Trains, books, and anti-union propaganda

Trains, books and anti-union propaganda

In an OpEd News interview with Joan Brunwasser I referred to some antique anti-union propaganda I ran across. Here are more specifics.

The book series itself was titled THE BOYS’ STORY OF THE RAILROAD SERIES, published early 20th century by The Page Company (which, like the vast majority of early U.S. publishers, no longer exists). The books are obviously designed to inspire, or to play upon, kids’—or at least boys’—love of railroads and trains. They also are obviously designed to instruct boys how to become rail employees.


THE YOUNG SECTION-HAND; Or, The Adventures of Allen West. “The whole range of section railroading is covered in the story,” said the Chicago Post at the time. At 278 pages, it should have been. (The Chicago Post, like hundreds of other formerly competing city dailies, no longer exists.)


THE YOUNG TRAIN MASTER. “It is a book that can be unreservedly commended to anyone who loves a good, wholesome, thrilling, informing yarn,” said the Passaic News. (The Passaic News, like hundreds of other small newspapers, is gone.)

THE YOUNG APPRENTICE; Or, Allan West’s Chum. This one got a blurb from the Baltimore Sun: “The story is intensely interesting.” (The Sun still exists but is owned by the Tribune Company, parent of the Chicago Tribune.)

Author Burton E. Stevenson seems to have been relatively successful with his Allen West, since this staunchly anti-union protagonist turns up again. The spelling of young Allen’s name changes, however.

Several of Burton Stevenson’s books are available as free e-books, although the railroad series seems not to have turned up on the list yet.

The Page Company published a number of these small series by its stable of authors. There are two titles by author Lucy M. Blanchard—CARITA, AND HOW SHE BECAME A PATRIOTIC AMERICAN; and CARITA’S NEW WORLD.

Author Herschel Williams penned THE MERRYMAKERS SERIES, about a family enjoying life around the country. See for example THE MERRYMAKERS IN CHICAGO:


“The Merrymakers who had such a splendid Christmas vacation in New York, enjoy another rollicking good time,–a summer vacation in Chicago. While brother Ned, the young newspaper reporter, “covers” the Republican national convention in Chicago, Carl, the oldest of the four sightseeing Merrymakers, decides that he wants to own a department store some day, and incidentally learns all the steps he must take from being an errand boy to a merchant magnate.”


Et cetera.

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