25 April 2013

They Just Don’t Publish Them Like They Used to

I have a new favorite series of novels for young readers that I’ve never read:
The Square Dollar Boys, by H. Irving Hancock.

As Wannabe Wonderlands shows, these books were advertised in the backs of other series with this stirring copy:
The reading boy will be a voter in a few years; these books are bound to make him think, and when he casts his vote he will do it more intelligently for having read these volumes.
Doesn’t that just scream “adventure”? The semi-colon alone hints that these books are a cut above the ordinary boys’ series fare. And look at that cover art, courtesy of HenryAltemus.com: two young men in suits sitting in a clearly labeled office talking to an older man in a suit.

The Square Dollar Boys Wake Up; or, Fighting the Trolley Franchise Steal appeared in 1912 and was immediately followed by The Square Dollar Boys Smash the Ring; or, In the Lists against the Crooked Land Deal. That was the year of the wide-open Presidential race among Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, so teenaged boys’ interest in political reform must have been near an all-time high. The publisher announced The Square Dollar Boys Still Hunt to come.

Due to the unaccountable vagaries of the market, however, Altemus never issued the third volume.


Dan said...

So these characters are in the public domain? Hmmmm.... !!

J. L. Bell said...

Available for sequels, parodies, and shipping!