Dime novels, inexpensive stories of adventure and romance, were one of America's primary forms of entertainment in the late 19th century and lasted into the early 20th century. This exhibit provides some basic background material on the dime novels while also examining the people who produced and consumed them, the characters found within their pages, the controversy surrounding them, and some other related forms of entertainment. A brief annotated bibliography is provided, along with links to full text and further information in the collections of Villanova and other institutions.
Curated by Demian Katz, with graphics by Joanne Quinn. Special thanks to the many dime novel scholars who supported this project both indirectly through their writing and directly by a constant willingness to answer questions and share information; Lydia Schurman, in particular, provided extremely valuable feedback at an early stage in the project. Thanks also to Laura Bang and Michael Foight for their helpful guidance on exhibit curation and their tireless devotion to bringing dime novels back to life.
Jun 2nd, 2014
Thank you for sharing this online.
Nov 11th, 2014
Susan, et al,
I'm researching a train robber and murderer named William 'Kid' Thompson (1894), and came across an article in the Roanoke Times. (Roanoke, Va.) May 11, 1897 "A DESPERADO'S STORY. Kid Thompson Tries His Hand at Autobiography." I am looking to see if this book (Kid's full name, William H. Thompson, AKA David Boone, Frank Colby, possibly William Fox, or William Taylor) was ever published, and if so, is there a surviving copy. It looks from the article like it would be a dime novel style tome. Several papers ran excerpts from the first four chapters on or around the time the Roanoke Times ran it, which makes me think it was a promotion of the book. The article mentions that the San Francisco Examiner was in possession of the first draft. I contacted the San Francisco Examiner, and they have no record of this item. This article about the novel never appeared in the Examiner, either.
All Help Greatly Appreciated,
Oct 19th, 2018
I'm looking for different feuds in the 1800s-1920s that happen in what was the Commonwealth of Virginia but later became Kentucky. Specifically any thing to do with John W. Wright, aka Devil John Wright, US Marshall, Pinkerton agent. The Wright's had an ongoing feud with another family but at moment slips my mind. John was nephew to Col. Martin Van Buren Bates, the KY giant. Any help would be great. I'm trying to figure out how exactly feuds or murders came to be known to large cities on the east coast. I figured it'd be by dime novels but could also be in the many articles of newspapers at the time.
Thank you for your time,
Nov 29th, 2018
Are copies available of:
Hildebrand the Outlaw; Terror of Missouri #49