Saturday, June 27, 2009

Edwin Houston and the North Pole Series

Edwin J. Houston (1847-1914) was the author of four juvenile series. His life's work was mainly as an educator. He was a high school teacher as well as an electrical inventor being one of the founders of Thomson-Houston Electric Company. In 1892 his Company merged with the Edison Electric Company to form General Electric. In addition to the juvenile series, he wrote numerous books in the 1890's and early 1900's about electricity In fact he penned more than 100 books in total. Because of his contributions to the field of electricity he was awarded an honorary PH.D. by Princeton University.
He was the chief electrician at the World's Fair in Chicago and twice was elected the President of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

Most of the books of his juvenile series' books are tough to find with or without dust jackets.

The series in discussion today is the North Pole Series published by the John C. Winston Company. Generally speaking most series book collectors really do not think of Winston as a major publisher. In fact, In the Mattson guide there are only 8 Winston Series. Winston was much more popular with juvenile readers with the various reprint series. This included the Roundabout Series (reprinted from the Henry Coates Series of the same name), Reprinted Edward Ellis Series, Alger Series, Castlemon Series and many others.

The three books of the North Pole Series were published in 1907 and sold individually as well as in a boxed set. It is doubtful they were reprinted. The covers are book appropriate to the stories within. All three books track the Henderson-Kransen North Polar Expedition. The intent of these books is to educate as well as provide interesting adventures. Each book has several glossy prints illustrated by Louis Dougherty.

As noted above they came in a boxed set at $3.00 and individually at $1.00. They all initially had dust jackets.

1. The Search for the North Pole
2. The Discovery of the North Pole
3. Cast Away at the North Pole

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