Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Francis Rolt-Wheeler and the Boys of Long Ago Series

As noted yesterday, Francis Rolt-Wheeler was the author of six juvenile series. Three were published by Lothrop, Lee and Shepard- The U.S. Service Series (20 volumes), the Museum Series (9 volumes), and the Wonder of War Series (4 volumes). Two series were published By George Doran- Round the World with the Boy Journalists ( 5 volumes) and a three volume series published by Appleton. Although the latter series has no formal name , the books are referred to as telling stories of "Boys of Long Ago". Thus I have taken the liberty of calling this series-The Boys of Long Ago Series.

In regard to completion of these series in dust jackets, the U.S. Service Series is probably the easiest but because it has by far the most books can be somewhat expensive and time consuming. Of the Lothrop Lee and Shepard series, I think the Museum Series and the Wonder of War Series are at about the same degree of difficulty.

The books of the two George Doran published series are tougher to find than the Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Series. They must have had lower print runs. Certainly George Doran is not a household name in the homes of juvenile series collectors.
In fact the only other other that Mattson lists published by Doran is the two volume -Boys at the Front in the Great War Series by Captain Allan Grant. This latter series was published in 1915. Books from this series are among the rarest of all series books.

Probably the most difficult of the 6 series to complete in dust jackets is the Appleton series- Boys of Long Ago. Although the print runs of these books seem to be more than many of the Appleton series books of this era, finding these volumes in dust jackets is still difficult. The only copies I have seen have all had the number 1 in parentheses on the last page of text which indicates a first printing. I have not seen a later printing for any of the books. Thus , their rarity may be indicative of being part of only one print run.

The three books:
1. The Finder of Fire 1927
2. The Tamer of Herds 1928
3. The Pyramid Builder 1929

Each book documents the adventures of a boy in 1. cave man days, 2. 8000 years ago in ancient Chaldea and 3. Early Egypt.

The dust jackets as are pictured here have book appropriate multi colored pictorial pictures. The book cover has the title and author as well as a small picture which is relevant to the book.

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