Broadbrim

Broadbrim Cover Gallery

“He remains a character today … a man whom bribery cannot corrupt, and who can meet the keenest rouges upon their own stamping ground.”
- From Old Broadbrim, The Quaker Detective, page 46

“Old Broadbrim, the Quaker Detective” was first introduced in Munro's Old Cap. Collier Library no. 92 in 1884. Street & Smith reintroduced the character for a weekly series beginning in 1902. In the Fall of 1903 the publishers Street & Smith made several moves to increase Old Broadbrim’s popularity, first writing in cameo appearances of the more famous detective hero Nick Carter in issues 48 and 49, and then introducing a plucky teenager with Western roots, Harry Wilson, as Young Broadbrim in issue 52. The title of the serial was subsequently changed to Young Broadbrim Weekly.

Like other Quaker stock characters in dime novels written by non-Quakers, Old Broadbrim’s representation is fairly superficial.1 He makes liberal use of Quaker idioms such as “thee”, “thy”, “friend,” and “by Philadelphia!” but frequently breaks with the pacifist tenets of Quakerism when necessary for his detective work.

1. Kimber, Thomas. “The Quaker in the Dime Novel.” Bulliten of Friends Historical Association 43 (1954): 108-111. Print.

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