Series Book Magazine Index

A subject index of hobby journals which feature articles on juvenile series books.

©2000 by James D. Keeline.


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Dime Novel Round-Up Newsboy Tutter Bugle
Boys' Book Collector Boy's Book Buff
Mystery & Adventure Series Review Yellowback Library
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Thousands of children have read series books and hundreds of adults remember them and collect them today.  As these collectors found each other, they began to produce newsletters and magazines to share information about their books and to trade them.  Some of these publications were produced on slick paper and contained photos of scarce series books, while others were typewritten and photocopied.

These magazines contain articles which describe series, identify scarce books, reprint scarce articles from other sources, identify ghostwriters and pseudonyms used, and give biographical information about the authors and illustrators of series books.  In short, they are a gold mine of information for both new and seasoned collectors and researchers.  Although the articles were generally written by fans of a series rather than by professional or academic scholars, the articles often contain information which is more accurate than other sources or simply unfindable elsewhere.

Until recently, children's literature has been largely ignored in academic circles.  Slowly, over the past two decades it has received greater attention and respect.  However, the subject of juvenile series books is still not covered thoroughly in standard library resources and much of the information which can be found in those sources is notorious for inaccuracies and outright falsehoods, repropagating myths which have been convincingly disproven by dilligent researchers.

Many series books were produced under pseudonyms which disguised the true author's name.  In nearly every case, the first published information identifying the authorship of these books has appeared in one of these amateur publications.  For example, Mildred A. Wirt Benson, the principal ghostwriter for the Nancy Drew series was known to collectors long before she was featured on National television news programs which covered the 1993 Nancy Drew Conference at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Despite the quality of information, these publications are carried by few libraries; the subscribers were mainly collectors and booksellers who were interested in this genre.  As a result, academic researchers looking into these series now are generally unaware of the previous scholarship which was published in these magazines.

These publications were also only occasionally indexed which makes access to this information difficult.  This index was first prepared in 1994 as a printed Excel spreadsheet to address this access situation.  As more and more people use the Internet to gain information on these books, an online version of the information is the obvious solution.  Below is a list of the publications which are indexed, arranged in chronological order from the publication date of each magazine's first issue.

  • The Dime Novel Round-Up.  This publication was begun in 1931 by Ralph Cummings, the head of a "Happy Hour Brotherhood" of collectors of dime novels, nickel weeklies, story papers and British penny dreadfuls.  Some of the subscribers in the early years were either dime novel authors themselves or people who had interviewed the authors.  As a result, the publication has information which can be found nowhere else. 

    Over the years the coverage was expanded to include pulp magazines and juvenile series books.  It is currently published six times a year for a U.S. subscription price of $20.00 (P.O. Box 226, Dundas, MN 55019).  The editorship has been continued by Edward T. LeBlanc and now by J.  Randolph Cox.  It is considered by many to be the longest-running fan magazine in continuous publication.  It is indexed in the Modern Language Association's International Bibliography because of its scholarly content.

    The following issues have been indexed:  501 (1974); 512 (1975); 524, 525 (1977); 530, 531, 532, 534 (1978); 535, 536, 537, 539, 540 (1979); 541, 542, 543, 544, 545 (1980); 548, 549, 550, 551 (1981); 552, 554, 556, 557, 558 (1982); 560, 561 (1983); 566, 567, 569 (1984); 571, 572, 574, 576 (1985); 577, 578, 580, 581, 582 (1986); 585, (1987); 592, 593 (1988); 595, 598, 599, 600 (1989); 601, 602, 603 (1990).

  • Newsboy.  This is the official newsletter of the Horatio Alger Society, a group of collectors interested in the life and works of the author who virtually invented the American "rags-to-riches" story and refined it to a high degree by telling essentially the same story many times over.  The Society and its publication have been around since 1964.  To reflect an evolving membership, the scope of the publication has been expanded in the 1990s to include boys' series books which were published prior to 1950.  Like The Dime Novel Round-Up, this publication is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography.  The current subscription rate (including membership in the Society) for six issues is $20.00.  The current editor is William R. Gowen.

    The following issues have been indexed:  29:3 (1991); 30:1-6 (1992); 31:1,2,3,5 (1993); 32:2,3,4,5,6 (1994); 33:1 (1995).

  • The Tutter Bugle.  This publication was founded by Robert L. Johnson in 1967 for fans of the writings of Edward Edson Lee, popularly known under his "Leo Edwards" pen name.  These humorous boys' stories were published in the 1920s and 1930s by Grosset & Dunlap and were very popular at the time.  The illustrations on most volumes by Bert N. Salg are as memorable as the stories in many cases.  The publication was paused for a year and then resumed, starting again with volume 1, issue 1.  In this list, the first run is identified with a "I" and the second by a "II" in the issue number.  The publication ceased in 1975.

    The following issues have been indexed:  Series I: 1:1 (1967); 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 2:1 (1968); 2:2, 2:3, 2:4, 2:5 (1969); 3:1, 3:5 (1970); 4:1, (1971); Series II: 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 (1973); 1:4, 2:1, 2:2, 2:3, 2:4, 2:5 (1974); 2:6 (1975).

  • The Boys' Book Collector.   This magazine was published on slick paper with good quality photos.  Many of the articles were reprinted from The Dime Novel Round-Up.  Only thirteen issues of this periodical were published by Alan Dikty between 1970 and 1974.

    All thirteen issues are indexed.

  • The Boy's Book Buff.  In contrast with The Boys' Book Collector, this publication was typed and photocopied.  This format, along with a small subscriber base, makes it difficult to find.  It featured articles on some series which were not covered in detail elsewhere though the articles are geared more for the collector than the scholar.  Seven issues were published between 1977 and 1978 by Robert Jennings of Dudley, Massachusetts.

    All seven issues are indexed.

  • The Mystery and Adventure Series Review.  This publication was begun in 1980 by Fred Woodworth.  It has had an irregular publication schedule and is currently published once or twice a year.  The subscription rate is $25 for four issues (P.O. Box 3488, Tucson, AZ 85722).  The articles are generally of good quality and cover series books from the 1920s through the 1960s, particularly those which were not produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

    The following issues have been indexed:  1 (June 1980) through 26 (September 1993).

  • The Yellowback Library.  Begun as a semi-monthly in January 1981, this publication is now produced monthly by Gil O'Gara (P.O. Box 36172, Des Moines, IA 50315) at a subscription rate of $30.00 per year for U.S. residents.  This is the best resource of information on juvenile series books.  Unpaid endorsement:  If you can only subscribe to one publication, this is the one.

    The following issues are indexed:  1 (January 1981) through 128 (February 1995).

Most of the issues indexed are in my personal collection either as an original issue or a photocopy.  If you find an article of interest, you should first try to contact the editor of that publication to see if a back issue or photocopy of the article can be acquired.  Some editors will not honor your request unless you are a subscriber or accompany your request with an offer to subscribe.  If you have exhausted all reasonable efforts to get the publication from your library, through inter-library loan, or from the editor of the magazine, please contact me and I will see if the issue in question is in my collection.

It is also important to note that the index is not complete.  Little work has been done on this index since 1994 so recent issues are not covered thoroughly.  Many of the early issues of the oldest publication featuring some series book articles, The Dime Novel Round-Up, remain unindexed as well.  I hope to rectify this in the near future as I obtain missing issues and use time to extract the desired information from them.

My initial purpose in creating this index was to make the random bits of knowledge spread across approximately 1,000 issues of these publications and transform it into organized information which could be readily accessed.  In addition to writing articles on series books and participating in Internet listservs and usenet groups on the topic, I am also the current area chair for a section in the Popular Culture Association which specializes in dime novels, pulp magazines, and juvenile series books.  I also have two book-length projects on series books which are in various degrees of completion.  One of these will be a self-published booklet of approximately 100 pages which will provide information on The Stratemeyer Syndicate Ghostwriters, hence its title.  The other, larger, project is my Series Book Encyclopedia which will feature around 500 pages of alphabetic entries for major and minor fiction series and the people who created them.  This book will be published by a library-oriented publisher so that if it is successful in that marketplace, we can finally begin to reverse the spread of misinformation on this highly influential area of children's literature.  If you would like to see a sample of the Encyclopedia, follow the link to the Adobe Acrobat document with sample entries from the "A" section.

©2000 by James D. Keeline. All Rights Reserved.