Horatio Alger, Jr.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Infobox Writer
name = Horatio Alger, Jr.

pseudonym =
birthdate = birth date|1832|1|13
birthplace \\\\ Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States
deathdate = death date and age|1899|7|18|1832|1|13|df=yes
deathplace = Natick, Massachusetts
occupation = Author| nationality = American
genre =
notableworks =

Horatio Alger, Jr. (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a 19th-century American author who wrote approximately 135 dime novels. Many of his works have been described as rags to riches stories, illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others. This widely held view involves a significant simplification, as Alger's characters do not typically achieve extreme wealth; rather they attain middle-class security, stability, and a solid reputation — that is, their efforts are rewarded with a place in society, not domination of it. He is noted as a significant figure in the history of American cultural and social ideals, even though his novels are rarely read these days. As bestsellers in their own time, Alger's books rivaled those of Mark Twain in popularity.


Alger was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on January 13, 1832, to a Unitarian minister who wanted his son to follow him into the religious world. He was tutored at home by his father until the age of ten, when he was admitted to the Gates Academy in Marlborough, Massachusetts. A year after graduating from Gates, he was admitted to Harvard at age 16. For the next four years, he studied under Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with the intention of one day becoming a poet.Fact|date=July 2008 After graduating, he devoted himself to teaching and writing, with uneven success. He then became the 32nd principal of Deerfield Academy for a short tenure. Coming to the conclusion that he did not like teaching, he returned to Harvard in 1857 to pursue the ministry.

in the parish. These were investigated and proved to be true.

In letters now housed at the Harvard Divinity School, Brewster church officials wrote to the hierarchy in Boston, complaining "that Horatio Alger, Jr. has been practicing on [the boys of the church] at different times deeds that are too revolting to relate." Later they are related: "gross immorality, and a most heinous crime, a crime of no less magnitude than the abominable and revolting crime of unnatural familiarity with boys. . . . which he neither denied or attempted to extenuate but received it with apparent calmness of an old offender—and hastily left town on the very next train for parts unknown."citation |first=Richard |last=Huber |title=The American Idea of Success |place=New York |publisher=McGraw-Hill |year=1971 |page=45-6 |isbn=091636643X]

In response to complaints by the church, Alger Sr. wrote Charles Lowe, the American Unitarian Association (AUA) general secretary, stating that his son would resign from the ministry and not seek another church. All parties involved agreed to keep matters quiet – the parents of the boys reluctantly. So far as is known, Alger discussed this incident only once, in 1870, with psychologist William James.citation |title=Horatio Alger |url=http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/horatioalgerjr.html |publisher=Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography |accessdate=2007-11-07 |first=Alan |last=Seaburg]

Later in life, Alger wrote a poem, "Friar Anselmo's Sin,"citation |title=Friar Anselmo's Sin |url=http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/cinder/friar.htm |publisher=River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester |accessdate=2007-11-07] which seems to be somewhat autobiographical. It begins:

:Friar Anselmo (God's grace may he win!):Committed one sad day a deadly sin;:...

The poem goes on to recount the friar's rendering of aid to a wounded traveler and ends with Anselmo's redemption upon the appearance of an angel who exhorts Anselmo to dedicate himself to service:

:Thy guilty stains shall be washed white again,:By noble service done thy fellow-men.

In 1866, after the Brewster incident, Alger moved to New York City, which proved to be a turning point in his career. He was immediately drawn into the world of impoverished young bootblacks, newspaper boys, and peddlers. He spent much time with young men and often ate his meals and slept at the Newsboys' Lodging House.Fact|date=July 2008 He also invited boys to his small apartment in a boarding house.

Alger's empathy with the young working men, coupled with the moral values he learned at home, formed the basis of the first novel in his "Ragged Dick" series (1867). The book was an immediate success, spurring a vast collection of sequels and similar novels, including "Luck and Pluck" (1869) and "Tattered Tom" (1871), all with the same theme: the rise from rags to riches. In fact, the theme became synonymous with Alger, whose formula for success was based on luck, pluck, and virtue.

Essentially, all of Alger's early novels are the same: a young boy struggles through hard work to escape poverty. However, it is not the hard work itself that rescues the boy from his fate, but rather a wealthy older gentleman, who admires the boy as a result of some extraordinary act of bravery or honesty that the boy has performed. For example, the boy might rescue a child from an overturned carriage or find and return the man's stolen watch. Often the older man takes the boy into his home as a ward or companion.

Although a "Horatio Alger story" has come to signify someone who begins with few resources and ends with vast riches, Alger's characters do not usually become wealthy. His protagonists typically achieve comparatively low-level jobs in companies, often attaining personal stability but not wealth or prominent position. Veteran actor Walter Brennan launched a new television series in 1964, "The Tycoon", and entitled the first episode "Horatio Alger Again". In Brennan's ABC series, the character Walter Andrews is an Horatio Alger-style person who did become very wealthy and then used his resources to help others.

Despite his remarkable literary output, Alger never became rich from his writing. According to legend, he gave most of his money to homeless boys and in some instances was actually conned out of his earnings by boys he tried to help. His books are no longer as popular as they once were, but the moral messages they relayed were an important factor in popularizing the American dream. At the time of his death, Alger was living with his sister Augusta in Natick, Massachusetts. She destroyed all his personal papers. He is buried in the family plot in Glenwood Cemetery, South Natick.

Since 1947, the Horatio Alger Association has bestowed an annual award on "outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in the face of adversity" and scholarships "to encourage young people to pursue their dreams with determination and perseverance".citation |title=Horatio Alger Award |url=http://www.horatioalger.com/geninf/index.cfm#HoratioAlgerAward |publisher=The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans |accessdate=2007-11-07]

In 2006 the accusations of pederasty resurfaced at an annual fair held in Marlborough in honor of the writer. These led the mayor and other town leaders to announce intentions of changing the name of the fair so as to avoid seeming to celebrate the memory of a child abuser.citation |title=Allegations of pederasty taint Horatio Alger fair |periodical=Columbia Daily Tribune |date=October 1, 2006 |url=http://archive.columbiatribune.com/2006/oct/20061001news037.asp |accessdate=2007-11-07 ]

Perhaps to capture some of Alger's popularity, Edward Stratemeyer also wrote some of his novels using Alger's name as a pseudonym.

The Mayes biography

In 1928, Herbert R. Mayes published the spurious biography "Alger: A Biography without a Hero". This pseudo-biographical novel presented itself as a biography of the well-known author, allegedly based on Alger's diaries and secondary sources consulted by the author. However, in reality those diaries and secondary sources did not exist; Mayes simply made up anecdotes to fill in the gaps in his knowledge of Alger's life. Those stories ranged from the merely speculative — for example, Mayes made Alger's father into a stern, repressive personality who contributed to Alger's semi-repressed homosexuality later in life — to the bizarre. In the latter category, Mayes had his 26-year-old Alger run off to Paris rather than gratify his father with a job in the clergy. Later, in New York, the fictional Alger adopts a young Chinese boy named Wing and cares for him until Wing is conveniently killed by a runaway horse. Mayes said in 1972:

:"If Alger ever kept a diary, I knew nothing about it. In any case, it was more fun to invent one. I had no letters ever written by Alger, which was fortunate. Again, it was more fun to make them up, as it was with letters presumably sent to Alger, none of which I had ever seen."

Mayes' fictional biography went virtually unquestioned until the 1960s. In 1961, amateur Alger enthusiast Frank Gruber published "Horatio Alger, Jr.: A Biography and Bibliography", challenging Mayes' account, and this challenge was followed by Ralph D. Gardner's similarly fact-based 1964 "Horatio Alger, or the American Hero Era". (Ironically, these biographies were ill-received by many critics, who preferred Mayes-based works such as John Tebbel's 1963 "From Rags to Riches: Horatio Alger and the American Dream".) In the 1970s, Mayes finally admitted the hoax, but statements and anecdotes from "A Biography without a Hero" continue to turn up in poorly-researched biographies even today. Reliable alternatives include Gary Scharnhorst's "Horatio Alger, Jr." (1980) and Carol Nackenoff's "The Fictional Republic: Horatio Alger and American Political Discourse" (1994).


* "" (1883)
* "Adrift in New York; or, Tom and Florence Braving the World" (1904)
* "Adrift in the City; or, Oliver Conrad's Plucky Fight" (1902)
* "Andy Grant's Pluck" (1902)
* "Ben Bruce. Scenes in the Life of a Bowery Newsboy" (1901)
* "Ben Logan's Triumph; or, The Boys of Boxwood Academy" (1908)
* "Ben's Nugget; or, A Boy's Search for Fortune" (1882)
* "Ben The Luggage Boy; or, Among the Wharves" (1870)
* "Bernard Brooks' Adventures. The Story of a Brave Boy's Trials" (1903)
* "Bertha's Christmas Vision. An Autumn Sheaf" (1856)
* "Bob Burton; or, The Young Ranchman of the Missouri" (1888)
* "Bound to Rise; or, Up the Ladder" (1873)
* "A Boy's Fortune; or, The Strange Adventures of Ben Baker" (1898)
* "Brave and Bold; or, The Fortunes of Robert Rushton" (1874)
* "Frank Fowler, the Cash Boy" (1887)
* "Cast Upon the Breakers" (1893)
* "Charlie Codman's Cruise. A Story for Boys" (1866)
* "Chester Rand; or, A New Path to Fortune" (1903)
* "The Cousin's Conspiracy"
* "Dan, the Detective" (1884)
* "Dean Dunham; or, The Waterford Mystery" (1891)
* "A Debt of Honor. The Story of Gerald Lane's Success in the Far West" (1900)
* "Digging for Gold. A Story of California" (1892)
* "The Disagreeable Woman; A Social Mystery" (1895)
* "Do and Dare; or A Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune" (1884)
* "The Erie Train Boy" (1890)
* "The Errand Boy; or, How Phil Brent Won Success" (1888)
* "Facing the World; or, The Haps and Mishaps of Harry Vane" (1893)
* "Fair Harvard (book)" (1852)
* "Falling in With Fortune; or, The Experiences of a Young Secretary" (1900)
* "Fame and Fortune; or, The Progress of Richard Hunter" (1868)
* "Finding a Fortune" (1904)
* "Five Hundred Dollars; or, Jacob Marlowe's Secret" (1890)
* "Forging Ahead" (1903)
* "Frank and Fearless; or, The Fortunes of Jasper Kent" (1897)
* "Frank Hunter's Peril" (1896)
* "Frank's Campaign; or, What Boys can do on the Farm for the Camp" (1864)
* "From Canal Boy to President; or, The Boyhood and Manhood of James A. Garfield" (1881)
* "" (1882)
* "From Farm to Fortune; or Nat Nason's Strange Experience" (1905)
* "Grand'ther Baldwin's Thanksgiving" (1875)
* "Hector's Inheritance; or, The Boys of Smith Institute" (1885)
* "Helen Ford" (1866)
* " [http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?c=juv&b=UF00054405&v=00001 Helping Himself; or, Grant Thornton's Ambition] " (1886)
* "Herbert Carter's Legacy; or, The Inventor's Son" 1875)
* "In a New World; or, Among the Gold-Fields of Australia" (1893)
* "Jack's Ward; or, The Boy Guardian" (1875)
* "Jed, The Poor House Boy" (1899)
* "Jerry the Backwoods Boy; or, The Parkhurst Treasure" (1904)
* "Joe the Hotel Boy, or Winning Out by Pluck" (1906)
* "Joe's Luck; or Always Wide Awake" (1913)
* "" (1868)
* "Julius; or, The Street Boy out West" (1874)
* "Lester's Luck" (1901)
* "Life of Edwin Forrest (William Rounseville Alger)" (1877)
* "Lost at Sea; or, Robert Roscoe's Strange Cruise" (1904)
* "Luck And Pluck; or, John Oakley's Inheritance" (1869)
* "Luke Walton; or, The Chicago Newsboy" (1889)
* "Making His Mark" (1905)
* "Marie Bertrand" (1864)
* "Mark Manning's Mission. The Story of a Shoe Factory Boy" (1905)
* "Mark Mason's Victory; or, The Trials and Triumphs of a Telegraph Boy" (1899)
* "Mark Stanton" (1890)
* "Mark the Match Boy; or, Richard Hunter's Ward" (1869)
* "Ned Newton; or, The Fortunes of a New York Bootblack" (1890)
* "Nelson the Newsboy; or, Afloat in New York" (1901)
* "A New York Boy" (1890)
* "The New Schoolma'am; or, A Summer in North Sparta" (anonymous 1877)
* "" (1857)
* "Nothing To Eat" (1857)
* "Number 91; or, The Adventures of a New York Telegraph Boy" (1887)
* "The Odds Against Him; or, Carl Crawford's Experience" (1890)
* "Only an Irish Boy; Or, Andy Burke's Fortunes and Misfortunes" (1894)
* "Out for Business; or, Robert Frost's Strange Career" (1900)
* "" (1865)
* "Paul the Peddler; or the Fortunes of a Young Street Merchant" (1871)
* "Phil the Fiddler; or, The Story of a Young Street Musician" (1872)
* "Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks" (1868)
* "Ralph Raymond's Heir; or, The Merchant's Crime" (1869)
* "Randy of the River; or, The Adventures of a Young Deckhand" (1906)
* "Risen from the Ranks; or, Harry Walton's Success" (1874)
* "Robert Coverdale's Struggle; or, On the Wave of Success" (1910)
* "A Rolling Stone; or, The Adventures of a Wanderer "(1902)
* "Rough and Ready; or, Life Among the New York Newsboys" (1869)
* "Rufus and Rose; or, The Fortunes of Rough and Ready" (1870)
* "Rupert's Ambition" (1899)
* "Sam's Chance; and How He Improved It" (1876)
* "In Search of Treasure. The Story of Guy's Eventful Voyage"
* "Seeking His Fortune, And Other Dialogues" (1875)
* "Shifting for Himself; or, Gilbert Greyson's Fortune's" (1876)
* "Silas Snobden's Office Boy" (1899)
* "Sink or Swim; or, Harry Raymond's Resolve" (1870)
* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25151/25151-h/25151-h.htm Slow and Sure; The Story of Paul Hoffman the Young Street-Merchant] " (1872)
* " [http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?c=juv&b=UF00055305&v=00001 The Store Boy; or, The Fortunes of Ben Barclay] " (1887)
* "St. Nicholas (novel)" (1875)
* " [http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?c=juv&b=UF00026288&v=00001 Strive and Succeed; or, The Progress of Walter Conrad] " (1872)
* "Striving for Fortune; or, Walter Griffith's Trials and Successes" (1902)
* "Strong and Steady; or, Paddle Your Own Canoe" (1871)
* "Struggling Upward; or, Luke Larkin's Luck" (1868)
* "Tattered Tom; or, The Story of a Street Arab" (1871)
* " [http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?c=juv&b=UF00047771 The Telegraph Boy] " (1879)
* "Timothy Crump's Ward; or, The New Years Loan, And What Became of It" (1866)
* "" (1901)
* "Tom Temple's Career" (1888)
* "Tom Thatcher's Fortune" (1888)
* "Tom Tracy" (1888)
* "Tom Turner's Legacy" (1902)
* "Tony the Hero" (1880)
* "The Train Boy" (1883)
* "Try and Trust; or, The Story of a Bound Boy" (1873)
* "Victor Vane, The Young Secretary" (1894)
* "Voices of the Past" (1849)
* "Wait and Hope; or, Ben Bradford's Motto" (1877)
* "Wait and Win. The Story of Jack Drummond's Pluck" (1908)
* "Walter Sherwood's Probation" (1897)
* "A Welcome to May May" (1853)
* "The Western Boy; or, The Road to Success" (1878)
* "The World Before Him" (1902)
* "The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus" (1888)
* "The Young Adventurer; or, Tom's Trip Across the Plains" (1878)
* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25150/25150-h/25150-h.htm The Young Bank Messenger] " (1898)
* "The Young Boatman of Pine Point" (1892)
* "The Young Book Agent; or, Frank Hardy's Road to Success" (1905)
* "Young Captain Jack; or, The Son of a Soldier" (1901)
* "The Young Circus Rider; or, The Mystery of Robert Rudd" (1883)
* "The Young Explorer; or, Among the Sierras" (1880)
* "The Young Miner; or, Tom Nelson in California" (1879)
* "The Young Musician; or, Fighting His Way" (1906)
* "The Young Outlaw; or, Adrift In The Streets" (1875)
* "The Young Salesman" (1896)


Further reading


External links

* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=mediatype%3A(texts)%20-contributor%3Agutenberg%20AND%20(subject%3A%22Alger%2C%20Horatio%2C%201832-1899%22%20OR%20creator%3A%22Alger%2C%20Horatio%2C%201832-1899%22%20OR%20creator%3A%22Horatio%20Alger%22%20OR%20title%3A%22Horatio%20Alger%22%20OR%20description%3A%22Horatio%20Alger%22) Works by or about Horatio Alger] at Internet Archive (scanned books original editions color illustrated)
* (plain text and HTML)
* [http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/ot2www-pubeng?specfile=/texts/english/modeng/publicsearch/modengpub.o2w&query=Alger,+Horatio&docs=TEI2&grouping=work Horatio Alger Books On-Line 2] 18 of Alger's works (with "A Fancy of Hers", unique to this collection)
* [http://www.letrs.indiana.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?type=simple&c=wright2&cc=wright2&sid=8607350d9a7de49568097b47d571befd&rgn=full+text&q1=Alger%2C+Horatio&cite1=&cite1restrict=author&cite2=&cite2restrict=title&cite3=&cite3restrict=title&firstpubl1=1850&firstpubl2=1875&submit=Submit+search Horatio Alger Books On-Line 3] 3 of Alger's works (with "The Maniac's Secret", unique to this collection)
* [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/27/ap/national/mainD8KDC2B80.shtml Horatio Alger Festival Roiled by Charges] AP Story
* [http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/cinder/Horatiomain.htm Horatio Alger research page] at the University of Rochester
* [http://www.thehoratioalgersociety.org/index.html Horatio Alger Society] Home Page
* [http://www.shinethemusical.com Shine! The Horatio Alger Musical]
* [http://www.ulib.niu.edu/rarebooks/alger/index.cfm The Horatio Alger Collection at Northern Illinois University]
* [http://www.ulib.niu.edu/rarebooks/fellowships.cfm The Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture at Northern Illinois University]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Horatio Alger — jr Horatio Alger jr. (* 13. Januar 1832 in Chelsea (heute Revere), Massachusetts; † 18. Juli 1899 in Natick, Massachusetts) war ein US amerikanischer Autor des 19. Jahrhunderts. Leben Er war ein führender Vertreter …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Horatio alger — Horatio Alger, Jr. Activité(s) Écrivain Naissance 13 janvier 1832 Chelsea, Massachusetts, États Unis …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Horatio Alger — Horatio Alger, Jr. Activités Écrivain Naissance 13 janvier 1832 Chelsea, Massachusetts, États Unis Décès …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Horatio Alger — see ALGER Horatio …   English World dictionary

  • Horatio Alger — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Horatio Alger — noun United States author of inspirational adventure stories for boys; virtue and hard work overcome poverty (1832 1899) • Syn: ↑Alger • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * hə|rā(ˌ)shō|aljˈə(r), āshēˌō adjective Usage: usually capi …   Useful english dictionary

  • Horatio Alger — of or characteristic of the heroes in the novels of Horatio Alger, who begin life in poverty and achieve success and wealth through honesty, hard work, and virtuous behavior: the Horatio Alger story of his rise in the business world. [1920 25] *… …   Universalium

  • Horatio Alger — adjective Date: 1925 of, relating to, or resembling the fiction of Horatio Alger in which success is achieved through self reliance and hard work …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Horatio Alger — Ho•ra′tio Al′ger [[t]həˈreɪ ʃiˌoʊ, hɔ , hoʊ [/t]] adj. cvb lit. of or characteristic of the poor heroes in the novels of Horatio Alger, who achieve success and wealth through honesty and hard work • Etymology: 1920–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • Horatio Alger myth — Horatio Alger (13 January 1832 18 July 1899) was an American author of young boys’ stories. Alger wrote over 100 books for young working class males, beginning with Ragged Dick, which was published in 1867. The Horatio Alger myth developed out of …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”