The Dime Novel holdings consist of publications from four distinct collections: Johannsen, LeBlanc, Merriwell, and Horatio Alger. The two most extensive are the Albert Johannsen Collection and the Edward T. LeBlanc Collection. Our current collection is approximately 30,000 items and we are actively seeking additions. A growing number of digitized dime novels from the Johannsen and LeBlanc Collections are available at Nickels and Dimes. Researchers wanting to consult physical copies of digitized dime novels must receive special permission from the Rare Books Librarian. Requests to view these items must be received at least three business days before your visit. Some dime novels remain uncatalogued, so please contact us if you have trouble finding what you need.
Albert Johannsen Collection
The Albert Johannsen Collection was acquired in 1967. It contains his working papers, including research notes, memoirs, dry plates, and memorabilia, as well as his collection of Beadle & Adams dime novels and other popular literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that were used for his landmark multivolume bibliography, The House of Beadle and Adams. This bibliography has been digitized by the NIU Libraries through The Beadle & Adams Dime Novel Digitization Project. Reproduction rights to the bibliography are owned by the University of Oklahoma Press. We hold near-complete runs of Beadle's Dime Novels, Beadle's Half-Dime Library, Beadle's New York Dime Library, the Saturday Journal, Beadle's Weekly, and Banner Weekly.
Edward T. LeBlanc Collection
The Edward T. LeBlanc Collection was acquired in 1998 and contains more than 700 different dime novel series and novelettes from 1850 to 1925. The collection is partially cataloged. The most current list of holdings awaiting processing can be found in our inventory. Tip Top Weekly, Fame and Fortune Weekly, Pluck and Luck, Secret Service, Wide Awake Library, and Oliver Optic's Magazine are well represented in this collection, many with fairly complete runs. Also included in the collection is his working bibliography, available online from Villanova University, documenting nearly every dime novel series and story ever published. LeBlanc was the editor of the Dime Novel Round-Up, magazine devoted to the curation and study of dime novels, from 1952 to 1994.
Complete runs of the books and serials featuring Frank and Dick Merriwell, such as Tip Top Weekly and Merriwell Series, are available in our holdings.
Horatio Alger Collection
Horatio Alger Society Repository NIU has the largest collection of materials related to Horatio Alger, Jr. in the country, and is the official repository of the Horatio Alger Society.