William Taylor Adams

William Taylor Adams
BornWilliam Taylor Adams
July 30, 1822
Medway, Massachusetts
DiedMarch 27, 1897
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Resting placeCedar Grove Cemetery
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Magazine editor
GenresBoys' books
Magazine stories
Sentimental poetry
Notable work(s)The Boat Club
The Blue and the Gray
Other series books for boys
Three children's magazines

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William Taylor Adams (July 30, 1822 - March 27, 1897) was an American writer and children's magazine editor. He used the pen name "Oliver Optic". Adams was born in Medway, Massachusetts.

In 1853, he wrote his first novel, Hatchie, the Guardian Slave. Adams taught in the Boston public schools for many years. While teaching, he discovered what kinds of books boys liked best. In 1855, he wrote The Boat Club series for boys. This series was a great success. He wrote many more boys' series.

In 1865, he stopped teaching. He wanted to devote all his time to writing. He became editor of the children's magazines The Student and Schoolmate, Our Little Ones, and Oliver Optic's Magazine: Our Boys and Girls. He served in the Massachusetts legislature for one year. Adams died at his home in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1897.

Children's writer Louisa May Alcott did not like his books. She did not like the slang and settings such as saloons. Librarians did not like Adams's books either. They threw them away. They also threw away the books of other boys' writers. Adams kept writing boys' books though. He got good reviews from the critics. His books sold well. They were reprinted many times.



Other websites

  • Biographical essay in PDF [1]
  • Biographical essay at the Dorchester Aethenaeum site [2]