Wednesday, December 31, 2008


All things Happy Hollisters

Anyone who has visited my website is aware of my fondness for The Happy Hollisters book series. I wish to devote this entry to that series with a few new visual items of interest and a few comments.

Elsewhere on this blog, I have shown letters I received from Andrew (Jerry West) Svenson and in all these items, I have only had his Jerry West signature. And those autographs are only on letters and one picture he sent me. In the last few years I finally found on eBay a Happy Hollister book with his signature of Jerry West inscribed in it, and in one case, I found a book that he also inscribed with his real name, Andrew Svenson. In all my correspondence with Svenson and Harriet (Carolyn Keene) Adams, I never had a book autographed by them. So I count these new additions to my collection with special fondness. (see scans)

Happy Hollisters' Storyline Mistake

For the past few years, I have been reading the Happy Hollisters from volume #1 forward. I recently finished reading the Sea Turtle Mystery. While reading the Happy Hollisters and the Cowboy Mystery, I found a mistake. In that story, Ricky and Pam are riding Domingo, their burro, near a highway, when it wanders onto the road and causes a car to run off the road and have a flat tire. The occupants of the car become friends of the Hollister family and invite them to Nevada for another mystery. But in these first few pages, Andrew Svenson wrote that "while the rancher, Pete, and Bunky started to jack up the car" to fix the flat, he failed to remember that Pete was not in this scene. In fact, Pete is introduced a few pages later. I think Svenson must have thought that because of Pete's age, he would be more likely to help fix the car than younger Ricky. Although, in the previous paragraph, Ricky is mentioned offering to help the new friends fix the tire.

Volume book order error

I am embarrassed to admit that there is a Happy Hollisters publishing error that escaped my attention. I was brought up to date on this through another website hosted by Rachel Sanfordlyn Shreckengast at
In her guest book section, it is written that the Happy Hollisters dust jacket spine for Pony Hill Farm is listed at #10, while the Merry-Go-Round Mystery is listed as #11, even though Pony Hill Farm has a copyright of 1956, and the other has a copyright of 1955. Copyright would seem to be the correct means of assuring what order the books were issued. And in fact, my copy of Merry-Go-Round has a list of titles across from the title page and on the back flap that shows it is #10 in the correct order, despite what it’s own dust jacket. I also have other volumes that support the correct order on titles listed inside. Several of these run through the Haunted House. So an error was made and the publishers failed to fix the error. One question I have is was the error ever corrected on the dust jacket? Any reader who has a copy with a dust jacket that is correct should contact me or Rachel. It would have to be an early edition for the numbering to be right.
NEW NOTE: Recently I was contacted by a man named John who pointed out that in Pony Hill Farm, page 6, there is a quote from Sue Hollister: "we haven't had a 'venture since the Merry-Go-Round Mystery." She referred to a riddle the children had cleared up a month before at their school fair.
Thanks John for pointing that out! I cannot recall too many times one of the Hollister children directly referred to a previous book. This example surely points out that Merry-Go-Round came before Pony Hill Farm.
Finally, on later PC versions, the error is repeated on many volumes that printed the Happy Hollisters list rather than the usual introduction of characters on the back cover. So it appears that whoever was responsible for putting together the Happy Hollisters titles on the back cover of the PC editions, went by the dust jacket version rather than other methods of listing the titles.
In my copy of the last volume, a PC edition, Pony Hill Farm is listed before Merry-Go-Round. There is also another error in the volumes list. It does not include #28, Whistle-Pig Mystery. My Monster Mystery PC also does not list #28. These facts are fun to discover and discuss. If anyone knows of other errors or mistakes, please contact me about them.

Speaking of Picture Cover Editions and Mistakes

I have always been fascinated with the picture cover editions of The Happy Hollisters, wondering why Doubleday went to that format and why only select volumes. Most of the later editions were done that way, so it must have been a publishing decision in the 1960s. This is probably backed up with the fact that the Doubleday Linda Craig series was published in a similar format as the Hollisters, with no dust jacketed editions that I know about. The first Linda Craig is in 1962, and it bears a "Copyright Stratemeyer Syndicate" on its copyright page after the title page.

I have 15 Happy Hollisters in PC version including #1, On a River Trip, Pony Hill Farm, Secret of the Lucky Coins, Cowboy Mystery, Haunted House, Castle Rock, Cuckoo Clock, Swiss Echo, Sea Turtle, Whistle-Pig, Ghost Horse Mystery, Golden Witch, Monster Mystery and Midnight Trolls. The latter two are the original copies I have of that book, mine came from the book club and were offered instead of the dust jacket versions. It is interesting that every Happy Hollisters book from Cowboy Mystery onward was published as a picture cover (pc) edition, EXCEPT Mystery of the Mexican Idol! I would love to know why that book was an exception.

As best as I can tell, these are the only Happy Hollisters editions done in picture cover format by Doubleday. If anyone has other Doubleday Hollisters in PC versions, please let me know at

One odd note: my volume #1 pc has nothing printed on the back cover. It is just blank. Also, I am sure many Happy Hollisters readers have found volumes with blank endpapers. I even have one book that has a blank front endpapers and illustrated back endpapers.

In another scan you will see an apparent publishing mistake that I have never seen before until about November of 2008. In an eBay auction, someone was selling a set of about 7 Happy Hollisters books that included a first edition of The Mystery of the Little Mermaid. The mistake is that on the dust jacket spine, there is no scene of the Hollister children playing around a fence on their yard. This scene is a part of every book of the series. I considered buying the whole set to get this one volume, but passed on it. Within a week, another auction had the same book for sale and I inquired of the seller if they had gotten this book from the previous sale. They said they had not. I bought the book. Yet, within another week or two, another first edition of Mermaid appeared and I bought it, too, which you see pictured in the scans. This book I bought in a series of auctions by the same seller who was selling near mint first editions of the Missile Town, Skyscraper City and Lucky Coins. Doubleday made a point of printing first edition in their books, which was not the case in Grosset & Dunlap editions of their many Stratemeyer Series books such as the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.

In one of the accompanying scans, you see an autograph by Andrew (Jerry West) Svenson. It was in a copy of The Happy Hollisters and the Cowboy Mystery. I bought it on eBay. It is a treasure worthy of the type the Hollister children might find in a story. It contains Svenson's own signature as well as his Hollisters' pseudonym of Jerry West. And it is dated and refers to a trip he took. I note this was dated the year after the last Happy Hollisters was published. Since Svenson wrote many other books, I am not sure if the Panama trip resulted in another book, perhaps in the Hardy Boys or elsewhere.

Note in the photo of my Happy Hollisters picture cover editions, standing in the metal book holder members of The Happy Hollisters Book Club would received upon purchase of 6 books. A few years ago I saw an eBay auction that was offering some of the Hollisters and they were pictured in the metal book holder. The seller obviously had belonged to the book club. Recently, I saw another eBay auction where the seller was selling an entire collection and they had 3 book holders!

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