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
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.
©1995, 2000, 2004 by
James D. Keeline
All Rights Reserved.