Girls’ and Boys’ Series Books
The Girls’ and Boys’ Series Books Collection at USF is one of the most extensive collections of twentieth century American juvenile series books in existence. Since its inception as a personal collection curated by Harry K. Hudson, a noted bibliographer of twentieth century boys’ series fiction, the collection has grown by leaps and bounds. It now includes 6,000 boys’ series books and over 2,000 girls’ series volumes. Ranging in date from 1890 to 1970, the collection includes volumes featuring iconic characters like Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Five Little Peppers, and the Hardy Boys; it also provides a window into less well-known worlds such as those of the Blue Grass Seminary Girls, Grace Harlowe, and the Campfire Girls. In the boys’ and girls’ series alike, the juvenile protagonists solve mysteries, explore the known reaches of the world, serve in the first World War, attend boarding school, and create homes for themselves and their families.
The collection includes a large number of materials published by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Devised in 1905 by writer Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930), the Stratemeyer Syndicate capitalized on the largely unexplored market for entertaining series books for children. Unlike the McLoughlin Brothers publishing house that produced lavishly illustrated and relatively costly volumes, the Stratemeyer Syndicate was a mass-market, for-profit enterprise. Growing out of Stratemeyer’s own series The Rover Boys, the Syndicate’s innovations were two-fold: it sought to publish juvenile books that mimicked the format of adult series, and it streamlined production, ultimately employing numerous ghost writers to pen installments in popular series – including Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey twins, and the Hardy boys – that were published under “house names” such as Carolyn Keene, Laura Lee Hope, and Franklin W. Dixon. Enormously popular, the publishing scheme also proved enormously successful for Stratemeyer since, like Peter Pan, Stratemeyer Syndicate characters did not grow up. Instead, their adventures could continue indefinitely: since Stratemeyer retained editorial control over the series and the characters, the series did not end when a single ghostwriter stopped writing. The collection includes hundreds of Stratemeyer titles.
Featured Author: H. Irving Hancock
Bibliographic Resources in the USF Tampa Library
Girls Series Books: A Checklist of Hardback Books Published 1900-1975 – University of Minnesota Children’s Research Collections
PN1009.A1 M56 1978
A Bibliography of Hard-Cover, Series Type Boys’ Books – Harry K. Hudson
Z1037 .H8 1977
American Boys Series, 1900-1980 – Barbara Bishop
Z1037 .A45 1987
Tom Swift, the Bobbsey Twins, and Other Heroes of American Junevile Literature – John T. Dizer, Jr.
PS374.C454 D59 1997
Children of the Series and How They Grew, or, A Century of Heroines and Heroes, Romantic, Comic, Moral – Faye Riter Kensinger
PS374.C454 K46 1987
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her – Melanie Rehak
PS3545.I774 Z874 2005
Rediscovering Nancy Drew – edited by Carolyn Stewart Dyer and nancy Tillman Romalov
PS3545.I774 Z87 1995
The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate – Marilyn S. Greenwald
PR9199.3.M3148 Z67 2004
Series Book Companion: A Bio-Bibliographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Series Fiction for Boys and Grils with Special Emphasis on the Stratemeyer Syndicate Series and Those Most Collected Today – edited by James D. Keeline
PN1009.A1 S375 1996
Edward Stratemeyer and the Stratemeyer Syndicate – Deidre Johnson
PS3537.T817 Z72 1993
Stratemeyer Pseudonyms and Series Books: An Annotated Checklist of Stratemeyer and Stratemeyer Syndicate Publications – compiled by Deirdre Johnson
PS3537.T817 Z7 1982
The Stratemeyer Syndicate Records at the New York Public Library include original manuscripts, editorial notes and correspondence, business and administrative files, promotional material, photographs, musical scores and artwork.
The Stratemeyer Syndicate Records at University of Oregon Libraries include manuscripts by both Stratemeyer and Adams, and fan letters. There are also publications that include work by Stratemeyer.
Vintage Series Books for Girls is an online exhibit based on a personal collection. It covers some of the more obscure series titles along with the “big names” in series fiction (like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden). The site includes cover art, summaries, and bibliographical information on individual titles in the series.
Nancy Drew Sleuth is a compendium of resources compiled by Jennifer Fisher, a Nancy afficianado. The site includes a history of Nancy Drew, bibliographic information on different types of Nancy Drew publications, and a large list of Nancy-related links.
Girls’ Series Books Rediscovered: Nancy Drew and Friends is an online exhibit at the University of Maryland’s Special Collections. The exhibit includes historical overviews, illustrative examples.
Keeline.com is the personal site of James D. Keeline, a private scholar sleuth who devotes his website to early twentieth century children’s fiction. His information on the Stratemeyer Syndicate is particularly exhaustive and contains numerous resources for further study.