Friday, October 14, 2016

Roy J. Snell

Image of five Roy Snell books from the collectionScanning the shelves of the Rare Book collections you see lots of authors you know and revere along with noted titles in first editions. It all drips of fame and oozes cultural capital. But there are two full shelves that are more puzzling: they contain over seventy books by Roy J. Snell. If you are wondering who Snell is, you are not alone. He doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry, and we have devoted over six feet of shelf space to his books!

It turns out Snell churned out adventure books for boys and girls. His books competed with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series among others, and he got great distribution and solid sales. According to our Rare Book guide, the Snell books were given to the College in 1955 by Snell and the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library to be included in our substantial "Juveniles" collection.

As far as we can tell, we are one of the few places in the world with a complete collection of his novels. If you are searching for an overlooked popular author to write about, we have you covered. To find his books, search the catalog for "Snell, Roy J."


  1. Snell's books coming to Dartmouth may have been helped by his son's being on the Faculty. J. Laurie Snell (1925-2011) was a mathematics professor 1954-95, sometime MALS program director, and an accomplished musician. He was proud of his father's work and often mentioned him. [SWB]

  2. Hi Stan,
    Yes, the connection with Laurie Snell was almost surely the impetus for the collection coming to Dartmouth, though it also fits nicely with the other authors in the Juveniles collection. We found a bibliography and a short interview with Roy Snell on an old website that had been maintained by Laurie. He had reason to be proud of his father.

  3. Roy Snell was my grandfather and I am hoping to do a wikipedia page soon about him