Saturday, August 1, 2009

Edward A. Rand- Author

Edward A. Rand (1837-1903) was a prolific writer of juvenile books in the latter half of the 19th century. He is another one of those authors whose works as well as his name have gone from great popularity to obscurity over the last century. Part of the reason is that his books were published (with a couple of exceptions) by some of the lesser lights of the publishing world (Whittaker, Methodist Book Concern, American Sunday School Union). Another reason is that his writing actually took second place in his life to his ministerial duties. And finally perhaps the lack of staying power is just based on the vagaries of collectors and their whims.

An argument can be made that his books are too moralistic but yet no more so than the boring tales of Rollo by Jacob Abbott , books which have gone through countless printings by numerous publishers. Many of his books are reasonably entertaining adventure stories but Elijah Kellogg, Optic, Castlemon, etc. are still collected and Rand is forgotten. Nonetheless, I thought some comments about Rand and his books would be of interest- now and in the future.

Edward A. Rand was born in Portsmouth. Like Jacob Abbott Rand graduated from Bowdoin College (37 years later in 1857). For several years he was a teacher and a principal at local high schools in Maine and New Hampshire. He graduated from the Bangor Theological School in 1863 and was ordained to the Congregational Ministry at that time. He served in Amesbury, Massachusetts from 1864-1867 and then in South Boston (1867-1876) and in Hyde Park. He moved to Watertown in 1880 and subsequently built the Church of the Good Shepard . He remained there the rest of his life.

He was active in numerous local organizations. Rand was one of the founders of the Watertown Historical Society in 1888. He acted as its president from 1891 until his death in 1903. He helped organize the Watertown Chapter of the Sons of the Revolution in 1898.

His wife, Mrs. Mary Frances Rand wrote several Christmas books. He had five children- four daughters and a son.

His books:
With the exception of a handful of non series fiction and non fiction books, Rand's literary output was mainly in the form of juvenile series books. A number of his books were reprinted in England by Nelson, Nisbet, Hutchinson and a few other publishers.

I am going to list the series here. As time goes on, I will highlight various series in this daily blog.
1. All Aboard Series- This two book travelogue series was published by more than 10 publishers
2. Bark Cabin Series (Out of School Series published by D. Lothrop and Company.
3. School and Camp Series- D. Lothrop and Company
4. Schooner on the Beach Series -American Sunday School Union
5. White Mountain Series- Thomas Whittaker
6. Fighting the Sea Series- Thomas Whittaker
7. Look Ahead Series - Thomas Whittaker
8. Margie Series- American Tract Series
9. Sailor-Boy Bob Series- Hunt and Eaton
10. Up the Ladder Club- Phillips and Hunt

His books appeared in these series which are multi authored types.
11, V.I.F. Series- D. Lothrop and Company
12. Imperial Series- American Tract Society
13. The Fifer Boy Series- Eaton and Mains- Rand wrote 5 of the 10 books.
14. Comrades Series- Union Press
15. Home College Series- Phillips and Hunt

The books pictured here all belong to different series.
As noted above, I think you can see that most of his series were published by lesser known publishers.