James Otis

James Otis is a pseudonym of James Otis Kaler (1848-1912) born in Winterport USA. He wrote over 150 adventure and patriotic biographies that had great appeal for his boy readers. Many were in series and intended for classroom use. Where series names are used below only those that are HNF are listed. 

At 13, Kaler left home to become a reporter in Boston. When he was only 16, he provided news coverage of Civil War battles and events. He continued in the newspaper profession as a writer and editor.  In 1898, Kaler returned to Maine to become the first superintendent of schools for the city of South Portland that had just separated from Cape Elizabeth. The city later named an elementary school in his honor. In the early 1970s, Kaler's sons and grandchildren presented the city with a collection of Kaler manuscripts, books, and letters. The materials are located in the South Portland Public Library and can be viewed by scholars and interested readers.

Many of his novels are not copyright in many countries and some are available as free eBooks in the online store

Series: Young Patriot Series
Year  Book  Comment
1778 A Cruise with Paul Jones David Carlton is picked up from a wreck by the American sloop Ranger and becomes a powder monkey **
Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
1762 At the Siege of Havana The experiences of three boys before Moro Castle during the Siege of Havana **
1775 When we Destroyed the Gaspee A novel based around the destruction of the Gaspee by American colonists
1776 The Capture of the Laughing Mary During the British occupancy of New York, at the outbreak of the Revolution, a Yankee lad hears of a plot **    
1812 With Perry on Lake Erie About the battles on Lake Erie during the War of 1812    
  The Cruise of the Enterprise The struggle and defeat of the French privateering expedition against the US in 1799    
  Afloat in Freedoms Cause The story of two boys serving on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812 **    
  Amos Dunkel, Oarsman Amos Dunkel is an oarsman in the whale boat navy based in Long Island Sound during 1776 **    
  With Rodgers on the President The Story of the Cruise Wherein the Flagship Fired the First Hostile Shot in the War with Great Britain for the Rights of American Seamen    
  With Preble at Tripoli A Story of "Old Ironsides" and the Tripolitan War    
  With Porter in the Essex A story of his famous cruise in Southern waters during the War of 1812    

** These books were re-published under alternate titles as part of the 'Navy Boys' series

AOS Privateer Fiction

Series: Privateers of 1812 Series
Year  Book  Comment
  The Cruise of the Comet Stephen Burton is a boy who served aboard the Comet and  was also Cptn. Thomas Boyle's nephew.
  Captain Tom The further adventures of Stephen Burton and Cptn. Boyle aboard the armed Brig Chasseur
  The Armed Ship America Two Salem boys who join the armed ship America for her first voyage
Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
1765 The Charming Sally The story of a privateer schooner of New York
1780 The Cruise of the Pickering The Pickering is a privateer venturing out to take on the British in the broad Atlantic **


© 2008-2024 David Hayes (Astrodene)