The Erie Train Boy
Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899) was a 19th-century American author who wrote approximately 135 novels. Many of his works have been described as rags to riches stories, illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others. He is noted as a significant figure in the history of American cultural and social ideals, even though his novels are rarely read these days. After attending Harvard Divinity School from 1857 to 1860, he took a ten-month tour of Europe and produced works of a patriotic nature. Alger's empathy with the young working men, coupled with the moral values he learned at home, formed the basis of the first novel in his Ragged Dick (1867). The book was an immediate success, spurring a vast collection of sequels and similar novels, including Luck and Pluck (1869) and Tattered Tom (1871). Amongst his other works are Five Hundred Dollars; or, Jacob Marlowe's Secret (1890) and The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus (1900).