Horatio Alger, Jr. was born on January 13, 1832. I have not read any of his stories; this is a missing part of my education. And I don’t know what he was like as a person; there is strong evidence that in at least part of his life he was unethical. The important thing here is his influence on American culture with the rags-to-riches stories he wrote. I don’t know if I’d like the total moral view of the author, but I would the outlook he is known for: that people should work hard in life and that they can succeed and become wealthy. And it is good.
Horatio Alger Jr. (1832-1899) was a prolific American author of boy’s adventure stories whose heroes lead exemplary lives to Strive and Succeed in the face of adversity and poverty, good and evil.
Horatio Alger Jr. was born on Friday the 13th of January, 1832 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the oldest of five children. He developed near-sightedness and asthma as a youngster, and wasn’t to excel academically till many years later.
His mother, Olive (née Fenno) Alger, was the daughter of a wealthy merchant. His father, Horatio Alger Sr. earned his living as a Unitarian Minister, but supplemented his meagre ministerial income by becoming the first postmaster in town, tending a small farm and occasionally teaching grammar school. But the family never really got out of economic straits, whereupon they left the town in 1844 to go to Marlborough. It was here that Horatio entered prep school and started to excel with his studies.
In 1848, sixteen year-old Horatio was accepted to Harvard University with financial assistance from his father’s cousin Cyrus Alger, and embarked on the happiest four years of his life. Studying under such illustrious teachers as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Horatio started to hone his writing skills with poetry, short sketches and academic essays on topics from chivalry to Miguel de Cervantes, earning the title Class Poet and winning many awards and prizes.
You can read some of his stories at Northern Illinois University’s Horatio Alger Digital Repository. You can read other of Horatio Alger’s works at Arthur’sClassicNovels.com, at Project Gutenburg, at some site called Selfknowledge.com, at the University of Virginia’s Electronic Text Center, or at Online-literature.com.