Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Edward Ellis Autographed Letter to Henry T. Coates

Edward S. Ellis was a very prolific author. He wrote both juvenile as well as historical novels. In addition, he wrote hundreds of dime novels.

His biography has been well outlined by others. The picture comes from the Wikipedia.

Today's comments are not to rehash his literary accomplishments but rather to focus on the letter presented here. This is a letter to Henry T. Coates in 1883. Coates at that time was one of the named partners in the Porter and Coates publishing firm located in Philadelphia. Years ago Denis Rogers , an Ellis biographer, wrote in the Dime Novel Round-up that Ellis had written over 450 major works. Rogers listed 160 books for juveniles. Of those, a number were published by Porter and Coates in series form.

The Porter and Coates Series included the Wyoming Series, the Deerfoot Series, the Log Cabin Series, the Wild Wood Series and the Boy Pioneer Series. Ellis also wrote a few non series books for Porter and Coates. These included the Life and Times of Daniel Boone and The Life of Col. David Crockett. Both of the latter books were part of the large multi volume multi Author Alta Series. Of interest is that the series books were $1.25.

Eight cents per $1.25 is a royalty of 6.4%. This appears to be the bottom line for Ellis without any bizarre add ons or calculation magic by Porter and Coates. Presently trade hardcover books give the author about 10% for the first number sold and the percentage escalates as sales go up. (I looked this up and I certainly could be wrong here). Nonetheless, Ellis was not breaking the bank on his book checks.

I was unable to locate any Porter and Coates books written by Ellis' pseudonym, Rollo Robbins.
Perhaps he planned to use this name for Porter and Coates and just never did.

I am including a couple of pictures of representative Porter and Coates' Ellis books.
I will discuss his books at later dates


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