American writer of boys' stories, b. Revere, Mass. He wrote over 100 books for boys, the first, Ragged Dick, being published in 1867. By leading exemplary lives, struggling valiantly against poverty and adversity, Alger's heroes gain wealth and honor. His works were all extremely popular. Silas Snobden's Office Boy, which ran serially in the Argosy magazine in 1889–90, was not published as a book until 1973.
See H. R. Mayes, Alger (1928, repr. 1978); study by Edwin P. Hoyt (1983); bibliography by Gary Scharnhorst and Jack Bales (1981).