Alger Estate Agreement (November 24, 1899)

According to an unpublished archival biography of Stratemeyer, “after reading the boys’ books of Oliver Optic and Horatio Alger, Jr., he decided that if he could write similar ones he would be, as he afterwards expressed it, ‘the happiest person on earth.’” In 1893-94, during his brief tenure as an editor at Street and Smith, Stratemeyer had the good fortune of meeting Alger (1832-1899), his childhood idol. The two even became friends and collaborators.

In the late 1890s, as Alger’s health worsened, he began to rely increasingly on Stratemeyer’s help in finishing stories. After Alger’s death, Stratemeyer completed and published some of his work posthumously.  In this 1899 agreement between Stratemeyer and Olive Augusta Cheney, Alger’s sister and the executor of his estate, Stratemeyer committed to paying $150 for an “uncompleted manuscript” by Alger relating to “the adventures of a boy called Robert Frost.” The agreement gave Stratemeyer copyright control over the completed work.