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,
Gregory Wayne Shumway
Jan 27th, 2017
I am searching for information relative to the written works of James Lorenzo Bowen. James Lorenzo Bowen is my great-great grandfather. I am interested in contact with someone who could enlighten me as to how to acquire some of his works. I have noted that James Lorenzo Bowen was fairly prolific in his dime novels for Beadle and Co. Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.
Jan 30th, 2017
You can find a bibliography of some of Bowen's works, including links to full scans of many, here:
This is a work in progress, and more titles will be added in the coming months.