Title page from novel
"Adventures of Gilbert Go-ahead," by
Goodrich, (1851-1856) was the most popular serial to appear in
Museum; at 42 parts, it was also the longest. Though young readers
believe Gilbert's adventures, they took him to their hearts. Like many
heroes of early serials in the Museum, Gilbert is an adult, with an
adult's worries and an adult's insecurities; he often frets that he's not
using his time or resources well. This merchant-adventurer is often fiercely
commercial, apparently seeing the world as an open market and blithely
speaking of "annexing" much of Asia; the quintessential Yankee peddler, he is
Samuel Goodrich's gentle parody of commercial interests run amok.
The serialized story, which appeared sporadically in later years,
ended a bit abruptly when it was published in 1856 as The Voyages, Travels,
and Adventures of Gilbert Go-ahead, in Foreign Parts, Written by Himself, and
Edited by Peter Parley (New York: J.C. Derby). Goodrich made minor
changes in wording when the serialized story became the novel.