previous next

[404] is all clean, effective, and interesting. The Starry flag, Soldier boy, and Young America series merited the delight of two generations of boys. Horatio Alger, Jr., once a Unitarian minister, wrote seventy volumes, most of their titles summoning apt alliteration's artful aid. They told of bootblacks and newsboys, from systematic personal observation in the streets of New York City. His simple and invariable formula scored— by pluck and perseverance his hero rose single-handed to fame and fortune. The books of all three writers aroused admiration for sterling qualities; but the more sophisticated boys of a later generation began to complain that the Optic and Alger books were all alike, and conscientious librarians began to see that in them the element of luck was overemphasized. Two other writers grew very popular before the trend at the close of the century toward the study of adolescent psychology and adolescent citizenship discovered something pernicious in action unaccompanied by reflection and analysis. These were Harry Castlemon and Edward S. Ellis. The former revelled in exciting and incredible adventures upon unrecognizable frontiers, and the latter yarned blithely of hunting and Indians without a thought of preparing boys for social service.

Meanwhile, writers more serious in purpose had been following the historical and biographical trail of Goodrich and Abbott, bringing to it more literary nicety and greater research. An early contemporary of the two had been John Frost (1800– 59), a forgotten schoolmaster whose one hundred juveniles sold by the ton in his day and were republished as late as 1890. John Abbott (Jacob's brother), followed by James Parton, Elbridge Brooks, E. E. Hale, and Hezekiah Butterworth, made important contributions to the new department of biography for children. These and other writers, among them Edward Eggleston1 and George Cary Eggleston, began also to combine history and fiction so well that the reader did not know where one left off and the other began. This species they developed more successfully than did their extremely popular English rivals, Henty and his school. Their fiction was more credible and their background more accurate. Charles Carleton Coffin's historical series from colonial times to the close of the

1 See also Book III, Chap. XI.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Warren (Illinois, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1890 AD (1)
1800 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: