Brandeis University Children's Literature Collection | Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections, Library and Technology Services


A Millionaire at Sixteen
Brother Against Brother
A Missing Million
Home Overview Horatio Alger Tom Swift, Jr. Jerry Todd Other Titles

Oliver Optic

* * *

"You are in my power, you young reprobate" "The right arm of the villain dropped to his side" "They walked directly to the monument"


Oliver Optic’s heroes are often allowed to enjoy their financial security. His “All Over the World Library” (1892-1898) follows the heroically wealthy Louis Belgrave, whose adventures depend upon his wealth. Optic acknowledges his debt to Belgrave’s assets in the preface to the second book in the series, A Millionaire at Sixteen (1892), by writing, “Possibly some of my numerous friends may have accused me, after reading the first volume [A Missing Million (1892)], with being unnecessarily liberal to my hero, in supplying him with ‘the missing million,’ even augmented to nearly half as much more, so that he is actually a millionaire and a half; but the present story will assure such critics that even this vast sum was necessary in carrying out the purposes of the writer.” Louis Belgrave would be a smug, obnoxious rich boy in an Alger novel, but Optic caresses him through such difficulties as almost losing some money, very nearly being sued, and having no choice but to shoot a penurious rapscallion in the shoulder. Optic’s novels take comfort in noblesse oblige, even when the results are more complicated than strictly noble.