Beadle's Half-Dime Singer's Library
THE Half-Dime Singer's Library appeared, with occasionally a break, in
weekly numbers between the 18th of May, 1878, and the 29th of March, 1879, ending
with No. 43. The booklets are thin quartos, of 16 pages each, and measure 11
¾ by 8 ¼ inches. There are no outside wrappers, but early editions,
though not necessarily firsts, have a colored illustration on the first page
(Fig. 125). In later editions this page was left uncolored.
Each booklet contained approximately 60 songs, words only without music. The
title of the series forms the upper third of the front page. With one or two
exceptions where the illustration is centered in the lower portion of the page,
it occupies the left half of the remaining space while the right half is taken
up with the table of contents and the words of the song whose title forms the
title of that number. Beadle and Adams, 98 William Street, is printed below
the cut. As were all the "illuminated" titles of the Beadle booklets, the coloring
was apparently done by color stencil.
The sixty songs in each number consist not only of the popular songs of the
day, but also include original contributions. Beneath the titles of many of
the songs is given the name of the original publisher from whom the music could
be obtained. In No. 6 there is an announcement that 26 numbers will constitute
a volume and will be given an index and bound up to make "an excellent Encyclopedia
of Song." The only bound volume that I have seen contained the whole 43 numbers
and was without an Index. A blurb in some of the numbers states that "No songs
are duplicated or repeated, as is the case in the 'Ten Cent Song Books,' which
give, on an average, but sixteen fresh songs in an issue the rest of
the book being made up of stereotypes or repeaters from the other issues." Beadle
here referred to other publishers, for his own series of Dime Song Books
had ended in June, 1876.
Fig. 125. Beadle's Half-Dime Singer's Library
Forty-three numbers were issued in 1878 and 1879, without wrappers, size 11¾ x 8¼ inches.
The Cuts were in the reprints were uncolored.