Dime Novels

Indian Jim, a Tale of the Minnesota Massacre.
Indian Jim, a Tale of the Minnesota Massacre. Ayer 438 .E39 1864.

Dime novels thrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States. Erastus Beadle published the first dime novel in 1860, and his quick success prompted many other firms to enter the market. Dime novels were short works of fiction, usually focused on the dramatic exploits of a single heroic character. As evidenced by their name, dime novels were sold for a dime (sometimes a nickel), and featured colorful cover illustrations. They were bound in paper, making them light, portable, and somewhat ephemeral. Publishers issued dime novels in series, numbering each novel individually. (This practice enabled publishers to take advantage of a postal loophole, and send their novels through the mail at the much cheaper rates established for periodicals.) Dime novels were read by literate adults of all ages, although over time young men and boys became the primary audience.

The Newberry has a small number of American dime novels (approximately 100). Most of the Newberry’s dime novels focus on the American frontier, cowboys, scouts, and Indians, which is fitting considering the library’s major collections on Western Americana and American Indians. The “first” dime novel (Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, 1860) may be found at the Newberry, along with additional works dating up to 1909. We also have a number of major bibliographical sources useful for dime novel research.

The Newberry’s Online Catalog is the best place to check for dime novels and related items. If you are searching for a particular author or title, search under these headings first. You might also try searching under the publisher’s name or the name of the series. Bibliographies and reference works (below) may help you identify likely authors, titles, publishers, and series. The subject heading “dime novels” will uncover some items at the Newberry, but not all.

Bibliographies and Reference Works

Anderson, Vicki. The Dime Novel in Children’s Literature. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005. Call Number: PS374.D5 A53 2005.

Bragin, Charles. Dime Novels, Bibliography, 1860-1928. Brooklyn, NY: Bragin, 1938. Call Number: lower case y 25.11.

Cox, J. Randolph. The Dime Novel Companion: A Source Book. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. Call Number: Ref PS374.D5 C69 2000.

Cox, J. Randolph. Magnet Detective Library. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 51 (i.e. 15). Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1985. Call Number: PS374 D5 D55 V. 54, no. 6.

Craufurd, Ross. Our Boys and New York Boys Weekly: The Great Tousey-Munro Rivalry. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 11. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1979. Call Number: PS374 D5 D55.

Dime Novel Round-Up. Call Number: PS374 D5 D55 (specify year). Journal devoted to the study of dime novels. The Newberry has Dime Novel Round-Up from 1931-present. A print index for the years 1931-1981 is available (Call Number: PS374 D5 D55 Index). The tables of contents for later years (1989-2004) may be found at Dime Novel Round-Up.

Dime Novel Round-Up, Bibliographic Listings. Call Number: PS374 D5 D55 (specify year). See Dime Novel Round-Up Bibliographic Listings for a list of available bibliographies. The Newberry has Dime Novel Round-Up from 1931-present. Note: some items on this list are individually cataloged.

Hoppenstand, Gary. Dime Novel Detective. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1982. Call Number: folio Z1231 D55 D55 1982. 

Johanssen, Albert. The House of Beadle & Adams. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950. Call Number: Ayer 290 J43 1950. 

Johannsen, Albert. The Nickel Library. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 3. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1959. Call Number: PS374.D5 D552 no. 3.

Jones, Daryl. The Dime Novel Western. Bowling Green, OH: Popular Press, Bowling Green State University, 1978. Call Number: Ayer PS 374 D5 J6.

Leithead. J. Edward. New Buffalo Bill Weekly. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 5. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1970. Call Number: PS374.D5 D552 no. 5.

Mayo, Chester G. Good News, with further listings of Army and Navy Weekly, Half Holiday, The Bous’ Holiday, The Holiday. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 4. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1960. Call Number: PS374.D5 D552 no. 4.

Pearson, Edmund. Dime Novels; or, Following an Old Trail in Popular Literature. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1929. Call Number: Y2518.665.

Rittenhouse, Jack D. Dime Novels on Early Oil. Sierra Madre, CA: Stagecoach Press, 1951. Call Number: Ayer 290. R596 195.

Rogers, Denis R. American Novels. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 14. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1981. Call Number: PS374 D5 D552 no. 14.

Rogers, Denis R. Bibliographic Listing of Beadle’s Frontier Series. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlank, 1962. Call Number: folio lowercase Y2 .088 no. 4.

Rogers, Denis R. Munro’s Ten Cent Novels. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 2. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1958. Call Number: PS374.D5 D552 no. 2.

Steinhauer, Donald L. Golden Days. Dime Novel Round-Up, Supplement, Bibliographic Listing, No. 1. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1958. Call Number: PS374.D5 D552 no. 1.

Selected Dime Novels at the Newberry

Alice Wilde, the Raftsman’s Daughter: A Forest Romance, by Metta V. Victor. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 4. New York: Irwin P. Beadle and Company, 1860. Call Number: *Ruggles 320 no. 4.

Collection of Weeklies, 1900-1907. New York: Street & Smith, 1900-1907. Fourteen items. Titles include Do and Dare, New Nick Carter Weekly, Tip Top Weekly, Wild West Weekly, and Work and Win. Call Number: sc1712.

Beadle’s Dime Speaker Series. New York: M. J. Ivers & Company, [1887-1900]. Call Number: Y9968.082. Newberry has numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11-13, 20, and 24.

Big Foot, the Guide; or, The Surveyors: A Tale of the Carolina Settlements, by W. J. Hamilton (i.e. C. D. Clark). Beadle’s American Library, No. 75. London: G. Routledge, [186-?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 8.

The Boy Scouts: or, The Hunt of the Pottawatomies, by Mahlon A. Brown (i.e. Edward S. Ellis). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 66. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 438.B34 no. 66.

Buckskin Bill; or, The White Demon of the Woods, by Guy Greenwood. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 206. New York: Beadle and Company, [1870]. Call Number: Ayer 438 G69 1870.

Bullet head; or, The Indian Trailer, by Latham C. Carleton (i.e. Edward S. Ellis). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 78. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 439 B3 1909 v. 5.

Chip, the Cave-Child, by Mary A. Dennison. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 6. New York: Irwin P. Beadle and Company, 1860. Call Number: *Ruggles 320 no. 6.

Frank Merriwell’s All-Star Opponents; or, Battling the Best in Baseball, by Robert McDowell. Tip Top Weekly, No. 851. Fall River, MA: E. T. LeBlanc, 1978 (Reproduces story originally issued in 1912). Call Number: PS374 D5 D55 v. 47, no. 4.

The Golden Belt, or, the Carib’s Pledge, by Colin Barker. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 5. New York: Irwin P. Beadle and Company, 1860. Call Number: *Ruggles 320 no. 5.

Hawk-eye the Hunter, by Frederick Whittaker. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 4. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 439 B3 1909 v. 1

The Hunted Life; A Story of Startling Adventures in the Far West, by Colonel Walter B. Dunlap (i.e. Sylvanus Cobb). Beadle’s Sixpenny Tales, No. 1. London: Beadle and Co., [1862]. Call Number: Ayer 439 C653 1862. 

The Hunters; or, Life on the Mountain and Prairie, by Latham C. Carleton (i.e. Edward S. Ellis). Beadle’s Ten Cent Novels, No. 1. New York: I. P. Beadle & Co., [1863]. Call Number: Ayer 438 E39 1863.

Indian Jim, a Tale of the Minnesota Massacre. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No.25. Cleveland: A. Westbrook Company, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 25.

The Indian Queen’s Revenge, by Ned Buntline (i.e. Edward Zane Carroll Judson). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 56. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 56.

The Indian Spirit; or, Perils of the Border, a Story of Indian Warfare, by Arthur L. Meserve. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 79. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 79.

The King’s Man: A Tale of South Carolina in Revolutionary Times, by Augustine Duganne. Beadle’s American Library, No. 32. London: Beadle and Co., [1863]. Call Number: Ayer 439 D780 1863.

Legends of the Missouri and Mississippi. Beadle’s Sixpenny Tales, Nos. 9-11. London: E. F. Beadle and Co., [1862-1863]. Call Number: Ayer 438 H785 1862.

The Life and Times of Christopher Carson, the Rocky Mountain Scout and Guide, by Edward S. Ellis. Beadle’s Dime Biographical Library, No. 3. New York: Beadle and Company, [1861]. Call Number: Ayer 247 C15 E4 1861.

Mabel Meredith; or, Hates and Loves, by the author of “Madge Wylde”. Beadle’s American Library, No. 29. London: E. F. Beadle & Co., [1864]. Call Number: Case Y255 M032.

Mad Anthony’s Captain, by Ned Buntline (i.e Edward Zane Carroll Judson). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 38. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 38.

The Madman of the Oconto: or, The Queen of the Cave, by J. C. Chase. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 51. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 439 B3 1909 v. 2.

Mahaska, the Indian Princess: A Tale of the Six Nations, by Ann S. Stephens. Beadle’s American Library, No. 37. London: G. Routledge, [186-?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 7.

Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann S. Stephens. Beadle’s American Library, No. 1. New York: Irwin P. Beadle and Company, 1860. Call Number: *Ruggles 320 No. 1. Considered to be the very first dime novel.

Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann S. Stephens. Beadle’s American Library, No. 4. London: Beadle [1861?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 2.

Massasoit’s Daughter: Or, The French Captives: A Romance of Aboriginal New England, by A. J. H. Duganne. Beadle’s American Library, No. 6. London: G. Routledge, [186-?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 3.

Men of the Time: Being Biographies of Generals, by Orville James Victor. Beadle’s Dime Series. New York: Beadle and Company, [1862-1863]. Call Number: U01.94.

The Moose-Hunter; or, Life in the Maine Woods, by John Neal. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 72. New York: Beadle and Company, [1864]. Call Number: Case 3A 2694.

Myra, the Child of Adoption: A Romance of Real Life, by Ann S. Stephens. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 3. New York: Irwin P. Beadle and Company, 1860. Call Number: *Ruggles 320 no. 3.

Nathan Todd; or, The Fate of the Soiux Captive, by Edward S. Ellis. Beadle’s American Library, No. 9. London: G. Routledge, [186-?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 4.

The New House That Jack Built, by L. Whitehead. Beadle’s Dime Series. New York: Beadle and Company, 1865. Call Number: Y274.973.

A New York Boy Among the Indians, by George L. Aiken. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 29. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 29.

Old Nick of the Swamp, by Ned Buntline (i.e. Edward Zane Carroll Judson). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 40. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 40.

Oonomoo, the Huron, by Edward S. Ellis. Beadle’s New Dime Novels, no. 534 (n.s. no. 213). New York: Beadle and Adams, [1862]. Call Number: Ayer 439 E4 1862.

The Privateer’s Cruise and the Bride of Pomfret Hall, by Harry Cavendish. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 2. New York: Irwin P. Beadle and Company, 1860. Call Number: *Ruggles 320 no. 2.

The Riflemen of the Miami, by Edward S. Ellis. Beadle’s American Library, No. 18. London: G. Routledge, [186?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 5.

The Scout of Long Island, by R. L. Wheeler. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 75. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 439 B3 1909 v. 4.

The Scout of Tippecanoe, by R. L. Wheeler. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 64. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 439 B3 1909 v. 3.

Seth Jones: or, The Captives of the Frontier, by Edward S. Ellis. Beadle’s American Library, No. 1. London: G. Routledge, [186?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 1.

The Shadow Scout; or, Screaming Moses of the Fishkill Mountains, by Ned Buntline (i.e. Edward Zane Carroll Judson). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 41. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 41.

The Shawnee’s Foe; or, The Hunter of the Juniata, by W. J. Hamilton (i.e. Charles Dunning Clark). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 1. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 1.

Single Eye: A Story of King Phillip’s War, by Warren St. John. Beadle’s American Library, No. 28. London: Beadle, [186-?]. Call Number: Ayer 439 B36 1861 v. 6.

Snow Bird; or, The Trapper’s Child, by Edward Willett. Beadle’s Dime Novels, No. 159. New York: Beadle and Company, [1868]. Call Number: Ayer 438 W705 1868.

Texan Joe, or, Army Life on the Frontiers, by Latham C. Carlton (i.e. Edward S. Ellis). Munro’s Ten Cent Novels, No. 124. New York: George Munro, 1868. Call Number: Ayer 438.C2 1868.

Tiger-Eye, by Ned Buntline (i.e. Edward Zane Carroll Judson). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 53. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 53.

The Trapper’s Bride; or, Love and War, A Tale of the Texan Revolution, by W. J. Hamilton (i.e. Charles Dunning Clark). Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 62. Cleveland: A. Westbrook, 1909. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 62.

The True Life of Bill the Kid, by Don Jenardo (i.e John Woodruff Lewis). Five Cent Wide Awake Library, No. 451. New York: F. Tousey, 1881. Call Number: folio Graff 2475.

Wapawkaneta; or, The Ranger of the Oneida, by Frederick Whittaker. Beadle’s Frontier Series, No. 10. Cleveland: A. Westbrook Company, 1908. Call Number: Ayer 438 B34 no. 10.

The White Wizard; or, The Great Prophet of the Seminoles, by Ned Buntline (i.e. Edward Zane Carroll Judson). Beadle’s Sixpenny Tales, No. 6. London: Beadle and Co., [1862]. Call Number: Ayer 439 J93 1862. 

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