The Rover Boys
Series for Young Americans was a popular children's book
series of the early 20th century credited to "Arthur M. Winfield
", a pseudonym
for Edward Stratemeyer
. A total of 30 titles were published between 1899 and 1926 and the books remained in print for years afterward.
The original Rover Boys were brothers Tom, Sam, and Dick Rover. Their children (Fred, son of Sam Rover; Jack, son of Dick; Andy and Randy, twin sons of Tom) took over in the "Second Series" which began with Volume 21 "The Rover Boys at Colby Hall", published in 1917. The elder Rovers continued making appearances in the second series.
In addition, there was a related "Putnam Hall" series of six books that featured other characters from the first Rovers series although the Rovers themselves do not appear.
The Rovers were students at a military boarding school: adventurous, prank-playing, flirtatious, and often unchaperoned adolescents who were constantly getting into mischief and running afoul of authority figures as well as criminals.
The series often incorporated emerging technology of the era, such as the automobile, airplanes (The Rover Boys in the Air) and news events, such as World War I.
Like other juvenile fiction of the era, the books often utilized exaggerated ethnic stereotypes and dialect humor. Blacks, Germans , Italians, Chinese, and Irishmen were often portrayed in unflattering tones, though the books also had many heroic characters of these nationalities as well.
The legacy of the Rover Boys
- While often overshadowed by better-known and longer-running children's book series such as The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift, the Rovers were highly successful and enormously influential. They established the template for all later Stratemeyer Syndicate juvenile series to follow.
- It was Stratemeyer's first series, and one of his favorites. Stratemeyer did all of the writing himself, rather than hiring ghostwriters.
- The Rover Boys were parodied in a 1942 Warner Brothers cartoon as The Dover Boys. The characters from this Rovers parody would go on to appear in an Animaniacs cartoon in the 1990s.
- In the 1950s a vocal group named after the Rover Boys had a Top 20 hit single with the school-themed "Graduation Day".
- Over a million Rover Boys books were sold and the titles remained in print by Grosset & Dunlap and later Whitman for years after the final title was published. The most commonly encountered are the green and brown cover editions published by Grosset & Dunlap in the 1910s & 1920s.
- Three-quarters of a century after embarking on their final adventures, yellowed copies of the Rover Boys books can still be found in American thrift shops and flea markets to this day.
List Of Titles
- 01: The Rover Boys At School - 1899
- 02: The Rover Boys On The Ocean - 1899
- 03: The Rover Boys In the Jungle - 1899
- 04: The Rover Boys Out West - 1900
- 05: The Rover Boys On the Great Lakes - 1901
- 06: The Rover Boys In the Mountains - 1902
- 07: The Rover Boys On Land and Sea - 1903
- 08: The Rover Boys In Camp - 1904
- 09: The Rover Boys On the River - 1905
- 10: The Rover Boys On the Plains - 1906
- 11: The Rover Boys In Southern Waters - 1907
- 12: The Rover Boys On the Farm - 1908
- 13: The Rover Boys On Treasure Isle - 1909
- 14: The Rover Boys At College - 1910
- 15: The Rover Boys Down East - 1911
- 16: The Rover Boys In the Air - 1912
- 17: The Rover Boys In New York - 1913
- 18: The Rover Boys In Alaska - 1914
- 19: The Rover Boys In Business - 1915
- 20: The Rover Boys On a Tour - 1916
The Rover Boys Second Series
- 21: The Rover Boys At Colby Hall - 1917
- 22: The Rover Boys On Snowshoe Island - 1918
- 23: The Rover Boys Under Canvas - 1919
- 24: The Rover Boys On a Hunt - 1920
- 25: The Rover Boys In the Land of Luck - 1921
- 26: The Rover Boys At Big Horn Ranch - 1922
- 27: The Rover Boys At Big Bear Lake - 1923
- 28: The Rover Boys Shipwrecked - 1924
- 29: The Rover Boys On Sunset Trail - 1925
- 30: The Rover Boys Winning a Fortune - 1926
Some of these books are available for download free at Project Gutenberg.