Friday, November 19, 2010


It is old news now that THE HAPPY HOLLISTERS, volume one of the popular children's mystery series, has been reprinted this year and is being distributed through Amazon. I recently received the paperback and it is really neat, as one of the Happy Hollisters might say, probably Ricky! The paperback version is new and a perfect complement to the history of the series, which was also reprinted in the 1980s for four volumes.
This new entry is published by "THE SVENSON GROUP, INC, on behalf of The Hollisters Family Properties Trust" as printed on the bottom of the title page. There is also a wonderful Dedication that notes that 2010 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Andrew Svenson, the creator and author of The Happy Hollisters book series. The reprint is also dedicated to his wife Marian and their children who inspired the author, too.
Anyone who has read this blog knows Andrew Svenson created The Happy Hollisters in the 1950s writing under the name of Jerry West. Mr. Svenson became a partner of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and through them wrote or edited many other books including some Hardy Boys.
Many years ago I corresponded with Jerry West as a fan and book club member. Through the years of maintaining blogs about series books and my fondness for The Happy Hollisters, I have  also corresponded occasionally through emails with members of his family. His six children were the models for the 5 Hollister children. One of the most significant emails I got from his family came recently from his grandson Andrew:

Hi Tim,

I wanted to drop you a quick note to get reacquainted. You sent me a kind condolence note after my father died in late 2005 and I appreciated that. For some time now I've been enjoying your BookSleuth's Series Book Collection blog and posts on Facebook, etc. I know you are a huge fan of my grandfather, Andrew Svenson, the Happy Hollisters series, and all things related to the Stratemeyer Syndicate.
So, I wanted to let you know my wife and I have been combing through my grandfather's extensive work files and have found many "buried treasures" such as a hand drawn map of Shoreham, chapter plots from circa 1950, a HH pseudonym vote tally, and hundreds of letters of correspondence/documents between the Syndicate partners and/or various publishers, executives and fans. I know you'll love these newly-found treasures and we will let you and the world know about them shortly. But, for now, we found this little nugget and wanted to share it with you now. See attached. It's a copy of a note my grandfather sent to Doubleday asking them to make good for a "dissatisfied customer." I'm positive this customer was you! Apparently your original letter of complaint was transcribed for my grandfather and, in translation, your last name became O'Werin! But I'm hoping they corrected the shipping error and you were able to remain a Happy Hollisters Book Club customer.
Tim, I hope you enjoy this blast from your past!

Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm regarding the Happy Hollisters. As you know we plan to relaunch the series in paperback in the very near future. Whatever you can do to get the word out about this will be appreciated. Any questions please contact me directly.

All the best,
Andy Svenson III

I was thrilled to see this transcription of a letter I sent to Jerry (Andrew Svenson) West some 43 years ago. Here is a reproduction of that letter from Svenson to the publisher:

July 6, 1967

Mrs. Terry Lundberg
Doubleday & Company
Garden City, Long Island
New York

Dear Mrs. Lundberg:

Enclosed is a copy of a dissatisfied Happy Hollisters Club fan, I contacted Mr. Mills and he said there was probably some mistake in shipping. I will leave it up to you to contact our friend Tim O'Werin.


Andrew E. Svenson

What is really funny is my letter to Jerry West. I have always wanted to see one of my letters to Andrew Svenson or Harriet Adams, and this reproduction from a transcribed letter of mine is the next best thing:
Dear Jerry West,
I would like to know why you sent me Peter Pan and My Friend Flicka instead of my Happy Hollisters book. I only have 22 Happy Hollister Books. Please inform me if you don't have any more Happy Hollister books. I would like to have all the Happy Hollisters books. I only have 8 more books to get and I like them. If I can't get all the Happy Hollisters Book I would like to quit. Please write me soon.

Your friend,

Tim O'Werin

Elsewhere on this blog are some samples of a few of the letters I received from Andrew Svenson over several years. One of them is related to this exchange. Dated October 10, 1967, is a letter signed by Jerry West that states:

"I am sorry that you have not been getting the Happy Hollister books you were expecting. I have called the Book Club headquarters at Doubleday and Co. and they have promised to get the matter straightened out. You will be hearing from them.
It pleases me to know that you are eager to read more about the Hollister family. I always enjoys hearing from my fans,
Your friend,
Jerry West

My next letter from Andrew Svenson was dated November 22, 1967. It is the letter reprinted elsewhere that shares information about traveling to Yucatan before writing THE MYSTERY OF THE MEXICAN IDOL.

For more information about the new reprint of THE HAPPY HOLLISTERS, go to and also check out their Facebook link in my list of Favorite Places to the right! The Facebook site is full of Happy Hollisters material never before seen including pictures of the Svenson family home and the entire family during holiday celebrations. You can also express your ideas on what titles should next be reprinted.

1 comment:

  1. I have to laugh reading your letter. I have always had a bad feeling about the book Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates because that's the book I received instead of my expected Happy Hollisters. I was 9 and never thought to contact Jerry West. I had my parents cancel the subscription instead. This was way back in 1960s but I remember it like yesterday.