Rollo's Journey to Cambridge

In 1879-1880 the Harvard Lampoon published a parody of the Rollo books. This book was authored by John T. Wheelwright and Frederic Stimson and was illustrated by Francis Gilbert Attwood. The three were among the original founders of the Harvard Lampoon.

Attwood (1856-1900) was a member of the Harvard class of 1878 but never graduated. After Harvard he studied at the Boston Museum of Art. His first artistic efforts were published in the Harvard Lampoon. Later he was published in the Cosmopolitan as well as Life magazine where he was a staff cartoonist.

Frederic Jesup Stimson studied law and eventually became an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts. He was also an author of some note penning books both in and out of the legal area.

John T. Wheelwright graduated from Harvard Law School. He practiced law in the Boston area and also authored several books.

The Rollo parody finds fifteen year old Rollo smoking, torturing his younger cousin and getting ready to take college entrance exams in Cambridge. The story is quite bizarre with Rollo eventually being tried for manslaughter, being found guilty and being hung. Rollo's uncle gets drunk, his mother gets a divorce, etc. etc. These are certainly not the adventures of Jacob Abbott's Rollo.

Each of the editions that I have seen have 28 pages and are identical with the exception that the baseball picture on page 15 in the earliest editions is replaced by a picture of Jonas and Thanny in later editions.

Early Baseball Illustration

The bibliographical history is quite interesting. After the story was published in the Harvard Lampoon in 1879-1880 it was reprinted by a number of publishers. There were eight editions not including the 1926 Memorial Edition.

1. A. Williams & Company, Boston.1880-1883 - First-Fifth Editions
2. Cupples and Upham , Boston 1883-1886 - Sixth Edition(1883)
3. Cupples and Hurd, Boston 1887 - Seventh Edition
4. Walker and Aspinwall, Boston 1895-Eighth Edition
5. Houghton and Miflin, Boston 1926- Memorial Edition

The authors noted a list of the books that would have been in this series had Rollo survived. These books were to be combined in the Brimstone Series.


A. Williams & Company published the first five editions. The first two were published in 1880. The second edition was co-published with C. T. Dillingham. An ad in an 1880 A. Williams published book notes a "third and enlarged edition". The description of the cover makes it relatively certain that there had not been a change from the first two editions. The fourth and fifth editions were published in 1882.


First Edition Title Page

Second Edition Title Page


Cupples, Upham and Company succeeded A. Williams and Company after Williams retired. In 1883 this company published the sixth edition. It has not been seen but undoubtedly is identical to the seventh edition published by Cupples and Hurd.


Cupples and Hurd Succeeded Cupples, Upham and Company in 1887. It published only the 1887 seventh edition.


Walker and Aspinwall, a Cambridge, Massachusetts publisher, published the eighth edition in 1895. At this time the cover design was changed. The text and illustrations are identical to the previous editions.


In 1926 Houghton and Miflin published a memorial edition. The cover design is the same as the earliest editions. There is no difference internally from the previous books.

Dust jacket