The Press: Willie to Skeeter to John

Because ten-year-old Willie Sprague quarantined and the only magazine mother would let him read was the Yot Companion, which Willie considered "namby-pamby." Willie's devoted uncle, childless Griffith Ogden Ellis, thought up the more virile American Boy and began editing it in Detroit in 1899. Editor Ellis printed red-blooded features and fiction,* kept editing his magazine for a schoolboy Willie while Willie grew to manhood. The War killed Willie Sprague at 27.

After Willie's death Editor Ellis made up an imaginary boy to edit his magazine for: Skeeter Bennet, a high-school sophomore 15½ years old,...

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