Harriet Stratemeyer Adams 1914

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1978

Harriet Stratemeyer Adams 1914
Juvenile Fiction Author


Harriet Stratemeyer Adams was an accomplished writer and business manager of the Stratemeyer Writing Syndicate. Harriet’s father, Edward Stratemeyer, founded the syndicate in 1915, and under his leadership, the company published over 150 popular series for young readers under 100 different pseudonyms. Stratemeyer hired ghostwriters to expand and develop stories from plot outlines he had written for series such as The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift,and Nancy Drew, while maintaining full editorial control and authorship over the stories.

Harriet entered Wellesley College in 1910, and as an undergraduate, she distinguished herself as an accomplished writer, pianist, and journalist. She worked as a college press correspondent, selling articles to larger newspapers, such as the Boston Globe. After graduating with a B.A., Harriet worked for her father’s company, editing the ghostwritten stories.

When Edward Stratemeyer died in 1930, the legal responsibility of maintaining the syndicate fell to Harriet and her sister, Edna. Even after his death, the Stratemeyer sisters continued to publish books for the numerous series that their father had created. In 1942, Harriet assumed senior partnership of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, and for the next 40 years, she completed book outlines and editorial responsibilities until her death in 1982.

Harriet’s accomplishments were unheard of for a woman of her time; she maintained a thriving business in spite of national economic difficulties during the Great Depression and World War II. Under her guidance, series such as Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys remained popular over generations, reflecting the changing stereotypes, ideas, politics, and language of the twentieth century.

Today, many of the Stratemeyer Syndicate series have been transformed into film and television  versions, such as the 2007 film Nancy Drew, starring Emma Roberts.


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