About Hardy Boys and Franklin W. Dixon: Although he is said to be the author of every Hardy Boys book, there is actually no writer named Franklin W. Dixon. There never has been. This is the pen name adopted for a group of writers established by a man named Edward Stratemeyer.
Since just before the turn of the century, hundreds of children's series books have sprung from Stratemeyer's fertile mind. His first major series was the Rover Boys, published from 1899 to 1926 under the pseudonym Arthur M. Winfield. Then came Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew etc.
The Hardy Boys Series began in 1927, when three "breeder" volumes (written by Leslie McFarlane under the name Franklin W. Dixon) were released: The Tower Treasure, The House on the Cliff, and The Secret of the Old Mill, published by Grosset & Dunlap. McFarlane, a Canadian journalist, wrote the first fifteen or so volumes of the series. He established the writing style that made the books so successful.
Early volumes were published in a cloth hardcover format with color dust jackets. In 1962, the series switched to a new cover format with the cover art printed directly on the cover (no dust jacket). Collectors know this format as "picture cover" or "PC." This format was used for the Grosset & Dunlap books until 1987, when it was replaced by a laminated plastic cover.
In a process that angered loyal fans, the Syndicate systematically rewrote the Hardy Boys volumes 1-38 between 1959 and 1973. The changes were meant to bring the series more up to date and to eliminate the racial stereotypes that were occasionally found in the earlier volumes.
Despite the failure of Simon & Schuster's attempts to "modernize" the Hardy Boys, the books still remain popular today. In fact, it is the original Hardy Boys Mystery Stories, begun by Edward Stratemeyer in 1927, that have been the most successful. Simon & Schuster publishes several new volumes each year, and the Grosset & Dunlap reprints of the original 58 books (known to collectors as the Hardy Boys "Canon") still sell briskly. Trends may come and go, but it seems certain that the Hardy Boys are a classic series, full of adventure, mystery and excitement for its young readers!!