G&D green 1st series
G&D brown 2nd series
The first highly successful series by Edward Stratemeyer, each volume had a preface from Edward Stratemeyer himself, thanking his readers and touting the other books.
It's generally accepted that Stratemeyer wrote all of the books. He is on record as stating it is his favorite series.
Volumes 1 - 11 of this series were published by Mershon (starting 1899), then Stitt (starting 1905), then Chatterton-Peck (starting 1907). All these books are very difficult to locate.
In 1902-1904 John Wanamaker reprinted at least volumes 1-5 using the Mershon plates (with a modified title page) and internal illustrations as part of the Wanamaker Young People's Library. There appear to be two binding styles and various binding colors have been seen (green, olive, maroon). The Wanamaker reprints are of a very high quality (better than the Mershon editions) and are the rarest of all Rover Boys editions.
In 1908, Grosset & Dunlap reprinted all the earlier volumes and continued to produce all succeeding Rover books.
The G&D books came in 3 binding styles (green, brown, orange) and 2 types of dustjackets (2 color and full color - all of which were the same for every title). The green and brown bindings are illustrated (imitating the design of the earlier publishers) and had plain white endpapers, while the orange binding is not illustrated and had green striped endpapers.
Sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's Whitman Publishing reprinted volumes 1, 2, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14. All new full color dustjackets were created for these books. They contain no internal illustrations.
Starting with volume 21, the stories recounted the adventures of the four sons of the original three Rover Boys (Tom, Dick and Sam), who by that time had married and settled into adjoining brownstones on Riverside Drive in New York City.
Arthur Prager's book Rascals At Large has a chapter devoted to the antics of the brothers Rover and I recommend it to all fans.
A Rover Boys Primer
In the original series, the Rover Boys consist of brothers Dick (the eldest), Tom and Sam (the youngest). They are the sons of wealthy businessman Anderson Rover and live on a Hudson River valley farm with their uncle and aunt, Randolph and Martha Rover.
The Rovers have the distinction of being the most high-handed and obnoxious series book "heroes" ever. Brother Tom, the "practical joker", is a borderline psychotic who indulges in "jokes" so cruel, mean and dangerous that they would no doubt land anyone else in jail or, at least, in civil court. Wherever they go, the Rovers are snobbish, haughty, condescending and downright mean to all they meet. What is even more amazing is that these people accept the Rovers' obnoxious behavior with an obsequiousness normally reserved for Oriental potentates and extremely rich, superannuated relatives.
In the first 12 volumes, the Rovers were students at Putnam Hall, a military academy run by family friend, Captain Putnam. Their adventures while attending this institution took them far and wide on land, sea and in the air. After leaving Putnam Hall, the boys went on to college and eventually into business and, finally, marriage - an event which triggered the Rover Boys Second Series.
The Rovers were a lusty lot and wasted no time making the acquaintance of Dora Stanhope and her cousins Grace and Nellie Laning. Their "friends" included would-be poet John "Songbird" Powell, the dudish William Philander Potts (who was subjected to the brunt of Tom's practical "jokes") and the fat German Hans Mueller (subject of much low ethnic humor) among others. Handyman Alexander Pop, one of the typical shuffling, eye-rolling Negroes so prevalent in early Stratemeyer works, also bore the brunt of much low humor. Their main foes were Josiah Crabtree, a professor at Putnam Hall who had a hypnotic hold over Mrs. Stanhope and lusted for her fortune; Dan Baxter and Tad Sobber (among others) were fellow students who constantly battled the Rovers.
The Second Series presented the reader with Dick and Dora's offspring Martha and Jack, Tom and Nellie's twins Andy and Randy and Sam and Grace's progeny Fred and Mary. The girls were quickly packed off to boarding school and were seldom heard from again. Meanwhile, the four cousins, while attending the Colby Hall academy run by old family friend Larry Colby, had a series of adventures that closely parallel those of their fathers.
Introduction from Volume One:
MY DEAR BOYS: "The Rover Boys at School" has been written that those of you who have never put in a term or more at an American military academy for boys may gain some insight into the workings of such an institution.
While Putnam Hall is not the real name of the particular place of learning I had in mind while penning this tale for your amusement and instruction, there is really such a school, and dear Captain Putnam is a living person, as are also the lively, wide-awake, fun-loving Rover brothers, Dick, Tom, and Sam, and their schoolfellows, Larry, Fred, and Frank. The same can be said, to a certain degree, of the bully Dan Baxter, and his toady, the sneak commonly known as "Mumps."
The present story is complete in itself, but it is written as the first of a series,. to be followed by "The Rover Boys in the Jungle," in both of which volumes we will again meet many of our former characters.
Trusting that this tale will find as much favor in your hands as have my previous stories, I remain,
Affectionately and sincerely yours,
Arthur M. Winfield
The Rover Boys Series
or, The Cadets Of Putnam Hall - 1899
or, A Chase For Fortune - 1899
or, Stirring Adventures In Africa- 1899
or, The Search For The Lost Mine - 1900
or, The Secret Of The Island Cave - 1901
or, A Hunt For Fun And Fortune - 1902
or, The Crusoes Of Seven Islands - 1903
or,The Rivals Of Pine Island - 1904
or, The Search For The Missing Houseboat - 1905
or, The Mystery Of Red Rock - 1906
or, The Deserted Steam Yacht - 1907
or, Last Days At Putnam Hall - 1908
or, The Strange Cruise Of the Steam Yacht - 1909
or, The Right Road And The Wrong - 1910
or, The Struggle For The Stanhope Fortune - 1911
or, From College Campus To Clouds - 1912
or, Saving Their Father's Honor - 1913
or, Lost In The Fields Of Ice - 1914
or, The Search For The Missing Bonds - 1915
or, Last Days At Brill College - 1916
The Rover Boys Second Series
or, The Struggles Of The Young Cadets - 1917
or, The Old Lumberman's Treasure Box - 1918
or, The Mystery Of The Wrecked Submarine - 1919
or, The Mysterious House In The Woods - 1920
or, Stirring Adventures In The Oilfields - 1921
or, The Cowboys' Double Round-Up - 1922
or, The Camp Of The Rivals Cadets - 1923
or, A Thrilling Hunt For Pirates Gold - 1924
or, The Old Miner's Mysterious Message - 1925
or, Strenuous Days Afloat And Ashore - 1926
Kindle Editions: First Series - Second Series
G&D DJ style 1
G&D 2nd Series DJ
G&D DJ style 2