Dime Novel Collection

Browse collection

From the mid 19th to the early 20th century, the fiction genres known as dime novels, penny dreadfuls, and story papers flourished in England and America. The increasing mechanization of the printing process, more efficient distribution methods, and a rising literacy rate all contributed to this publishing phenomenon. Printed on the cheapest of paper, with lurid cover illustrations, dime novels (which found a name in their ten cent price tag) and story papers were considered ephemeral, to be read, often in secret, passed on to friends, or discarded. These delightful items, ancestors of the ubiquitous mass-market paperbacks of today, reveal the reading tastes of a population often neglected in historical studies.'

The Special Collections Department at the University of South Florida is fortunate to have a significant Dime Novel Collection comprising some 310 boxes and well over 8,000 items. The digital collection consists of various series, such as the Frank Reade Library, and will be added to as new items are digitized.