Horatio Alger, Jr. (1834-99) was a prolific writer of dime novel stories for boys. From the debut of his first novel, Ragged Dick, in 1867, Alger was instrumental in establishing a new genre of dime novels known as the 'city story.' The genre arose out of the wide-spread urbanization that followed the Civil War and paralleled the rise of industrialism. Alger's stories heroicized the young street urchins living in poverty among large, urban centers such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. With uncommon courage and moral fortitude, Alger's youths struggle against adversity to achieve great wealth and acclaim. These rags to riches stories were enormously popular with the public and flourished in the decades from 1870 to 1890. (hmmm, the idea lives on, and on, and on.......)
Alger's stories continued to be reprinted well after his death.
Was there anything in these books about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? Is this the American Dream? Puuuhhhhllleeeeezzz!
(borrowed from somewhere on the Web. If this offends you, it's not my fault)