In high school I began reading the “rags to riches” stories of Horatio Alger, Jr., and in 1969 I joined the Horatio Alger Society. I immediately began writing articles for its publication, Newsboy, and soon became a regular contributor. I also began attending the Society’s annual conventions each May, where I discussed his works with other collectors and made lifelong friends from all over the country. In 1977, while working at Illinois College, I hosted a convention in Jacksonville. Some of Alger’s books were ghostwritten by Edward Stratemeyer (who was responsible for dozens of juvenile series books, including Tom Swift, the Rover Boys, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew).
I was pleased that his daughter, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (right), attended the convention. Also present was her associate, Nancy Axelrad (left), who was then writing the Bobbsey Twins books. I edited Newsboy from 1974 to 1986, and in the 1980s I collaborated with Gary Scharnhorst on Horatio Alger, Jr. (Scarecrow Press, 1981) and The Lost Life of Horatio Alger, Jr. (Indiana University Press, 1985).