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Sample Autograph Signature: Robert Franc Schulkers

American newspaperman and author of the Seckatary Hawkins juvenile series. Robert Franc Schulkers (1890 - 1972) was the author of the popular 1920's series about the adventures a Kentucky river boys club, The "Fair and Square Club," under the pseudonym "Seckatary Hawkins," which was also the name of the protagonist in the stories. Schulkers, who was born and attended school in Covington, Kentucky, sold his first short stories to a local newspaper while still in high school. He studied architectural draftsmanship after high school, but joined the Cincinnati Enquirer as the secretary to the publisher in 1911. The newspaper quickly discovered his other talents, and Schulkers was soon contributing many stories for children, writing book reviews, assisting the music and drama editor, occasionally acting as a reporter, and doing their photography. The first Seckatary Hawkins story appeared in the children's section of the Cincinnati Enquirer's Sunday Magazine on February 3, 1918 after the editor asked him to write something weekly. Schulkers briefly left the Enquirer in 1920 and spent less than a year in Cuba working as a horse-racetrack publicity man and also completing The Mystery of the Cazanova Treasure: Seckatary Hawkins in Cuba , the first book in the series published in 1921. Schulkers' stories were immediately popular and were quickly sought by national publications. An actual Fair and Square Club was started by the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1923. The club issued a bi-monthly magazine for members that contained serialized Seckatary stories, member letters, contests, and offers for Seckatary paraphernalia such as pinbacks, spinners, bookends, etc. His success lead him to resign from the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1925 to become a full time writer. By the early 1930s, he had written all eleven of the Seckatary Hawkins novels, but continued to write newspaper comic strips and weekly stories. The National Seckatary Hawkins Clubs, however, became a business unto themselves, claiming several million members worldwide. Schulkers managed the business, traveled the country attending club ceremonies and events, promoting club membership, and running his own radio show until 1935. The over 600 chapters held picnics, special theatrical entertainments, parades, essay contests, Seckatary Hawkins days at Coney Island, and even made movies where all club members became the cast. Jackie Coogan, the child screen star, became a member in 1923 and had his father build him a clubhouse. In the late 1930s, the Seckatary Hawkins phenomenon began to wane, and by 1942, the year the last Seckatary Hawkins reprint was published, Schulkers took the job of heading Publicity and Development for the State of Ohio. He resigned the following year to return to the Cincinnati Enquirer where he conducted reader opinion surveys, but also tried to revive his business which finally failed in 1945. He then was placed in charge of the newspaper's library and also wrote the "daily thought" for their editorial page.

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Author: Robert Franc  Schulkers

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