Getting to Know Andrew Svenson: Also Known as “Laura Lee Hope,” Author of The Bobbsey Twins
The Bobbsey Twins, a book series featuring two sets of fraternal twins (Nan and Bert, Freddie and Flossie), was a creation of writer and book packager Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930). He wrote the first book himself in 1904 under the pseudonym “Laura Lee Hope,” and then assigned the writing of subsequent volumes to a variety of ghostwriters. Up until the mid-1930s, most of the volumes were written by Howard Garis, a reporter for the Newark Evening News who also wrote Uncle Wiggily.
In 1947, Andrew Svenson was a 37-year-old writer with five children, working on the Sports Desk at the Newark Evening News. His colleague, Howard Garis, thought Svenson might enjoy writing children’s books. Garis introduced him to Edward Stratemeyer’s daughter, Harriet Adams, who had taken over her father’s company after his death in 1930. Svenson was hired as a staff writer and editor in May 1948. One of his earliest assignments was to develop plots for the ever-popular Bobbsey Twins series.
This never-before-seen plot written by Andrew Svenson in November 1948 was reworked into a more detailed outline and book in 1951 by Harriet Adams: The Bobbsey Twins Own Little Railroad (#44).
In the early 1950s, Andrew Svenson completed the first four volumes in The Happy Hollisters, and continued to write several more Bobbsey Twins volumes. His research trips often served double-duty for both series; for example, his trip to Boston laid the groundwork for The Bobbsey Twins at Pilgrim Rock and The Happy Hollisters and the Old Clipper Ship, which were both published in 1956. The Happy Hollisters and the Scarecrow Mystery, published in 1957, also bears similarities to The Bobbsey Twins Forest Adventure, published in 1958.
The Happy Hollisters were at the height of their popularity in the mid-1960s, and Andrew Svenson had been named head of the Boys’ Series Division at the Stratemeyer Syndicate. His attention was focused on The Happy Hollisters, along with the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr. Responsibility for writing the Bobbsey Twins was assigned to Stratemeyer Syndicate writers June Dunn and Grace Grote. After The Happy Hollisters ceased publication in 1971, Andrew Svenson wrote two more Bobbsey Twins books based on outlines written by Grace Grote.
Andrew Svenson’s involvement with The Bobbsey Twins is summarized here:
Volume 44, Own Little Railroad
Plot developed by Andrew Svenson, 1948
Volume 43, In Rainbow Valley
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1950
Volume 16, Camping Out
Originally published in 1923; Andrew Svenson wrote the outline and manuscript for the revised edition in 1955 (with Mary Ann Donahoe)
Volume 49, Own Little Ferryboat
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1956
Volume 50, At Pilgrim Rock
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1957
Volume 51, Forest Adventure
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1958
Volume 52, At London Tower
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1959
Volume 7, Mystery at Meadowbrook
Originally published 1915; Andrew Svenson edited the outline for the revised edition in 1963
Volume 11, Mystery on the Deep Blue Sea
Originally published in 1918; Andrew Svenson rewrote the first chapter for the revised edition in 1965
Volume 66, And the Tagalong Giraffe
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1973
Volume 67, And the Flying Clown
Written by Andrew Svenson, 1974
(Fun fact: Svenson’s daughter-in-law and two of his grandsons, Eric and David, have cameo appearances in this volume!)
Andrew Svenson also wrote three volumes in the Tolliver Adventure Series under the pen name “Alan Stone.” These mysteries, targeted at young Black readers, included three volumes published in 1967: The Mystery of Pirate Island, The Mystery of the Old Jalopy, and The Mystery of the Lost Pony. They were rewritten and repackaged for the Bobbsey Twins Wanderer Series in the 1980s.
Volume 2, The Secret in the Pirate’s Cave, 1980
Volume 3, The Dune Buggy Mystery, 1980
Volume 4, The Missing Pony Mystery, 1980
Andrew Svenson Archives of the Hollister Family Properties Trust
Marian Svenson (widow of Andrew Svenson) to Deborah Straub, Gale Research Company, Letter dated November 14, 1981, research compiled for inclusion in Contemporary Authors