar Publications on Series Books. A subject index providing access to over 200 issues of series book magazines and journals with special emphasis on pseudonym identification and authorship information. This publication transforms the random bits of data in hundreds of series book journals and transforms it into information. (100 pages, complete, now a database-driven web site)

 

“Complete” Illustrated Tom Swift Bibliography. A reference guide to the four Tom Swift series produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate between 1910-1993 with sections on formats, foreign editions, discussion of the creation of the series, and authorship issues. (75 pages, complete, pending trademark licensing)

 

Windermere Illustrated Classics. A checklist of the books in the illustrated classic series published by Rand McNally illustrated primarily by Milo Winter, a series comparable to the Scribner Illustrated Classics primarily illustrated by N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish. (16 pages, complete)

 

Other Experience:

Consultant for and on-camera expert (talking head) for special feature on the Hardy Boys and the Stratemeyer Syndicate for Walt Disney Treasures: The Hardy Boys DVD set. 2006

Consultant for Edward Stratemeyer biography for Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVD set. 2005

Area chair for Popular Culture Association section on Dime Novels, Pulp Magazines, and Juvenile Series Books. 1999-2001

  • Solicited papers for panels using web pages, Internet listservs, and regular mailings; accepted paper proposals and organized them into logical panels; moderated groups and facilitated discussion.

Technical Editor for The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys by Kismaric and Heiferman. 1998

  • Read and corrected three drafts of this manuscript to ensure factual accuracy on issues connected with Stratemeyer Syndicate history.

Chairman and facilitator for San Diego Book Collecting Seminar. 1997

  • Organized the first Book Collecting Seminar held in San Diego. Arranged for speakers and panelists, secured seminar location, and prepared conference program book.

Consultant for Growing Up with Dick and Jane by Kismaric and Heiferman. 1996

  • Supplied unique historical and bibliographic information to support the creation of this book.

Editor of BookEndz. 1996-2000

  • Used Adobe PageMaker to typeset monthly newsletter for the San Diego Booksellers Association. Created web page for newsletter which includes Adobe Acrobat versions of issues created during my term as editor.

Member of Board of Directors for San Diego Booksellers Association. 1995-2002

Science Editor for three volumes in the Young Astronauts series. 1990

  • Paperback juvenile books that used the “Rick North” collective pseudonym and were published by Zebra Books. After I saw numerous factual errors in the initial volume of the series, I was hired to edit scientific content of later stories (vols. 4-6).

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