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THE SECOND GENERATION: BOY HEROES IN AMERICAN DIME NOVELS, 1860-1910 is a digital exhibit drawn from Haverford Libraries’ Dime Novel Collection. It tracks the development of “second-generation” heroes, like Deadwood Dick Jr. and Young Broadbrim, showing how each fits within the outlaw or detective subgenre, and analyzing their importance in the social history of the time.

Haverford’s Dime Novel Collection includes the complete Beadle’s Frontier Series issued by Arthur Westbrook in 1908, comprising 100 novels originally published from the 1860s to the 1880s; over 70 issues of Old Broadbrim and Young Broadbrim Weekly, detective stories published in magazine format by Street & Smith; and other assorted dime novels with Quaker themes. The materials are available in the Quaker and Special Collections.

Though the collection is only a small cross-section of the thousands of American dime novels published during this period, it represents a heterogenous mix of sub-genres and settings: from tales of the French and Indian War to diamond hunting in Arizona to adventures with pirates in the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii]. These texts reveal a wealth of information about contemporary attitudes on race, ethnicity, and gender. This is only one path of inquiry through a rich literary landscape.

BROWSE DIGITAL COLLECTION: All materials are also available at Haverford Libraries.