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Stephen Meader

Stephen Meader (1892 - 1977) was a popular children’s author, who wrote many adventure stories. His father was a teacher who gave up teaching when Stephen was 12, and worked as a timber cutter, which outdoor life provided rich material for Stephen’s later career. He wrote his first book when he was out of work, and surviving in a small room he rented for $2 a week. He might as well, he thought, do something with his time.

Stephen Meader went on to write many boys’ adventure stories, his last being in 1969. By that time, publishing fashions had changed. Meader did not want to change his style to fit the new fashion for gritty realism. Well into his 70s, he relaxed and read. His mission had been to cover America: “I think I developed the idea, after publishing about 20 books, that I had a mission and that mission was to cover all of America, all of the periods that were adventurous and romantic and hadn't been written about and all the, to me, fascinating places.”

His books are still popular, and are now being reissued. His book Boy With a Pack was a Newbery Honor book in 1939.

Finding the books: Red Horse Hill and Who Rides in the Dark? are reasonably easy to find. Cedar’s Boy and Wild Pony Island are much harder in the original, though Cedar’s Boy has now been republished. Who Rides in the Dark? was published in the UK. It’s not hugely common, and is not easy to find with its dustjacket.

Links and sources

Louise Moeri’s website
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987

A review of Wild Pony Island on the Pony Book Chronicles. Well worth reading.

Biographical information on Stephen Meader

Stephen Meader’s papers are held in the de Grummond collection

Stephen Meader’s books are being republished by Southern Skies.

Bibliography - horse books only

Red Horse Hill

Harcourt, Brace & Co, New York, 1930, illus Lee Townsend, 244 pp

Bud’s Uncle John has a young pacer called Cedar, and Bud helps train him. If he can manage
to find a way to pay the back taxes, he may be able to inherit his grandfather’s farm.

Who Rides in the Dark?

Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1937, illus James MacDonald

Reprinted several times

Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1938, 222 pp.

Dan finds a job at a livery stable looking after the stagecoach horses, until a group of highwaymen
terrorise the stable and the village.

Cedar’s Boy

Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1949, illus Lee Townsend

(Left dustjacket, right boards)

Shad gets a job at the Martin Stables with his classmate Bud Martin Junior.
He hopes he will eventually be allowed to drive Cedar’s Boy, the pacer
grandson of Cedar.

Wild Pony Island

Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1959, illus Charles Beck

Rick and his family move from Brooklyn to Ocracoke for a better life. Rick joins a mounted
Boy Scout troop which has a herd of Banker ponies. Rick trains their palomino colt.


Red Horse Hill

Cedar’s Boy