Stratemeyer Syndicate

Oversaw ghostwriters for many lines of children’s books, including The Hardy Boys, The Bobsey Twins, The Ted Scott Flying Series, Nancy Drew, and others. Founded and run by Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930) [more], a writer himself who’d created The Rover Boys series for boys. As ideas and plots for various series books came to him much faster than he could possibly write them he had the idea to industrialize it, creating many childrens series books by contracting writers for work-for-hire based on the various outlines, plots and notes that he provided. The first series to be produced in this manner were The Bobbsey Twins series (first book in the series was actually written by Stratemeyer himself in 1904; the first sequels came in 1907); eventually the Syndicate branched out to various mystery and action-adventure series. [wikipedia] [Keeline’s] [google] [Jan 2009 blog article] [more]

Although some of the series books were very popular, they were not always (or immediately) so. Stratemeyer researcher and collector James D. Keeline analyzed the early sales figures of the Franklin W. Dixon books. [more]

Stratemeyer is the subject of Edward Stratemeyer and the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Deidre Johnson (Twayne’s United States Authors Series 1993). [buy]

Syndicate authors included Lilian Garis and her husband, Howard R. Garis; Mildred Wirt; Leslie McFarlane. [more]

Mildred Wirt

Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson (1905-2002) wrote the Nancy Drew series as “Carolyn Keene.” Lived in Cleveland and later Toledo, Ohio. [obit] [timeline] [bio] [profile] [wikipedia] [1993 photo]

The Mildred Wirt Benson Digital Collection

Leslie McFarlane and The Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys series by “Franklin W. Dixon” was ghostwritten by Leslie McFarlane (1902-1977), a Canadian writer. [google] His life and work was eventually detailed in The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Marilyn S. Greenwald (Ohio University Press 2004): “Embarrassed by his secret identity as the author of the Hardy Boys books, Leslie McFarlane admitted it to no one — his son pried the truth out of him years later.”

James D. Keeline’s “The Writings of Charles Leslie McFarlane“ (illustrated)

The Man Who Was Leslie McFarlane

A reluctant author of bestsellers

Remembering Hardy Boys author Leslie McFarlane (CBC broadcast and radio interview, Oct. 7, 1972)

Library acquires first editions of Hardy Boys books” has an early don’t-miss photo of McFarlane

The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page

The Hardy Boys, an illustrated article.

First published on February 27th, 2009 at 3:01 pm (EST) and last modified on March 2nd, 2009 at 1:17 pm (EST).