Who Wrote the Bobbsey Twins?

by James D. Keeline

The Bobbsey Twins series is probably the longest-running juvenile book series of all time.  The first book was published in 1904 and new volumes were added as late as 1992.  Authorship for this series may be determined from primary documents in the Nancy Axelrad Papers within the Beinecke Collection at Yale University and the Stratemeyer Syndicate Records Collection at New York Public Library.

A version of this information was previously published in Yellowback Library in September 1994 before the NYPL collection was available to researchers.  This version contains some corrections to the previous data and reflects the best current knowledge for the authorship of this series.

1 Bobbsey Twins; or, Merry Days Indoors and Out  1904

The original text of this volume was written personally by Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930) in April 1904 and published by Mershon later that year.

This is somewhat unusual because there are very few times when Stratemeyer personally wrote one volume and had the series continued by ghostwriters.  One other example of this type is the Dave Fearless series where Stratemeyer is believed to have written the initial volume, Rival Ocean Divers, because it was published as a serial in a periodical.

One other example is the first mystery story published under the "Chester K. Steele" name, The Mansion of Mystery(Cupples & Leon, 1911), which was rewritten by Stratemeyer from one of his "Ed Strayer" mysteries in the Old Cap. Collier "dime novels" in the 1890s. The other "Steele" mysteries were written by ghostwriters, including writers who worked on the Bobbsey Twins and others.

2 Bobbsey Twins in the Country 1907 3 Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore 1907

Although initially thought to be the work of Edward Stratemeyer, these books are now attributed to Lilian C. Garis (1873-1954) through signed releases on file in the Stratemeyer Syndicate Records Collection at New York Public Library.  Lilian was the wife of Howard R. Garis, the Syndicate's most prolific ghostwriter. She was a newspaper reporter for the Newark Evening News and author of many books under her own name, mostly after her Syndicate work.

It is believed that these two titles and a reprint of the first volume were published by Chatterton-Peck in 1907.  However, very few copies were sold and copies of Bobbsey Twins books actually published by (not merely with a copyright message which mentions) Mershon, Stitt (circa 1905), or Chatterton-Peck are extremely scarce.

So far, only the first and second titles have been seen in Chatterton-Peck editions. It is quite possible that, despite the copyright date of 1907 for Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore, that it was not actually issued by Chatterton-Peck. Grosset & Dunlap issued some books in the C-P format using existing page stock after the transfer in 1908.

4 Bobbsey Twins at School 1913
5 Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge 1913
6 Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat 1915
7 Bobbsey Twins at Meadowbrook 1915
8 Bobbsey Twins at Home 1916
9 Bobbsey Twins in a Great City 1917
10 Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island 1917
11 Bobbsey Twins on the Deep Blue Sea 1918
12 Bobbsey Twins in Washington 1919
13 Bobbsey Twins in the Great West 1920
14 Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp 1921
15 Bobbsey Twins at the County Fair 1922
16 Bobbsey Twins Camping Out 1923
17 Bobbsey Twins and Baby May 1924
18 Bobbsey Twins Keeping House 1925
19 Bobbsey Twins at Clover Bank 1926
20 Bobbsey Twins at Cherry Corners 1927
21 Bobbsey Twins and their Schoolmates 1928
22 Bobbsey Twins Treasure Hunting 1929
23 Bobbsey Twins at Spruce Lake 1930
24 Bobbsey Twins Wonderful Secret 1931
25 Bobbsey Twins at the Circus 1932
26 Bobbsey Twins on an Airplane Trip 1933
27 Bobbsey Twins Solve a Mystery 1934
28 Bobbsey Twins on a Ranch 1935

Howard R. Garis (1873-1962) was the principal author of most of the early volumes of the series.  Garis was the Syndicate's most prolific ghostwriter with more than 315 books to his credit, including popular series like the Motor Boys, Tom Swift, Baseball Joe, etc.

Volume 24 (in 1931) lists both Howard R. Garis and another writer, Margery Howard.  Harriet S. Adams (1892-1982) is listed as having written the outline for volumes 25 and 26. The outline for volume 28 was supplied by Edna Camilla Squier (1895-1974).

Garis did write one additional title in 1948.  Beginning in late-1931 and throughout 1932, Howard R. Garis worked less and less with the Syndicate as Stratemeyer's daughters gained confidence in running the Syndicate.  With the exception of a Bobbsey Twins volume published in 1948, his last Syndicate volumes were published in 1935.

29 Bobbsey Twins in Eskimo Land 1936
30 Bobbsey Twins in a Radio Play 1937
31 Bobbsey Twins at Windmill Cottage 1938
32 Bobbsey Twins at Lighthouse Point 1939
33 Bobbsey Twins at Indian Hollow 1940
34 Bobbsey Twins at the Ice Carnival 1941
35 Bobbsey Twins in the Land of Cotton 1942

The author for the Bobbsey Twins during this period was Elizabeth M. Duffield Ward (1895-1983).  She wrote about 71 manuscripts for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, including volumes in the Outdoor Girls series in 1916.  Her father, John W. Duffield, also wrote for the Syndicate.  Outlines for volumes 30, 33, and 35 were supplied by Harriet S. Adams, while the others came from Edna Squier.

36 Bobbsey Twins in Echo Valley 1943
37 Bobbsey Twins on the Pony Trail 1944
38 Bobbsey Twins at Mystery Mansion 1945

After Edna Squier moved to Florida with her husband and child, she became an inactive partner and Harriet S. Adams began to run the Syndicate largely on her own with a secretary and hired writers outside of the office.  Harriet wrote these three volumes from her own outlines.

39 Bobbsey Twins at Sugar Maple Hill 1946

Harriet wanted to keep the Syndicate in the family and encouraged her children to write for the Syndicate.  The first 14 chapters of this book were written by her daughter, Camilla Anne McClave (1923-).  Harriet supplied the outline and completed the manuscript.  Camilla also wrote part of a Honey Bunch volume, a Bobbsey Twins short story for one of the Bobbsey Twins Annuals and an unpublished Dana Girls manuscript.

40 Bobbsey Twins in Mexico 1947
Harriet S. Adams wrote this volume based upon her own outline.
41 Bobbsey Twins Toy Shop 1948

Howard R. Garis introduced Andrew E. Svenson (1910-1975) to the Syndicate in 1947.  At this same time Garis was asked to write a Bobbsey Twins volume based on an outline by Harriet Adams.

42 Bobbsey Twins in Tulip Land 1949

Harriet S. Adams wrote this volume from her own outline.

43 Bobbsey Twins in Rainbow Valley 1950

Andrew Svenson wrote this book.  His first assignments for the Syndicate included writing volumes in the Mel Martin baseball series.  In later years, he supervised the boys' series, like Tom Swift Jr. and the Hardy Boys, and created his own series, the Happy Hollisters, for the Syndicate.

44 Bobbsey Twins Own Little Railroad 1951
45 Bobbsey Twins at Whitesail Harbor 1952
46 Bobbsey Twins and the Horseshoe Riddle 1953
47 Bobbsey Twins at Big Bear Pond 1953
48 Bobbsey Twins on a Bicycle Trip 1954

Harriet S. Adams wrote these volumes from her own outlines.

49 Bobbsey Twins Own Little Ferryboat 1956
50 Bobbsey Twins at Pilgrim Rock 1957
51 Bobbsey Twins Forest Adventure 1958

Andrew Svenson wrote these volumes based on Harriet's outlines.

52 Bobbsey Twins at London Tower 1959
53 Bobbsey Twins in the Mystery Cave 1960
54 Bobbsey Twins in Volcano Land 1961
55 Bobbsey Twins and the Goldfish Mystery 1962
56 Bobbsey Twins and the Big River Mystery 1963
57 Bobbsey Twins and the Greek Hat Mystery 1964
58 Bobbsey Twins Search for the Green Rooster 1965
59 Bobbsey Twins and their Camel Adventure 1966

A Syndicate employee, June M. Dunn wrote the outlines and manuscripts to these volumes and rewrote several others including the first three volumes of the series in 1961.  Harriet S. Adams edited the manuscripts.

60 Bobbsey Twins Mystery of the King's Puppet 1967
61 Bobbsey Twins and the Secret of Candy Castle 1968
62 Bobbsey Twins and the Doodlebug Mystery 1969
63 Bobbsey Twins and the Talking Fox Mystery 1970
64 Bobbsey Twins and the Red, White and Blue Mystery 1971
65 Bobbsey Twins Dr. Funnybone's Secret 1972

Grace Grote was another Syndicate employee who wrote the synopsis and manuscripts these volumes. Harriet Adams edited the manuscripts.

66 Bobbsey Twins and the Tagalong Giraffe 1973
67 Bobbsey Twins and the Flying Clown 1974

Andrew E. Svenson wrote these volumes based upon outlines from Grace Grote.

68 Bobbsey Twins on the Sun-Moon Cruise 1975
69 Bobbsey Twins The Freedom Bell Mystery 1976
70 Bobbsey Twins and the Smoky Mountain Mystery 1977
71 Bobbsey Twins in a TV Mystery Show 1978
72 Bobbsey Twins and the Coral Turtle Mystery 1979

Syndicate partner, Nancy S. Axelrad, wrote the outlines and manuscripts to these volumes.  Volumes 68 and 69 were edited by Harriet Adams.  Volume 68 was written after Nancy and Harriet took a cruise off the coast of Africa to observe a solar eclipse.  Volume 69 was an obvious tribute to the American Bicentennial.  Volume 71 was written around the time that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew appeared on television and was written with assistance from the television show producers.

Who Rewrote the Bobbsey Twins?

As times changed, stories became outdated in subject matter and social content.  It became necessary to revise the stories to make them acceptable to a new generation of readers.  Beginning in 1950, the stories in the series were revised and in many cases, substantially rewritten.  Volumes 1-3 were revised in 1950 by Harriet S. Adams and again in 1961-62 as listed below.

1 Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport 1961
2 Bobbsey Twins' Adventure in the Country 1961
3 Bobbsey Twins' Secret at the Seashore 1962
4 Bobbsey Twins' Mystery at School 1962

June Dunn wrote the outline and manuscript for these volumes. Harriet S. Adams edited the manuscript and rewrote portions of volume 2. Lynn Ealer helped to edit volume 4.

5 Bobbsey Twins and the Mystery at Snow Lodge 1960

Mary Ann Donahoe wrote the outline and manuscript. Nancy Rae Cragie and Patricia Doll edited the manuscript. June Dunn rewrote the manuscript. Harriet S. Adams edited and revised the manuscript.

6 Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat 1955

Mary Ann Donahoe wrote the outline and Patricia Doll wrote the new manuscript. Harriet S. Adams did some editing and rewriting.

7 Bobbsey Twins' Mystery at Meadowbrook 1963

June Dunn wrote the outline and the manuscript. Andrew E. Svenson edited the outline. Harriet S. Adams edited the manuscript.

8 Bobbsey Twins' Big Adventure at Home 1960

Bonibel B. Weston wrote the manuscript. Harriet S. Adams edited the manuscript and wrote out suggestions for revision. Jocelyn Starzyk revised the manuscript.

9 Bobbsey Twins' Search in the Great City 1960

June Dunn wrote the outline based upon the old story. Bonibel Weston wrote the manuscript. June Dunn rewrote the manuscript. June Dunn and Harriet S. Adams edited the manuscript.

10 Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island 1959

Bonibel B. Weston wrote the manuscript; Harriet S. Adams edited.

11 Bobbsey Twins' Mystery on the Deep Blue Sea 1965
12 Bobbsey Twins' Adventure in Washington 1963
13 Bobbsey Twins' Visit to the Great West 1966
14 Bobbsey Twins and the Cedar Camp Mystery 1967

June Dunn wrote the outline and manuscripts for these volumes.  Harriet S. Adams edited for volumes 11-13.  For volume 14, Grace Grote and Jocelyn Starzyk edited.  Andrew E. Svenson rewrote the first chapter.  Jane Sanderson rewrote the outline and manuscript.  Grace Grote edited the new manuscript.

15 Bobbsey Twins and the County Fair Mystery 1960

Bonibel B. Weston rewrote these volumes. Harriet S. Adams edited the manuscript.

16 Bobbsey Twins Camping Out 1955

Mary Ann Donahoe and Andrew E. Svenson wrote the outline and manuscript; Harriet S. Adams edited.

17 Bobbsey Twins' Adventures with Baby May 1968

June Dunn wrote an outline and manuscript.  Grace Grote wrote a new ("substitute") outline and manuscript.

18 Bobbsey Twins and the Play House Secret 1968
19 Bobbsey Twins and the Four-Leaf Clover Mystery 1968
20 Bobbsey Twins' Mystery at Cherry Corners 1971

Grace Grote wrote the outlines and manuscripts to these volumes along with many other original stories as mentioned above. Harriet S. Adams did some rewriting on volume 18. Grace Grote edited volume 19.

Volumes 21-23 (originally by Howard R. Garis) were not rewritten.

24 Bobbsey Twins' Wonderful Winter Secret 1962

June Dunn, a Syndicate employee, rewrote these volumes as well as writing the stories previously mentioned.

25 Bobbsey Twins and the Circus Surprise 1960
Patricia Doll rewrote these volumes.  Jocelyn Starzyk revised Doll's manuscript; Harriet S. Adams edited.

Who Wrote the Wanderer Bobbseys?

In 1979, the Stratemeyer Syndicate moved its publishing rights to Simon & Schuster, the company that would later purchase the Syndicate in 1984. These new volumes were published under the Wanderer imprint.

1 Bobbsey Twins: The Blue Poodle Mystery 1980

Nancy Axelrad wrote the outline and the manuscript for this volume.

2 Bobbsey Twins: The Secret in the Pirate's Cave 1980
3 Bobbsey Twins: The Dune Buggy Mystery 1980
4 Bobbsey Twins: The Missing Pony Mystery 1980

Andrew E. Svenson wrote these volumes originally as stories in the Tolliver series (published by World in 1967) about a black family similar to Svenson's other creation, the Happy Hollisters (1953-1970). The three Tolliver stories were edited and rewritten into the Bobbsey Twins stories by Nancy Axelrad and another Syndicate partner, Lilo Wuenn.

5 Bobbsey Twins: The Rose Parade Mystery 1981

Paul Thomason wrote this volume based upon an outline by Nancy Axelrad (who also edited the manuscript).

6 Bobbsey Twins: The Camp Fire Mystery 1982

Nancy Axelrad wrote the outline and the manuscript for this volume. It was edited by Lilo Wuenn.

7 Bobbsey Twins: Double Trouble 1982

Paul Thomason wrote this volume based upon an outline by Nancy Axelrad.

8 Bobbsey Twins: Mystery of the Laughing Dinosaur 1983

Nancy Axelrad wrote the synopsis.  Karen Lindsay wrote the outline and manuscript.  Richard Ballad rewrote the manuscript.  Nancy Axelrad and Lilo Wuenn edited the manuscript.

9 Bobbsey Twins: The Music Box Mystery 1983
10 Bobbsey Twins: The Ghost in the Computer 1984

Nancy Axelrad wrote synopsis.  James Duncan Lawrence (1918-1994) wrote the outline and manuscript for these volumes but turned in the manuscripts under the "Sherry Lemmon" name because he feared that the Syndicate would not allow a man to write books in the Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew series. Nancy Axelrad edited the volumes.

11 Bobbsey Twins: The Scarecrow Mystery 1984

Authorship of this volume was not recorded in the Beinecke papers nor in the NYPL collection.

12 Bobbsey Twins: The Haunted House Mystery 1985

Mike McQuay, a science fiction writer, wrote this volume. He was paid $3,000.

13 Bobbsey Twins: The Mystery of the Hindu Temple 1985
14 Bobbsey Twins: The Gargoyle Mystery 1986
Authorship of these volumes were not recorded in the Beinecke papers nor in the NYPL collection.


©1994, 2000, 2001, 2004 by James D. Keeline.  Please do not use this information without contacting me first.  Updated 23 September 2004.