Tom Swift at 100

One of the great stories in the annals of American juvenile publishing was the creation a century ago by Edward Stratemayer, founder of the Stratemayer Syndicate, a book-packaging firm, of Tom Swift, the boy inventor who appeared in 105 books written by various authors in five separate series over the years, and whose sales totaled in the many millions. His adventures coveted by collectors--none more desirable than the gee-whiz kid's first appearance, "Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle," 1910, at right--the iconic character has his own fan club, which will be mounting a centennial convention next month in San Diego that promises to be quite the bash.

Organizer of the event is James D. Keeline, for many years a bookseller with Prince and the Pauper Collectible Children's Books in San Diego, and now, with his wife Kim, crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's for what is being billed as the 100th Anniversary Tom Swift Convention (TS100), an ambitious get-together of kindred spirits scheduled for Friday, July 16, through Sunday, July 18, at the Sheraton Mission Valley Hotel in San Diego.

Activities include several tours that should be of particular interest to Tom Swift fans, the San Diego Automotive Museum and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. In conjunction with the convention, there will be what sounds like a terrific exhibition of books and artifacts at the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego; programs at the fair include presentations on such topics as "How Tom Swift Invented Everything," "Tom Swift on the Silver Screen," "Tom Swift Science Vs. Real World Science," and "Artists of Tom Swift." There will be  round-table discussions for collectors, plus lots more--Tom Swift themed doo-dads and many books for sale, and great things on display--including a wood model of the Aeroship designed for an unproduced Tom Swift film that Twentieth Century Fox had worked on in the mid-'60s.

All in all, sounds like a great take-in. The convention's motto says it all: "100 Years of Making Science and Invention Cool."