Frank Tennyson Neely was born in Quincy, Florida in 1863. He attended Indiana State University. He worked as a machinist and schoolteacher before entering the publishing business. In Chicago, Neely's more popular authors included Bill Nye and James Whitcomb Riley. At the height of his publishing career, Neely's was putting out six million books (copies, not titles) a year. After eleven years of publishing, Neely filed bankruptcy and moved to New York around 1891. He continued to publish, mostly paperbacks. His new authors included Richard Henry Savage, Charles King, and Reverend J. Madison Peters. The New York branch of the Neely Publishing business also went bankrupt.