The cover says it all !! … Starbeam, an Indian princess, dies in her effort to revenge herself against her jilted lover !! … Murders abound among thieves, ranchers, scalawags and scouts !! … Lurid descriptions portray cunning, crafty and devious characters of the western mountains and plains !! … These exaggerated elements describe this story and all others within the genre of Dime Novels.
Originally created for the reading pleasure of Civil War soldiers and typically 100 conveniently pocket-sized pages, dime novels primarily depict frontier and western stories. Those of the original “pulp fiction” genre were made of cheap wood pulp paper and flimsy comic book-like covers and were aimed at a less literate audience than other novels of the time. They were popular through the end of the 19th century until the advent of the motion picture industry when it became cheaper and easier to watch stories in the theater. No new pulp fiction was published after 1920. Dime novels are interesting because they demonstrate the common tastes, values and stereotypes of their time and allow for the study of mass society. They are thoroughly American and, as such, counter the traditions of European literature.
Magill Library acquired a complete set of Beadle’s Frontier Series of novels in honor of Dr. Emma Lapsansky-Werner who retired in December 2011. Lapsansky-Werner, Professor of History and Curator of the Quaker Collection, taught many classes on the development of the American West, and the acquisition will continue to support this curricular direction, as well as others. There are 100 novels in the series and a complete set is extraordinarily rare, especially in such fine condition as this acquisition. Cataloged in Tripod and residing in the Rare Book Collection, any of these dime novels are available for study to students, faculty and scholars. A full list of titles is available.