Motor Boys Series
The Motor Boys was a very successful early Stratemeyer Syndicate series. The first work on it began in 1905 when it was formed. These are some early cover and jacket designs.

The other series begun by Edward Stratemeyer in 1905 was the Motor Boys series for Cupples & Leon. This was part of several series volumes issued by that publisher in 1906 but it happens to be the first one ordered from a ghostwriter.

All of the volumes were ghostwritten by Howard R. Garis based on outlines written by Stratemeyer. It was published under the Allen Chapman pen name.

Early volumes had dust jackets with thin brittle uncoated paper that is sometimes called “terra cotta” by collectors because of the color.

Motor Boys
Early 1909 printings of the first three Motor Boys books issued in 1906. The “terra cotta” jackets of this era are fragile and scarce.

The 1906 printings of these books did not have a circle around the publisher name at the base of the spine on the book and jacket.

As with the Rover Boys, some volumes were billed as the Second Motor Boys series. However, unlike the Rover Boys, the later volumes were not about a new generation of characters.

Some books with the “Ned, Bob and Jerry” title were renamed to include the series name in the title. This list has the first title for each volume.

1. The Motor Boys; or, Chums through thick and thin (1906)
2. The Motor Boys Overland; or, A long trip for fun and fortune (1906)
3. The Motor Boys in Mexico; or, The secret of the buried city (1906)
4. The Motor Boys Across the Plains; or, The hermit of Lost Lake (1907)
5. The Motor Boys Afloat; or, The stirring cruise of the Dartaway (1908)
6. The Motor Boys on the Atlantic; or, The mystery of the lighthouse (1908)
7. The Motor Boys in Strange Waters; or, Lost in a floating forest (1909)
8. The Motor Boys on the Pacific; or, The young derelict hunters (1909)
9. The Motor Boys in the Clouds; or, A trip for fame and fortune (1910)
10. The Motor Boys Over the Rockies; or, A mystery of the air (1911)
11. The Motor Boys Over the Ocean; or, A marvelous rescue in mid-air (1911)
12. The Motor Boys on the Wing; or, Seeking the airship treasure (1912)
13. The Motor Boys After a Fortune; or, The hut on Snake Island (1912)
14. The Motor Boys on the Border; or, Sixty nuggets of gold (1913)
15. The Motor Boys Under the Sea; or, From airship to submarine (1914)
16. The Motor Boys on Road and River; or, Racing to save a life (1915)
17. Ned, Bob and Jerry at Boxwood Hall; or, The Motor Boys as Freshmen (1916)
18. Ned, Bob and Jerry on a Ranch; or, The Motor Boys among the Cowboys (1917)
19. Ned, Bob and Jerry in the Army; or, The Motor Boys as Volunteers (1918)
20. Ned, Bob and Jerry on the Firing Line; or, The Motor Boys fighting for Uncle Sam (1919)
21. Ned, Bob and Jerry Bound for Home; or, The Motor Boys on the Wrecked Troopship (1920)
22. The Motor Boys on Thunder Mountain; or, The treasure chest of Blue Rock (1924)

Although largely forgotten today, the Motor Boys was very popular in its day.

Blog Posts About the Series:


Happy Birthday Edward Stratemeyer

Celebrating the life and career of Edward Stratemeyer on the 155th anniversary of his birthday.

Hybrid Airship Inspirations: Santos-Dumont

Photographs and articles in popular science publications influenced the Syndicate stories. The Santos-Dumont No. 14bis seems to have made an impression on Stratemeyer, Garis, and their artists.