Nelson the Newsboy: Ads

June 18, 2007

Nelson the Newsboy has a pretty nice selection of ads in the back. I transcribed a bunch of them because…well, I don’t know why. But I did.

First there’s a list of G.A. Henty titles, accompanied by this description:

G.A. Henty has long held the field as the most popular boys’ author. Age after age of heroic deeds has been the subject of his pen, and the knights of old seem very real in his pages. Always wholesome and manly, always heroic and of high ideals, his books are more than popular wherever the English language is spoken.

Of the forty or so books listed, I’ve read only two: With Clive in India; The Beginning of an Empire, and By Sheer Pluck; A Tale of the Ashantee War. The latter is among the more interesting Henty books, because Henty actually fought under Sir Garnet Wolseley in the Ashanti War, which took place around 1873 or 74, and wrote another, non-fiction, book about it. I know because I had to write a paper about it when I was a freshman. As you might imagine, I was very pleased to be able to call Henty research.

The next page is devoted to the Flag of Freedom Series, by Captain Ralph Bonehill, a Stratemeyer pseudonym:

WITH CUSTER IN THE BLACK HILLS; or, A Young Scout among the Indians

This is a complete story in itself, but forms the sixth and last volume of Captain Bonehill’s popular “Flag of Freedom” Series. It tells of the remarkable experiences of a youth who, with his parent, goes to the Black Hills in search of gold. Custer’s last battle is well describes. A volume every lad fond of Indian stories should posess.

BOYS OF THE FORT; or, A Young Captain’s Pluck

Captain Bonehill is at his best when relating a tale of military adventure, and this story of stirring doings at one of our well-known forts in the Willd West is of more than ordinary interest.The young captain had a difficult task to accomplish, but he had been drilled to do his duty, and he did it thoroughly. Gives a good insight into army life of to-day.

THE YOUNG BANDMASTER; or, Concert Stage and Battlefield

In this tale Captain Bonehill touches on a new field. The hero is a youth with a passion for music, who, compelled to make his own way in the world, becomes a cornetist in an orchestra, and works his way up, first, to the position of a soloist, and then to that of leader of a brass band. He is carried off to sea and falls in with a secret service cutter bound for Cuba, and while in that island joins a military band which accompanies our soldiers in the never-to-be-forgotten attack on Santiago. A mystery connected to the hero’s inheritance adds to the interest of the tale.

OFF FOR HAWAII; or, The Mystery of a Great Volcano

Here we have fact and romance cleverly interwoven. Several boys start on a tour of the Hawaiian Islands. They have heard that there is a treasure located in the vicinity of Kilauea, the largest active volcano in the world, and go in search of it. Their numerous adventures will be followed with much interest.

A SAILOR BOY WITH DEWEY; or, Afloat in the Philippines

The story of Dewey’s victory in Manila Bay will never grow old, but here we have it told in a new form — not as those in command witnessed the contest, but as it appeared to a real, live American youth who was in the navy at the time. Many adventures in Manila and the interior follow, giving true-to-life scenes from this remote portion of the globe. A book that should be in every boy’s library.

WHEN SANTIAGO FELL: or, The War Adventures of Two Chums

Captain Bonehill has never penned a better tale than this stirring story of adventures in Cuba. Two boys, and American and his Cuban chum, leave New York to join their parents in the interior of Cuba. The war between Spain and the Cubans is on, and the boys are detained at Santiago de Cuba, but escape by crossing the bay at night. Many adventures between the lines follow, and a good pen-picture of General Garcia is given. The American lad, with others, is captured and cast into a dungeon in Santiago; and then follows the never-to-be-forgotten campaign in Cuba under General Shafter. How the hero finally escapes makes reading no wide-awake boy will want to miss.

Press Opinions of Captain Bonehill’s Books for Boys

“Captain Bonehill’s stories will always be popular with out boys, for the reason that they are thoroughly up-to-date and to to life. As a writer of outdoor tales he has no rival.” — Bright Days

I have The Young Bandmaster, and honestly, that exciting description makes me want to reread it.

Next is a page of “NEW JUVENILES By Famous Authors,” among which are:


A sweetly written and popular story of girl life. Full of fun and adventure. Told in a manner to interest and amuse young people of any age.

Very few authors have achieved a popularity equal to that of Mrs. Meade as a writer of stories for girls. Her characters are living beings if flesh and blood. Into the trials and crosses of these the reader enters at once with zest and hearty sympathy. Mrs. Meade always writes with a high moral purpose.

THE DEFENSE OF THE CASTLE. A Story for Boys and Girls. By Tudor Jenks.

This is a good, lively, fighting story, but not bloodthirsty. It tells of a boy and girl who, during the absence of their father at the Crusades, with the help of an old soldier defended the castle from the attack of an armed force led by a treacherous relative. The time is about that of Ivanhoe.

The next page contains a list of L.T. Meade books and the following description:

There are few more favorite authors with American girls then Mrs. L.T. Meade, whose copyright works can only be had from us. Essentially a writer for the home, with the loftiest aims and purest sentiments, Mrs. Meade’s books possess the merit of utility as well as the means of amusement. They are girls’ books — written for girls and fitted for every home.

Here will be found no maudlin nonsense as to the affections. There are no counts in disguise or castles in Spain. It is pure and wholesome literature of high order with a lofty ideal.

of the 26 books listed, I’ve read three: The Palace Beautiful, A Sweet Girl Graduate, and Wild Kitty.

Next comes Edward S. Ellis, who I’ve actually never heard of before. but thanks to this ad, I now have a little bit of information about him:

Purely American in scene, plot, motives, and characters, the copyright works of Edward S. Ellis are deservedly popular with the youth of America. In a community where every native-born boy can aspire to the highest offices, such a book as Ellis’ “From the Throttle to the President’s Chair,” detailing the progress of the sturdy son of the people from locomotive engineer to the presidency of a great railroad, must always be popular. The youth of a land which boasts of a Vanderbilt will ever desire such books, and naturally will desire stories of their native land before wandering over foreign climes.

The final page is devoted to “The Rise in Life Series”:

OUT FOR BUSINESS; or, Robert Frost’s Strange Career

One of several volumes left unfinished by Horatio Alger, Jr., at his death, and completed by his friend and fellow author Arthur M. Winfield. It relates the adventures of a country boy who is compelled to leave home and seek his fortune in the great world at large. A book any lad will enjoy perusing.

FALLING IN WITH FORTUNE; or, The Experiences of a Young Secretary

This is a companion tale to “Out for Business,” but complete in itself, and tells of the further doings of Robert Frost as private secretary to a very rich lady. The lady has a nephew who is trying to acquire her fortune, and the hero’s actions to protect his patron are as praiseworthy as they are interesting.

YOUNG CAPTAIN JACK; or, The Son of a Soldier

In Mr. Alger’s Characteristic vein, but with a plot quite different from anything else he has done. The scene is laid in the South during the Civil War, and the hero is a waif who was cast up by the sea and adopted by a rich Southern planter. The mystery surrounding the lad’s birth is so peculiar that no one who takes up this volume will wish to lay it down without finishing it.

NELSON THE NEWSBOY; or, Afloat in New York

Mr. Alger is always at his best in the portrayal of life in New York City, and this story may safely be counted among the best he has given out young people. The various scenes are true to life, and the adventures of the hero are such as any boy will follow with close attention.

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