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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

As a huge fan of the Hardy Boys series in my youth, I was dismayed to learn in later years that the series was not the work of an individual but of a minor industry. A recent article in The New Yorker (November 8, 2004) provides even more information. Apparently, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and many other series were the brainchild of Edward Stratemeyer (see also). Typically, librarians were appalled by the concept and they rarely appeared in libraries, considering them tawdry (!) and sensationalist (heavens!), robbing the children of the opportunity to read books of moral value. Some educators argued years later that the books became "stepping-stones" to more sophisticated literature (certainly true on my case.) Some librarians of my acquaintance still have trouble buying books that might actually be entertaining. I loved Tom Swift and the Hardy brothers.
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