Special Collections / Dime Novels

Dime Novels

Dime novel holdings persist in four of our collections: Johannsen, LeBlanc, Merriwell, and Horatio Alger. The two most extensive collections are the Albert Johannsen Collection and the Edward T. LeBlanc Collection. Additions to our dime novel holdings are actively being sought. A growing collection of digitized dime novels from the Johannsen and LeBlanc Collections are available at Nickels and Dimes. Researchers desiring to consult physical copies of dime novels that are digitized must receive special permission from the Curator. Requests to view dime novels that have not been digitized must be received at least three business days before your visit.

Albert Johannsen Collection

The Albert Johannsen Collection was acquired in 1967. It contains his working papers, including research notes, memoirs, dry plates, and memorabilia, as well as his collection of Beadle & Adams dime novels and other popular literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that were used for his landmark multivolume bibliography, The House of Beadle and Adams. This bibliography has been digitized by the NIU Libraries through The Beadle & Adams Dime Novel Digitization Project. Reproduction rights to the bibliography are owned by the University of Oklahoma Press. We hold near-complete runs of Beadle's Dime NovelsBeadle's Half-Dime LibraryBeadle's New York Dime Library, the Saturday JournalBeadle's Weekly, and Banner Weekly.

Edward T. LeBlanc Collection

The Edward T. LeBlanc Collection was acquired in 1998 and contains more than 700 different dime novel series and novelettes from 1850 to 1925. The collection is partially cataloged. The most current list of holdings awaiting processing can be found in our inventoryTip Top WeeklyFame and Fortune WeeklyPluck and LuckSecret ServiceWide Awake Library, and Oliver Optic's Magazine are well represented in this collection, many with fairly complete runs. Also included in the collection is his working bibliography, available online from Villanova University, documenting nearly every dime novel series and story ever published. LeBlanc was the editor of the Dime Novel Round-Up, magazine devoted to the curation and study of dime novels, from 1952 to 1994.

Merriwell Collection

A collection of the books and serials featuring Frank and Dick Merriwell, such as Tip Top Weekly and Merriwell Series that are present in complete runs.