Alger booksApril 24, 2009
This is a document I created for myself when I was writing a high school research paper on Horatio Alger and had trouble keeping his books straight. I think it’s pretty clear that I wasn’t taking the paper very seriously.
It’s been a while since I read anything by Alger, but he was sort of my first love in the world of trashy 19th century fiction, and I feel a warm glow when I look at my bookshelf and realize for the hundredth time that yes, I own a copy of Walter Sherwood’s Probation.
Frank’s Campaign; or What Boys Can Do on the Farm for the Camp
Mr. Frost goes to war. Frank runs farm. Forms military company for boys. Mr. Morton gets inheritance back. Frank pays off mortgage.
Ragged Dick; or Street Life in New York
Dick sleeps in a box. Makes lots of money. Gets Fosdick to tutor him. Makes more money. Rescues Mr. Rockwell’s kid. $10 a week.
Mark, the Match Boy; or Richard Hunter’s Ward
Through hard work and fainting, Mark Manton becomes grandson of rich man. First gets beaten by nasty old drunk lady, accused of theft by Roswell Crawford, who goes to stupid party with friend Ralph. Dick Hunter and Henry Fosdick were cooler in Ragged Dick.
Ralph Raymond’s Heir
Morton kills Raymond, Cromwell tries unsuccessfully to kill Raymond Jr., they go out west, Cromwell falls in love, tries to kill R. Jr. again. They go back east. Morton kills Cromwell and self. Is most terrible.
Paul, the Peddler; or The Adventures of a Young Street Merchant
Paul German. Has mother and crippled little brother. Sells prize thingies. Sells ties. Has a party.
Phil, the Fiddler; or The Story of a Young Street Musician
Phil Italian. Everything brown. Plays violin. Friends with Paul. Escapes Padrone, hangs out in New Jersey. Makes friends with scary Irish lady. Falls asleep in snow, gets adopted by doctor and wife.
Bound to Rise; or Harry Walton’s Motto
Cow dies. Harry Walton’s dad gets new one. Harry leaves home, makes some shoes. Makes money, loses money. Makes money, loses money. Trades overcoats with a highwayman. Makes money, goes home, pays for cow. Harry’s motto not really “Bound to rise”, but “Live and learn.”
The Western Boy; or The Road to Success AKA Tom, the Bootblack
Tom lives with miserly old man. Old man dies, Tom goes out west, meets pretty girl who likes him, nasty young man who doesn’t. Name not really Tom, but Gilbert. Speaks German. Chases evil uncle around for a bit, tames wild horse, gets kidnapped. Gets back stolen inheritance
Brave and Bold; or The Fortunes of a Factory Boy
Robert Rushton offends Halbert Davis several times. Shoots Ben Haley. Goes to Calcutta on a boat. Ben Haley goes too, tries to make sure Robert doesn’t. Fails. Robert finds dad, goes home.
Frank Fowler, The Cash Boy
Frank Fowler accidentally meets long-lost grandfather.
Wait and Hope; or Ben Bradford’s Motto
Ben wins prize at school, makes rival angry, rival writes letter, gets Ben really good place at store in Boston. Meets weird old man, goes to Montreal for a bit, weird old man turns out to be relative.
Do and Dare; or A Brave Boy’s Fight for Fortune
Herbert Carr. Lives with mother, doesn’t work in post office. Bad Eben Graham. Herbert hunts and fishes with Mr. Melville for $6 a week. Goes out west. Highway robber Jerry Lane. Herbert buys half a mine, sells it. Is rich. Becomes lowly clerk.
Hector’s Inheritance; or The Boys of Smith Institute
Nasty Uncle Allan, Cousin Guy. Is told father not really father. Goes to Smith Institute, beats up Jim Smith. Nice Mr. Crabb. Goes to city, rescues child, goes to California, rescues young man. Comes back, thumbs nose at nasty uncle.
The Errand Boy; or How Phil Brent Won Success
Phil is adopted. Mrs. Brent defrauds Phil out of inheritance, passes her son Jonas off as Phil. Phil goes to NY, is errand boy. Meets Carter. Meets Julia. Meets Julia’s mother. All gang up on Pitkins. Phil finds real dad. Jonas angry.
Facing the World; or The Haps and Mishaps of Harry Vane
Harry Vane is stupid idiot. Escapes guardian, sings, goes to Australia on a boat.
Struggling Upward; or Luke Larkin’s Luck
Florence invites Luke to Party. Luke goes, has fun, is given tin box by mysterious stranger. Is accused of theft. Prince Duncan did it. Luke goes out west. Almost cheated, but Luke not as gullible as Walter Sherwood, apparently. Stopped by highwayman, but priest hits him over head w/ cane.
The Odds Against Him, or Carl Crawford’s Experience AKA Driven from Home
Carl Crawford driven from home by wicked stepmother and fat stepbrother. Father a wimp. Goes to work in furniture factory for Mr. Jennings, lives with Mr. Jennings and extremely tall housekeeper. Phil Stark arrested. Carl becomes salesman, meets lady who is very fond of cats. Finds out stepmother is criminal, goes home. Wimpy dad doesn’t die.
Walter Sherwood’s Probation
Walter is frittering away fortune at college. Guardian lies. Walter goes out west, gets cheated a lot. Joins traveling salesman, goes to a party, plays the violin a lot. Captures pal of Jesse James, $800 reward. Gets cheated again. Is not a horse thief. Becomes teacher, eventually goes back to college.
Ben Bruce; Scenes in the Life of a Bowery Newsboy
Nasty stepfather, Ben leaves home, factory explodes. Sells papers, acts, sells papers, unwittingly helps rich lady defraud friend, makes friends with an earl. Rich lady dies
Lester is snubbed by one cousin, but not the other. Advises Mr. Compton about stock market. Makes lots of money, goes out west, makes lots of money, comes back, thumbs nose at nasty cousin, but not the other. Except not really.
Cast Upon the Breakers
Rodney Ropes. Guardian loses Rodney’s inheritance. Rodney leaves school, goes to NY. Meets Mike Flynn. Gets place in store, is accused of theft, loses place in store. Becomes tutor. Meets Jeff Pettigrew. Goes out west, gets kidnapped for a bit, discovers fantastically rich mine. Is rich.