Horatio Alger, Jr. (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a 19th-century American author who wrote approximately 135 dime novels. Many of his works have been described as rags to riches stories, illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others.
This widely-held view involves a significant simplification, as Alger's characters do not typically achieve extreme wealth; rather they attain middle-class security, stability, and a solid reputation — that is, their efforts are rewarded with a place in society, not domination of it. He is noted as a significant figure in the history of American cultural and social ideals, even though his novels are rarely read these days. As bestsellers in their own time, Alger's books rivaled those of Mark Twain in popularity.