is a fictional character appearing in a series of novels and short stories by Gilbert Patten
, who wrote under the pseudonym Burt L. Standish. The character also appears in numerous radio serials and comic books based on the stories.
The model for all later American juvenile sports fiction, Merriwell excelled at football, baseball, basketball, crew and track at Yale
while solving mysteries and righting wrongs.
A biographical entry on Patten noted dryly that Frank Merriwell "had little in common with his creator or his readers." Patten offered some background on his character: "The name was symbolic of the chief characteristics I desired my hero to have. Frank for frankness, merry for a happy disposition, well for health and abounding vitality."
Merriwell's classmates observed, "He never drinks. That's how he keeps himself in such fine condition all the time. He will not smoke
, either, and he takes his exercise regularly. He is really a remarkable freshie."
Merriwell originally appeared in a series of magazine stories starting April 18, 1896 ("Frank Merriwell: or, First Days at Fardale") in Tip Top Weekly
, continuing through 1912, and later in dime novels and comic books. Patten would confine himself to a hotel room for a week to... Read More