Edward Stratemeyer was born on October 4, 1862, to German émigrés Henry Julius Stratemeyer and Anna Stratemeyer. Anna was the widow of George, Henry’s brother, and had three sons with him. After Anna and Henry married, they had three children together; Edward was the youngest. It seems that all the siblings were artistically gifted in some way, but they lived very normal, if slightly privileged, lives. Edward grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where his father owned and operated a tobacco store. The family was comfortable, cultured, and completely apolitical. The Stratemeyer boys worked in their father’s store.
Edward Stratemeyer was educated in public schools. He once told a friend that he had known from the age of six that he wanted to be an author. He graduated from Elizabeth High School as valedictorian of his class of three. After high school, he received some private tutoring while working in his brother’s tobacco store and writing for story papers. In 1889, with “Victor Horton’s Idea,” Stratemeyer crossed the bridge from sensationalist literature to a more respectable kind. He moved the family home to Newark, New Jersey, and in 1891, he married Magdalene “Lenna” Van Camp. Though Lenna was an invalid, she helped edit Stratemeyer’s books.
Soon after his marriage, Stratemeyer went to work freelancing for Street and Smith Publishers, and from that experience, he learned much about the management and organization of his future syndicate. However, Stratemeyer’s greatest accomplishment would prove to be Harriet, his elder daughter, who was born on December 11, 1892. Edna, his second daughter, was born on May 19, 1895.
Sometime around 1905, Stratemeyer began implementing the organization of his syndicate by hiring authors to turn his outlines into complete books under the...
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