Edward Stratemeyer was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, October 4, 1862. His father, Henry Julius Stratemeyer, came from Germany in 1848 and was in the gold rush to California in 1849. Henry's brother in New Jersey having died, he returned there to settle the estate and later married the widow, Anna (Siegel) Stratemeyer, and by her had a daughter and two sons, one of whom was Edward. The father opened a tobacco store in Elizabeth, and in that town Edward attended the grammar and high schools. Afterwards he worked in the store of his stepbrother, who was also a tobacconist, and here he began writing juvenile fiction. His first story, "Victor Horton's Idea," was sold to Golden Days for seventy-five dollars. This must have encouraged him greatly, for the older writers for the various "Libraries" were getting no more for stories of the same length.
From about 1890 to 1896 he operated a stationery store in Newark, New Jersey, but continued his writing, some of his stories appearing in Munsey's Golden Argosy. In the meantime, in March, 1891, he had been married to Magdalene Baker Van Camp of Newark. In 1893 he became editor of Good News, a weekly story paper for boys, and during the next two years wrote many stories for it. He edited Young People of America in 1895, and the next year published Bright Days, a juvenile monthly—later a weekly.
In 1894 his first book, "Richard Dare's Venture; or, Striking Out for Himself," the first of the "Bound to Win" series, appeared. Finding that writing paid, he began, after about 1896, to devote all his time to it. "The Rover Boys" series, begun in 1899, was probably his most popular group of books. Other series were started about the same time, and under the name of "Captain Ralph Bonehill" he published his "Mexican War Series," "The Frontier Series," "The Boy Hunter Series," and others, as well as numerous independent tales.
Beginning in 1906, he began to supply plots to a number of writers whom he employed to elaborate them into book-length boys' stories, and thus founded the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which is still functioning in the production of books for boys and girls. While Stratemeyer managed the syndicate he himself was not inactive, for he spent much of his time collecting data for the stories, and often wrote great parts of them himself. He was thus introducing into fiction for boys and girls the method by which Dumas and Balzac produced their numerous novels. The later volumes of the "Rover Boys" and the "Tom Swift Series" were produced in this manner. Altogether the syndicate put out five or six hundred books, while Stratemeyer himself, before the factory methods were introduced, wrote some one hundred and fifty, a production which compares very favorably with many of the other novel writers, especially since he showed much greater ability to create new plots than did some of the older writers. On May 10, 1930, he died of pneumonia in Newark, leaving a wife and two daughters.
Among the pseudonyms used by Stratemeyer, two, "Capt. Ralph Bonehill" and "Arthur M. Winfield" are authenticated by his own hand in Who's Who. "Ralph Hamilton,"(1) "Manager Henry Abbott,"(2) Franklin Calkins,(3) Dr. Willard Mackenzie,(4) and "Harvey Hicks,"(5) are checked by the appearance of stories under these names as well as under Stratemeyer's own, or under his known pseudonyms. "Roy Rockwood" was used as one of his syndicate names, but he also used it himself in 1896 in a story published by Beadle, ten years before the formation of the syndicate. It is possible that "Ned St. Myer," Ned (Edward) St(rate)meyer, was another of his pen names. †Roy B. Van Devier, in the Dime Novel Round-Up, XXVI, No. 305, February 15, 1958, 12, and No. 306, March 15, 1958, 20—21, listed the additional pen names Allen Chapman, Laura Lee Hope, Clarence Young, Albert Lee Ford, Hal Harkaway, Harvey Hicks, Lieut. Lounsberry, Manager Henry Abbott, P. T. Barnum, Jr., Capt. Young of Yale, Clarence Young, Ed. Ward, Philip A. Alyer, Theodore Edison, and Ralph Hamilton.
REFERENCES: The Writer, XV, March, 1902, 39; Who's Who. Vols. II to XII, 1901 to 1923; New York Times, May 13, 1930; Newark Evening News, May 12, 1930; Dict. Amer. Biog., XVIII, 1936, 125; Nat. Cyc. Amer. Biog., XVI, 1918, 37-38; letter to me from Mrs. Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, September 29, 1941.
Under the name "Roy Rockwood" the following novel was published:
Banner Weekly. No. 722
Half-Dime Library. No. 1047
See also under Ed. St. Meyer.
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||"Clearing his Name," by Ralph Hamilton, Golden Days, XII, August 22, 1891, was reprinted under the same title but as by Edward Stratemeyer, in the same paper, XXIV, February 21, 1903. Furthermore, the first chapter of a story in Golden Days, XVI, No. 36, July 27, 1895, was given as by "Ralph Hamilton," but the succeeding chapters came out under his own name.|
|2||"A Footlight Favorite; or, Born to be an Actor," Good News, X, April 6, 1895, by Manager Henry Abbott, was reprinted as "Mark Dale's Stage Venture; or, Bound to be an Actor," as by "Arthur Winfield" (who was Stratemeyer) in Medal Library No. 279. Also "Ncka, King of Fire; or, A Mystery of the Variety Stage," by Henry Abbott, in Good News, XII, December 28, 1895, was reprinted as by "Capt. Ralph Bonehill" (Stratemeyer), in Medal Library No. 250, as "Neka, the Boy Conjuror."|
|3||"Off to the Southwest; or, The Adventures of the Twin Manlys," by "Franklin Calkins," appeared in Golden Days, XX, November 4, 1899, as a reprint of the same story under the same title in Golden Days, V, August 16, 1884, which was given as by "Ralph Hamilton" (shown above to be Stratemeyer).|
|4||"The Hermit's Protege; or, The Mystery of Wind Ridge," by "Dr. Willard Mackenzie," in Golden Days, XXV, November 14, 1903, was a reprint of the same story in the same paper, XII, December 19, 1891, where the author was given as "Ralph Hamilton."|
|5||"The Tour of the Zero Club; Perils by Ice and Snow" by "Harvey Hicks," appeared in Good News, X, December 29, 1894, and was reprinted as by "Capt. Ralph Bonehill" in Medal Library No. 241.|