Selected Special Collections
Dime Novel Collection
Popular paperback fiction, nineteenth century.
In 1860 Irwin P. Beadle & Company became the first American publisher to issue paperback fiction in a series at the fixed price of ten cents a volume. The first dime novels were largely Indian and pioneer tales that were highly moralistic in spirit. In the 1870s detective adventures, society romances, and rags-to-riches stories were introduced and soon the term dime novel was popularly applied to any sensational, blood-and-thunder novel issued in pamphlet form. Through copyright deposit the Library of Congress has accumulated a dime novel collection of nearly 40,000 titles, from 280 different series. The prolific publishing houses of Beadle & Adams, Frank Tousey, and Street & Smith are well represented. The collection also contains serially published songbooks, jokebooks, and handbooks and issues of the popular reprint libraries that specialized in the unauthorized editions of foreign novels and stories before the passage of the International Copyright At in 1891. There is a particularly extensive run of the Seaside Library, the series founded by George Munro in 1877.
See Dime novels from the Rare Book collections of the Library of Congress for information pertaining to microfilm of this collection.