The Authors and Illustrators - Profiles

Edward L. Stratemeyer

  Edward Stratemeyer, the son of a German immigrant, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on October 4, 1862. After graduation from high school in the 1880’s, he began writing juvenile fiction. His first financially rewarding story was published in 1888, and he soon became a regular contributor to several boys' magazines. He then began to write adventure series published under various pen names at a prodigious rate. His rapid success enabled him to found the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate in New York City in 1905.
  John T. Dizer wrote that this literary syndicate was considered to be "the most important single influence in American juvenile literature." Hiring a stable of writers, he supplied characters, plot outlines, and pseudonyms for what quickly became the largest juvenile fiction publishing enterprise in the country.
  Beginning in 1886 when he wrote his first story on wrapping paper in his family’s tobacco shop, Stratemeyer himself wrote an estimated 160 books under his many pseudonyms, perhaps 60 under his own name, and outlined stories for about 800 more, supplying several generations of boys and girls with endless opportunities for harmless fun and adventure. After writers William Taylor Adams (Oliver Optic), and Horatio Algers died, Edward Stratemeyer was chosen to complete some of their unfinished works. He used the pseudonyms Oliver Optic and Horatio Algers, Jr. to do so.
  On March 25, 1891, Mr. Stratemeyer married Magdalene Baker VanCamp. This marriage produced two children, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Emma Camilla Stratemeyer Squire. Their daughter Harriet became a full-time professional writer, following in her father’s footsteps. She wrote under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. She said: "In my childhood I was fortunate to have a father who could tell an original story at a moment’s notice".
  Edward Stratemeyer died in Newark, New Jersey on May 10, 1930, at the age of 68 of lobar pneumonia. Shortly after his death, Fortune Magazine stated: "As oil had its Rockefeller, literature had its Stratemeyer". Stratemeyer created many well-known characters such as The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, The Rover Boys, Nancy Drew and others.

Edward L. Stratemeyer


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