The formulaic juvenile novels of Horatio Alger Jr. are best remembered for the “rags-to-riches” theme they championed. In these stories, poor city boys rose in social status by working hard and being honest. Alger preached respectability and integrity, while disdaining the idle rich and the growing chasm between the poor and the affluent. In fact, the villains in Alger’s stories were almost always rich bankers, lawyers, or country squires. Published in May 1868, Ragged Dick was an immediate success and propelled Alger from obscurity to literary prominence. Mark, the Match Boy and subsequent volumes in the Ragged Dick series were followed by a sustained output of similar stories in which self-help was a means to upward mobility and economic sufficiency.