The Sprague Publishing Company


Based in Detroit, Michigan, The Sprague Publishing Company was involved in the production of "The American Boy" magazine and was a monthly publication aimed at young boys, featuring a variety of content including stories, adventure, sports, and relevant advertising.

It was founded by William C. Sprague and became the largest boys' magazine in the United States during its time, with a peak circulation of 300,000 copies.

The magazine was first published in November 1899 and continued until August 1941.

The format of the magazine was notably large, and it was priced affordably to reach a broad audience.

Griffith Ogden Ellis took over as president and editor in 1908, with J. Cotner Jr. serving as secretary and treasurer, H. D. Montgomerie as managing editor, and Clarence Budington Kelland as assistant editor.

In 1929, Ellis merged "The American Boy" with its rival, Youth's Companion, and in 1939, he sold his interest to Elmer Presley Grierson.

Franklin M. Reck was the managing editor from 1936 to 1941, and George F. Pierrot became half-owner and co-publisher in 1940.

The history of the Sprague Publishing Company is closely tied to "The American Boy" magazine, which was its flagship publication.

The company's role in the publishing industry was significant during the first half of the 20th century, as it contributed to American children's literature and culture. However, the magazine ceased publication in August 1941, marking the end of an era for the Sprague Publishing Company.


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