William Taylor Adams


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(1822–97), Boston author and schoolteacher, who adopted the pseudonym Oliver Optic (c.1850) and began to write juvenile books and magazine tales, comparable in manner and popularity to the works of Horatio Alger. In 1865 he quit teaching to give all his time to authorship and to the editing of such magazines as Oliver Optic's Magazine for Boys and Girls (1867–75). He wrote more than 1000 short stories, and more than 115 novels, most of the latter in series, which included The Boat Club Series (1854), Woodville Series (1861–67), Army and Navy Series (1865–94), Starry Flag Series (1867–69), Onward and Upward Series (1870), Yacht Club Series (1872–1900), and Great Western Series (1875–82). His heroes, like Alger's, were rather priggish, but Adams's were more concerned with patriotism and adventure than with rising in the business world.

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.