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Stratemeyer, Edward

(1862-1930) US dime-novel entrepreneur (see Dime-Novel SF), a mass producer of boys' books who reportedly wrote 160 solo works, beginning with "Walter Drumm's Heroism" (1889 Young American), along with Dime Novels for Street and Smith as by Horatio Alger (1832-1899) after his death, Jim Bowie and Nick Carter; until coming to some kind of rest – it becomes hard to work out what he may have personally contributed to the firm – after founding the Stratemeyer Syndicate fiction factory in 1906. It is not yet fully clear – and may never be clear – just what he wrote himself, and what he either took holus-bolus from previous texts or provided only as synopses for other writers to fill in. The principal House Names used solo by Stratemeyer at some point or another include Victor Appleton, Captain Ralph Bonehill, Hal Harkaway, Roy Rockwood and Arthur M Winfield; he also seems to have written as Emerson Bell, Theodore Edison and Ned St Meyer. It may be that he wrote down millions of words for publication; certainly, more mundanely, he exercised strict control over millions of words for the syndicate, which he dominated. The Great Marvel series as by Roy Rockwood, the first six volumes of which were written out by Howard R Garis from detailed synopses by Stratemeyer, seems to be the first clothbound sf series in America, and is of high quality. The Tom Swift books, written by Garis 1910-1932, were the most popular boys' books of all time [for all titles see Tom Swift; for titles by Garis alone, see his entry]. But Garis was remarkable. Less compelling series included Don Sturdy and Bomba, the Jungle Boy, both essentially by John William Duffield [who see for titles]. There were many others, by less competent scribes. After Stratemeyer's death his daughters Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Edna Stratemeyer Squier successfully carried on the syndicate as partners.

One novel definitely traced to Stratemeyer is the sf Beyond the Edge of the World (written 1891; 2013), his first book-length work to be composed using a typewriter. The action takes place around 200 BCE, when a young Roman crosses the Atlantic to discover an advanced Lost World civilization in what will be North America; its Technology includes propeller-driven Airships and a Power Source resembling electricity but called "kol". A message missile is received from Venus. The narrative tone is reminiscent of the Frank Reade, Jr stories (see Frank Reade Library).

Stratemeyer has been credited with various middle initials including D, L and (from E F Bleiler in past versions of this entry) T. However, according to the New Jersey birth records 1670-1980, he had no middle name. [EFB/DRL/JC]

Edward Stratemeyer

born Elizabeth, New Jersey: 4 October 1862

died Newark, New Jersey: 10 May 1930

works (selected/confirmed)


The Deep Sea (variously Sea Treasure and/or Dave Fearless) series

individual titles

about the author


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 05:03 am on 30 May 2024.