Edward Stratemeyer wrote the first book in the Bobbsey Twins series in 1904 under the pseudonym “Laura Lee Hope.”  The rest of the series was written by ghostwriters under the outlines of the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Mershon format Bobbsey Twins
Bobbsey Twins as they first appeared. A much smaller book–and hard to find.

The books follow the adventures of two fraternal sets of twins: Bert and Nan (12 years old in most books) and Flossie and Freddie (6 years old in most books).

Whitman hardcover

Initially the books are about home life and travel adventures.  Around 1961 the stories began to focus on mysteries.  Some older stories were revised to take on this new theme.  Hence The Bobbsey Twins; or, Merry Days Indoors and Out (1904) eventually became The Bobbsey Twins and the Lakeport Mystery (1961), using the name of their home town in the title.

Bobbsey Twins purple cover

Another revision, The Bobbsey Twins and Baby May, kept the same basic title but instead of being about a foundling child that could be adopted (1924), it was about a baby elephant (1968) because of changes in adoption laws over the intervening years.

Bobbey Twins and Baby May
Original and Revised versions – Baby May becomes an elephant

Although the plots appealed to young children, say from ages 5 to 8 as expressed on some dust jackets, the reading level was usually higher.  This meant that the stories were often read to the younger children by older siblings or adults.  Therefore, the Bobbsey Twins does not have the same nostalgic attraction experienced by series like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Tom Swift where the reading and interest ages were aligned and readers feel a more personal connection to the series.

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The Bobbsey Twins  is probably the series with the longest run of publication. Nearly a century old, it was mainly produced by the Stratemeyer...

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