Monday, June 7, 2010

Dime Novels

 On June 7, 1860, Beadle and Company began a series of books that they called "Beadle's Dime Novels." They were printed on inexpensive paper with cardboard covers and usually cost a dime although some sold for a nickel. These novels were known for their shocking, bright covers and titillating content. Dime novels quickly became a bestseller with Beadle publishing approximately two novels per month for over ten years. The novels were numbered sequentially so that they could be mailed as "periodicals" at a much reduced rate. 
          Mrs. Ann Stevens' previously serialized tale of Malaeska, an Indian squaw, who had married a white man William Danforth, was chosen by Beadle to be this first novel. Malaeksa tells her tale of an inter-racial marriage and the problems with acceptance.

By today's standards, the dime novels are not so titillating, but in the 1860s and 1870s they were quite racy. These novels are not of great literary value, but their inexpensive cost was a godsend in that it allowed the average adult the opportunity to read and own a book. For others, the book would be simply tossed after reading.


  1. hi. thanks for reading picky and leaving it some love! i couldn't live in the country. i'd go bored out of my mind. BUT i LOVE having it nearby. i've lived in houston and san antonio. HATED living in houston (though that could be because i was in the wrong parts and therefore, had to use the freeways -- i might've liked it better had that not been the case). san antonio was great, but i was living on the north edge of it, so i was close to boerne and bulverde, which are lovely. i went back a few years ago, though, and a lot of that area had been developed, which made me like it much less.

  2. I like visiting big cities! I'm lucky on John's Island because we are about 30 min. away from Charleston, SC, so not too far from a medium-city!

  3. Hi there!!!! It's so nice to meet cha=0) Thanks for stopping by my blog and your sweet comment. I'm following you back!

    Have a great day,

  4. A fellow book-o-phile! And interested in history along with it - how wonderful! I was fortunate enough to inherit some of the penny & dime novels from my Grandmother. They are currently tucked away in storage, carefully packed and protected. This post makes me want to break them out to enjoy all over again!

    I enjoy your blog, Missie! You live in a beautiful part of the southern region (I'm in East TN, so we're sort of neighbors). I'll be back to enjoy more!