Wednesday, August 26, 2009

American Boys Series by Lee and Shepard

These are the Format 1
book covers

Yesterday I talked about the Live Boys Series published by Lee and Shepard. One of the profound things about that two book series is the price the books command.
When I mentioned that these two titles appeared in several of the Lee and Shepard publisher's series, I was reminded how easy it is to be fooled when purchasing on line even when you have a picture

This is the Format 2 cover with a dust jacket.

What I though I would do is show what I mean using the American Boys Series as an example. This series ran from 1898 to 1906. There were 100 titles and all were reprints of previously published Lee and Shepard books. The series began with 25 titles and new volumes were added almost every year. Although each of the formats state the American Boys Series somewhere on the cover or spine, some of the books have no publication dates within the book or in the ads. Instead only the original copyright appears on the copyright page.

So it is possible that a buyer may purchase a book which he/she thinks is a first or early edition yet is really just a late reprint. Now in fairness some of the American Boys Series books do list a date that books were added to the series but the other publishers' series generally list only the original copyright date. Those other series include Mayflower Series for Girls, Pilgrims Series for Boys. Star Series, Choice Adventure Series and Norwood Series and the Patriotic Series for Boys and Girls.
So you buy an Optic, Kellogg, Morecamp, DeMille, Kingston, Optic, etc, authored book advertised as an original early book and you get stuck.

Here is an example of a sale's ad from a book search site:

Up the North Branch or A Summer's Outing Being the Record of a Camping-Out Trip Up the North Branch of the Penobscot and Down the St. John River Through the Wilds of Maine and New Brunswick, By Members of the "Lake and Forest Club"
Farrar, Capt. Charles A. J.
Lee and Shepard, 1888. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Red/yellow/tan/black illustrated boards showing boy with bicycle, young man in graduation cap and gown with steamer ship in yellow background. $250

This is the Format 3 Dust jacket cover.

You will note that the description above matches the second format of the American Boys Series described below. It is book #84 and was published between 1902-1904.
Value maybe $10-15 not $250. Buyer beware!!

The American Boys Series formats are shown here. They all were dust jacketed.
I have seen three formats. The first was used from 1898 to 1901 when the first 65 books were published. The second format was published between 1902 and 1905 and books 66 -95 were added. Format 3 was published in 1906 when books numbered 96-100 were published. (The 1906 books were Lothrop, Lee and Shepard books)

As times goes on I will go over all the other Lee and Shepard publisher's series.

New Titles for 1898- #1-25
1. Adrift in the Ice Fields- Capt. Chas. W. Hall
2. All Aboard, or Life on the Lake- Oliver Optic
3. Ark of Elm Island- Elijah Kellogg
4. Arthur Brown the Young Captain- Elijah Kellogg
5. Boat Club- Oliver Optic
6. Boy Farmers of Elm Island- Elijah Kellogg
7. Boys of Grand Pre School- Proof. James DeMille
8. B.O.W.C.- Prof. James DeMille
9. Brought to the Front- Elijah Kellogg
10. Burying the Hatchet- Elijah Kellogg
11. Cast Away in the Cold- Dr. Isaac I. Hayes
12. Charlie Bell the Waif of Elm Island- Elijah Kellogg
13. Child of the Island Glen- Elijah Kellogg
14. Crossing the Quicksands- Samuel W. Cozzens
15. Cruise of the Casco- Elijah Kellogg
16. Fire in the Woods- Prof. James DeMille
17. Fisher Boys of Pleasant Cove- Elijah Kellogg
18. Forest Glen- Elijah Kellogg
19. Good Old Times- Elijah Kellogg
20. Handscrabble of Elm Island- Elijah Kellogg
21. Haste or Waste- Oliver Optic
22. Hope and Have- Oliver Optic
23. In School and Out- Oliver Optic
24. John Godsoe’s Legacy- Elijah Kellogg
25. Just His Luck- Oliver Optic

26. Lion Ben of Elm Island- Elijah Kellogg
27. Little by Little- Oliver Optic
28. Live Oak Boys- Elijah Kellogg
29. Lost in the Fog- Prof. James DeMille
30. Mission of the Black Rifle- Elijah Kellogg
31. Now or Never- Oliver Optic
32. Poor and Proud- Oliver Optic
33. Rich and Humble- Oliver Optic
34. Sophomores of Radcliffe- Elijah Kellogg
35. Sowed by the Wind- Elijah Kellogg
36. Spark of Genius- Elijah Kellogg
37. Stout Heart- Elijah Kellogg
38. Strong Arm and a Mother’s Blessing- Elijah Kellogg
39. Treasure of the Sea- Prof. James DeMille
40. Try Again- Oliver Optic
41. Turning of the Tide- Elijah Kellogg
42. Unseen Hand- Elijah Kellogg
43. Watch and Wait- Oliver Optic
44. Whispering Pine- Elijah Kellogg
45. Winning His Spurs- Elijah Kellogg
46. Wolf Run- Elijah Kellogg
47. Work and Win- Oliver Optic
48. Young Deliverers of Pleasant Cove- Elijah Kellogg
49. Young Shipbuilders of Elm Island- Elijah Kellogg
50. Young Trail Hunters- Samuel W. Cozzens

51. Field and Forest- Oliver Optic
52. Outward Bound- Oliver Optic
53. The Soldier Boy- Oliver Optic
54. The Starry Flag- Oliver Optic
55. Through by Daylight- Oliver Optic
56. Cruises with Captain Bob Around the Kitchen Fire- B. P. Shillaber
57. The Double-Runner Club- B. P. Shillaber
58. Ike Partington and His Friends- B. P. Shillaber
59. Locke Amsden the Schoolmaster- Judge D. P. Thompson
60. The Rangers- Judge D. P. Thompson

61. The Green Mountain Boys- Judge D. P. Thompson
62. A Missing Million- Oliver Optic
63. A Millionaire at Sixteen- Oliver Optic
64. A Young Knight Errant- Oliver Optic
65. Strange Sights Abroad- Oliver Optic

66. Facing the Enemy; Life of Gen. Sherman- P. C. Headley
67. Fight it Out on This Life; The Life and Deeds of Gen. Grant- P. C. Headley
68. Fighting Phil; The Life of Gen. Sheridan- P. C. Headley
69. Old Salamander; The Life of Admiral David Farragut- P.C. Headley
70. Old Stars; The Life of Gen. Mitchel- P. C. Headley
71. The Miner Boy and His Monitor; The Career of John Ericsson- P. C. Headley
72. The Young Silver Seekers- Samuel W. Cozzens
73. Drake the Sea King of Devon- George Makepeace Towle
74. Magellan- George Marepeace Towle
75. Marco Polo; His Travels and Adventures- George Makepeace Towle
76. Pizarro, His Adventures and Conquests- George Makepeace Towle
77. Raleigh, His Voyages and Adventures- George Makepeace Towle
78. Vasco de Gama- George Marepeace Towle
79. The Heroes and Martyrs of Invention- George Makepeace Towle
80. Live Boys- Arthur Morecamp
81. Live Boys in the Black Hills- Arthur Morecamp
82. Down the West Branch- Capt. C. A. J. Farrar
83. Eastwards Ho!- Capt. C. A. J. Farrar
84. Up the North Branch- Capt. C. A. J. Farrar
85. Wild Woods Life- Capt. C. A. J. Farrar

86. Child of the Tide- Mrs. E. D. Cheney
87. The Boys of Thirty-Five- E. H. Elwell
88. Perseverance Island- Douglas Frazar
89. Going West- Oliver Optic
90. Little Bobtail- Oliver Optic

91. Fore and Aft- Robert B. Dixon
92. Pocket Island- Charles Clark Munn
93. Donald’s School Days- Gen. O. O. Howard
94. Henry in the Way- Gen. O. O. Howard
95. All Adrift- Oliver Optic

96. Aguinaldo’s hostage- H. Irving Hancock
97. Six Young Hunters- W. Gordon Parker
98. Grant Burton- W. Gordon Parker
99. Rival Boy Sportsmen- W. Gordon Parker
100. Up the Baltic- Oliver Optic


  1. based on consistently excellent blog-posts like this, I hereby nominate you to be in charge of updating & re-issuing B.A.L. on-line w/ color photos....and if you prefer, why not just skip all the now obscure authors and just focus on the juvenile-related authors and their various early printings by different publishers, (such as these), with examples shown in the rare dust jackets...

  2. I have a copy of Down the West Branch that is copywritten 1886. Any idea why was it added to this series later?

  3. I found a copy of a book called Heros & martyrs of invention it is copyright dated 1890, and is titled with the "American Boys Series" as well as. The publisher is Lee, and Shepard. Any information on this book?

  4. I have a Mayflower series for girls by lee and shepherd in excellent condition. From 1870 can u tell me a value for this its blue cover with red or deep purple highlights actions speak louder than words