About the Project
The Series & Papers
Dime Novel Archives
Copyrights & Policies
Dime Novel Archives in the United States
The following list of archives was compiled over two years of research
into women's dime novels. The comments are based on personal visits to
over half of these archives and published archive descriptions.
Brandies University Library, Special Collections
Collection of dime novel literature, primarily focusing on publications
on men and boys. Women's materials include: Bertha M. Clay
Series, 55 titles; Daisy Library by Street & Smith (This may
be a girls series), 2 titles; Eagle Library, 43 titles; Eagle
Series, 84 titles; Hart Series, 57 titles; Laura
Series, 2 titles; Love Story Library, 20 titles; My
Queen, Numbers 1 & 2; New Bertha Clay Library, approximately
100 titles; New Eagle Series approximately 200 titles; New
Romance Library (Street & Smith) 2 titles; and the Waverly
Library, approximately 14 titles. A complete list
of the collection is available on line.
Delaware, University of
In relation to their collecting interests in the history of publishing,
the Special Collections Department has a small collection, The
Beadle & Adams Archive, pertaining primarily to Erastus Beadle
of the dime novel publishers Beadle & Adams. I have used this collection and found it of limited interest to the study of women's dime novels. They also have the Charles Humberd Dime Novel Collection which is a small collection of about eight items, several items relating to the work of Charles Bragin and several dime novels.
The Special Collections Department has holdings on nineteenth-century
American women's writing. It is not a dime novel collection per se,
but they do have papers for three writers whose work was often reprinted
in dime novel format--Mary E. Braddon, Eliza Dupuy, and E.D.E.N. Southworth.
I have not visited this collection and cannot say how extensive the collections
of papers are, but the library does have a solid number of Braddon's,
Dupuy's, and Southworth's published works. For those working in on the
twentieth century, they also have holdings on lesbian pulp fiction.
Huntington Library Collection
The Beadle & Adams Collection contains about 3,000 titles. It is almost
exclusively devoted to men's and boy's publications. The general fiction
holdings are a better bet for researchers interested in women's dime novels.
The general rare book fiction holdings contain dime novel authors whose
work was republished by non-dime novel publishers. As of August 2001,
the Huntington does not have their computerized databases of their holdings
on line yet, though finding aids are on-line. For specific information
about the holdings contact the
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress' Dime
Novel Collection is one of the largest dime novel collections in the
country. It is estimated to contain over 40,000 titles, representing over
280 series. The collection was obtained through copyright deposits. It
is not well catalogued, but the excellent staff is well-versed in the
collection and willing to work with researchers.
Examples of the publishers represented include Beadle & Adams, Street
& Smith, Frank Tousey, George Munro, and Norman Munro. The Library
has microfilmed 29 series to make them available to the public outside
the library. Unfortunately for researchers interested women's dime novel
fiction, none of the series selected are specifically for women. Microfilmed
series include Beadles' Dime Library, Murno's Old Sleuth Library,
The Liberty Boys of '76, Diamond Dick Series, and the New
York Detective Library. The Library also has a online exhibit about dime novels.
Michigan, University of, Russell Nye Collection
The Russell Nye
Popular Culture Collection is weak on women's holdings in the nineteenth
century. For women's publications it is better on twentieth-century women's
items, such as Love Story Magazine. Nineteenth-century holdings
include Beadle's Frontier Series, Deadwood Dick series,
and Argosy Magazine.
Minnesota, University of, Hess Collection
Although I haven't had a chance to visit the Hess
Collection yet, it is reputed to be one of the better dime novel collections
in the country. It is based on the collection of George Hess and contains
Beadleís Dime Novels, The Boys of New York, The Seaside
Library, and Alger Series Books. It also has Big Little Books,
my favorite books from my parent's library when I was a kid.
New York Public Library, Frank O'Brien Dime Novel Collection
This collection of about 1,400 dime novels was put together by the private
collector, Dr. Frank P. O'Brien. He dominated it tot he the Library in
1922. Unfortunately for researchers interested in women's dime novels
it is very weak on women's authors, though they do have Beadle's women's
series Girls of Today (1875) and Belles and Beaux (1874).
Other related collections at the New York Public Library include the travel
diaries of Laura Jean Libbey and the papers of story paper publishers
Robert Bonner. In addition to books, the library has collected some unusual
dime novel memorabilia, such as an original street sign for the firm Beadle
& Adams, extensive records of Erastus Beadle's genealogical investigations
and his journal from a trip to Nebraska in 1857.
New York University, Levy Feminine Writers Collection
This is a great collection of women's popular writing in the nineteenth
century. It is truly a hidden gem. Dr. Levy is the only "cheap fiction"
collector I am aware who took the women's publications as seriously as
the men's and made it a particular mission to collect and preserve it
in significant numbers. It also contains the papers of dime novel collectors
and Benners. Unfortunately, as of August 2001, information about the
content of the Levy Collection is not on line. Researchers should contact
the staff of the special collections
department for additional information.
Northern Illinois University, Albert Johannson Dime Novel Collection
The primary attraction here is the Albert
Johannson Dime Novel Collection of 50,000 volumes! It is a wonderful
collection of dime novels and Johannson's papers. In addition to their
excellent holdings, NUI offers the Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study
of Popular Culture to scholars wishing to make use of the collection.
though Johannson did not focus on women's works in particular, he did
aim to collect every item every published by the firm of Beadle and Adams.
Thus, his collection is so extensive many women's titles, such as The
Waverly Library, are well represented.
Oberlian College, The Walter F. Tunks Collection,
Walter F. Tunks Dime Novel Collection consists of approximately 4000 items. Over 200 different American serial titles are represented along with several French, British and German titles. There are also items such as newspaper clippings, articles, bibliographies and correspondence collected by Tunks that may be of interest to collectors and scholars. I have not been able to visit this collection yet, but based on their finding aids it seems this collection is primarily men's dime novels, though they do list several items from the My Queen series. Items from this series are extremely rare.
Dime Novel and Story Paper Collection
Novel and Story Paper Collection contains approximately 8,000 volumes.
Sample titles include Frank Leslie's Boys of America, Good News,
Beadles New York Dime Library, and Old Sleuth Weekly. Stanford
University was one of the first to give dime novels a strong presence
on the web and their site is still one of the best ones on the subject.
[A thorough review of the Stanford website by Cheryl Lemus available here.]
State University of New York, Buffalo, Kelley Collection
Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection is a relatively new collection.
The focus is on pulp fiction after World War II. The collection was put
together by Dr. George Kelley who collected thousands of titles, over
25,000, from the 1940s to the 1980s. The focus is on detective and mystery
Syracuse University, Street and Smith Collection
& Smith collection contains business papers from the dime novel
publisher, Street and Smith. The focus is on radio manuscripts (one-third
of the collection), unpublished manuscripts, i.e. rejects Street & Smith did not use, and limited business records. The business records
are primarily the 3 x 5 notes cards used by the firm to track each manuscript.
Each card includes specific information about each story, such as which
series it was published in, the original title and any title changes in
later reprints, the author's name with pen names, and the amount paid
for the story. The cards do not include editorial remarks and the collection
in general only has an occasional reader report.
University Microfilm Collection
project, has several thousand full text novels. It is based on Minnesota's
Hess Collection. This microfilm collection is not useful for those interested
in women's dime novels since it contains very few dime novels for or about
women. I reviewed the index thoroughly and found only about one dozen
titles of interest to scholars of women's dime novels.
Yale University/ Beadle Collection
According to a manuscript collections reference, this collection contains
about 3,000 volumes. Titles include the Gimble Collection of Science
Fiction Dime Novels. It may have Weekly Library for Young Girls though I have not visited this collection yet. I found this reference
in a printed guide to collections. I have not been able to find more detailed
information about the collection at either the Yale University Library
web site or Special Collections web site. Additional information may be
available by contacting the Library's
Special Collections Committee.
Last Update: April 12, 2005