Sunday, March 11, 2012

Victor Horton's Idea: The Story That Started It All

James Keeline has recently published "Victor Horton's Idea," which was Edward Stratemeyer's first long story. The story is important, for it was the beginning of Edward Stratemeyer's career. Without Stratemeyer, our favorite series books, including Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, would never have existed. We can go further and conclude that many of our favorite series books that were not connected to the Stratemeyer Syndicate would likely never have existed.

Here, James Keeline explains the importance of this release:
We just released our annotated illustrated edition of Edward Stratemeyer's first professional long story, "Victor Horton's Idea." Although the story is only 18,000 words, I have added annotations, vintage illustrations, and maps so readers can follow along. I have also written a 50-page introduction and added about 26 pages of vintage ads for Stratemeyer's books. It is offered as a 6x9" paperback ($14.99) and hardcover with dust jacket ($24.99). If Stratemeyer had not made this sale in early 1889 for $75, it is quite likely that he would not have continued to establish a professional career that would include 160 of his stories published as books and hundreds more produced through the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Few series of the twentieth century had continuing characters but this is something he refined well beginning with the Rover Boys and his success in this led to competition that includes the books many of us collect. In a way, our field of collecting is due to the sale of this one story. Stratemeyer wanted to buy it back but the publisher would not agree so Edward could never issue it as a book. This is the first time this story has been so issued.

This book is the first in a series of reprints under the 24 Palmer Street Press imprint as Lulu print on demand volumes. The name of the imprint is derived from the address where he lived with his parents from at least 1876 to the end of 1890 and where he did his amateur writings and his earliest professional writings. It is dedicated to reprinting early and scarce Stratemeyer texts. The next book will be Holiday Stories for Boys, Volume 1 which has 13 short stories he wrote in the 1890s for the Newark Sunday Call.
The book can be purchased from 24 Palmer Street Press.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Thanks! This is very interesting and good to know!