Home Information Contents Search Links

Coepisti melius quam desinis.
Ovidius Naso, Heroides, 9, 23

Chapter IV

1851 - 1856

Wherein Erastus enters the publishing field with The Youth's Casket. Irwin disposes of
his share of the foundry to Erastus in 1854. Erastus disposes of it in 1855 and
moves his publishing office to 199 Main Street. The Home is begun
and the office is moved to 227 Main Street above Erastus' partner.
James Beadle is murdered. Erastus quits
publishing and seeks his fortune afar.


THE POSSESSION of only a stereotype foundry did not satisfy Erastus, although it was apparently a prosperous concern, so he ventured into the publishing field late in 1851. Irwin at that time was living in a house at the corner of Huron and Delaware streets,(1) and did not at first take part in this venture, although the two brothers continued together in the foundry.

It was some time late in December, 1851, that there appeared on the market the first number of a magazine entitled: The Youth's Casket,(2) a magazine for young children. The name was not very original, for Benson J. Lossing, from 1836 to 1839, published the Poughkeepsie Casket, and Beadle must have been familiar with it. Atkinson's Casket was another periodical of similar name. Working in the Commercial Advertiser building at this time was an artist and engraver, Benjamin C. Vanduzee. With him, Erastus entered into some sort of partnership for the publication; Vanduzee's part, apparently, was to furnish the engravings, and Erastus' part the stereotyping. The first number had, on the cover, the names of Beadle & Vanduzee as publishers, but in 1853 the partnership was dissolved.


Late in 1851 or early in 1852, the address of the stereotype foundry was changed from 6 West Seneca to 5 West Seneca Street,(3) but this was simply a renumbering of the buildings and not a change of location.

The first volume of the Youth's Casket was printed by Phinney & Co., and it was many years later, long after the firm moved to New York, before Beadle printed his own books. The editor of the new magazine was given as "Harley Thorne." This appears to have been a pen name of James O. Brayman (Fig. 5), who permitted his own name to appear on the title page of the second volume. He was at that time assistant editor of the Commercial Advertiser, and it may be that for business reasons he did not wish his connection with an unestablished magazine for children to be known. That the name "Thorne" is a pseudonym seems confirmed by the fact that it never occurs in the Buffalo directories.

James O. Brayman

James O. Brayman
(1815 - 1887)

The first book stereotyped by the new firm was probably P. L. Simmonds' "Sir John Franklin and the Arctic Region," published by George H. Derby & Co. of Buffalo in 1852, and bearing the words, "Stereotyped by Beadle & Brother" on the verso of the title page. This was advertised as ready in January, 1852; consequently it must have been stereotyped and printed at least as early as December, 1851. Later, in 1852, appeared F. H. Johnson's "Guide for Every Visitor to Niagara Falls," published by D. N. Dewey(4) of Buffalo, and James O. Brayman's "Daring Deeds of American Heroes, with Biographical Sketches," published by George H. Derby & Co., also of Buffalo. Both books have, on the verso of the title page, the imprint, "Stereotyped by Beadle & Brother."


Beadle & Vanduzee were still given as publishers of the Youth's Casket on the cover of the first number of the second volume,(5) dated January, 1853, but printed and sold late in December, 1852. The apparent discrepancy that the title pages of bound volumes give the publishers as Beadle & Brother, is easily explained in view of what happened later with the Dime Novels, Speakers, etc. There is a note in the Youth's Casket, in answer to a correspondent, saying that "the pages are stereotyped and back numbers can be supplied at any time." As with the Dime Novels, etc., when reprints were made, the publishers' imprint was always that which happened to be correct at that time, and was not necessarily the correct imprint of the original publication.

The March, 1853, Youth's Casket still bears the imprint of Beadle & Vanduzee, but before April Vanduzee dropped out as Beadle's associate. He was definitely out when the Western Literary Messenger for April appeared, and Beadle & Brother had taken over, for inside the back cover of this magazine appeared the following note.

NOTICE. The subscribers having purchased of B. C. Vanduzee all of his interest in the publication of Youth's Casket, would hereby give notice that all business connection with it will in future be done in our name and all business communications must be addressed to us, postpaid. Beadle & Brother, Buffalo, N. Y.

The Buffalo Directory for 1853(6) shows Vanduzee now associated with Barton as engravers on wood.

Stereotyped by Beadle & Brother during 1853 were Henry W. DePuy's "Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Heroes of '76," published by Phinney & Co., of Buffalo, and "Phinney's Calendar for 1853."


Several changes occurred in 1854.(7) The Youth's Casket, between the dates of issue of the directories for 1853 and 1854, had passed into the hands of Erastus F. Beadle as sole owner. Irwin had dropped out. The change came either late in December, 1853, or in January, 1854, for The Western Literary Messenger for January, 1854, in a note, speaks of E. F. Beadle as the publisher. In the Youth's Casket for March, 1854, in a sketch entitled "Father Wiley's Chats," E. F. Beadle is called the publisher.

Irwin also was no longer his brother's partner in the stereotype plant, which had been moved to 11 West Seneca, corner Pearl street. His name disappeared from the Buffalo Directory and he is not heard of again until he opened a book store in 1856. Young Robert Adams, now 18 years of age, the son of Martha, was probably through school, and, while still living at home, was beginning to earn a living for himself. It is possible that he had before this been working as an apprentice in Beadle's stereotyping establishment, but naturally was not listed in the directory. In 1854, however, he was old enough to be rated a stereotyper, and was thus listed. Charles E. Felton, who will be heard of later, was foreman with Jewett, Thomas & Co. What happened to Irwin between 1854 and May, 1856, when he reappeared in Buffalo as a bookseller, is unknown. He seems to have disappeared completely from Buffalo, and may have spent part of the time in Europe.


The next year (1855)(8) brought still further changes. Erastus, now sole owner of the stereotyping plant, placed his imprint in Salem Towne's "Fifth or Elocutionary Reader," published by Phinney & Co., of Buffalo, in that year. Before May, 1855, however, when the final data for the city directory † were gathered, he had sold the entire stereotyping establishment to Charles E. Felton (the former foreman of Jewett, Thomas & Co.) and Felton's brother, and had moved his publishing office to 199 Main Street. Robert Adams, for the time being, remained at the stereotyping plant and worked for the Feltons. Some time during the year, Mrs. H. E. G. Arey became editor of the Youth's Casket in the place of James O. Brayman, who went west.(9)

On the title page of Volume IV, which probably accompanied the December, 1855, number, E. F. Beadle alone is given as the publisher. The plates were stereotyped by J. and C. E. Felton, and the printing was done by Thomas & Lathrops. As mentioned above, notwithstanding magazine stories to the contrary, Beadle at this time did not have his own printing establishment. With no other business than the publication of the Youth's Casket, he already had in mind a new venture. Inclosed(10) with the December number of this periodical was the prospectus of a new monthly, to be edited by Mrs. H. E. G. Arey, and to be published by E. F. Beadle. It was to be called The Home. A Fireside Companion and Guide for the Wife, the Mother, the Sister and the Daughter. The first number, for January, 1856, appeared on the market December 18, 1855.(11) It was an octavo, 9 1/8 by 5 3/4 inches in size, with whitey wrappers, contained about 54 pages per monthly number, and was announced to appear on the first of each month. After the early numbers, it was illustrated by full page steel engravings, tinted lithographs, and woodcuts, both full-page and smaller. The steel engravings were apparently obtained from other magazines, for many of them are marked "Engraved especially for the Ladies' Depository," "Godey's," "Peterson's," etc. There were two volumes annually.

The year 1855 was marked by another event which, while having no direct connection with Beadle, is of interest as popularizing the woman who was to be the author of the first Dime Novel—Mrs. Ann S. Stephens. Her "Old Homestead" appeared late in November of that year in The Ladies' Companion. "The Old Homestead" is doubly interesting to dime novel collectors for it owed its popularity, in great measure, to its dramatization by another dime novel writer, George L. Aiken.


Erastus Beadle's name, as publisher, appeared on the wrappers of all of the six numbers of Volume I of The Home for 1856, and the Buffalo Directory for 1856,(12) which came out late in May or early in June, gives E. F. Beadle as the publisher. The inside of the front cover of the May number contains this announcement:

The office of The Home and Youth's Casket has been removed to the new Book, Stationery, Newspaper and Periodical store of I. P. Beadle, No. 227 Main Street, third door above Swan.

That the bookstore(13) was advertised as "new" seems to indicate that it was opened only shortly before or at the time of the removal of Erastus' office to the same address, and this advertisement was the first indication since 1854 that Irwin was back in Buffalo. The publishing office was above the book store.

The June number of The Home carried with it a reprint of the January number, all of the first edition having been exhausted. The title page of the volume bears the imprint of E. F. Beadle as publisher. Beginning with the July, 1856, number, that is, with Volume II, No. I, the publishers are given as Beadle & Adams, and the same imprint occurs on the Youth's Casket for the same month. There is, however, no announcement in either magazine that there has been a change in management, and the Buffalo newspapers make no mention of the formation of the new firm. Such things as that, apparently, were not news. The Adams of the new firm was Robert Adams (Fig. 6), the handsome, curly-haired young Irishman who formerly was one of Beadle's stereotypers, and who was to remain a partner in the Beadle firm until his death in 1866.

Robert Adams

Robert Adams
(1837 - 1866)

Apparently 'Rastus was not satisfied with the financial returns of his two periodicals, for on August 19, 1856, he went to Omaha, Nebraska, to see about opening a real estate office.(14) This and the following year were the years of the great Kansas and Nebraska land boom, which made men millionaires in a few days—until the bubble burst a few years later. Richardson's(15) description of the situation in Kansas in 1857, applies also to that in Nebraska. He said:

Every Kansan thought himself a Themistocles. Nearly all transactions were cash, and money was plentiful, though commanding from three to five per cent a month. Shares often doubled in price in two or three weeks. Servant girls speculated in town lots. From enormous buff envelopes men would take scores of certificates elegantly printed in colors, representing property in various towns, and propose to sell thousands of dollars worth, certain to quadruple in value within a few months! If you declined to purchase, they might ask to borrow six shillings to pay their washerwoman, or twelve dollars for a week's board. Three days later, meeting you again, they would cancel the debt from pockets burdened with twenty-dollar gold pieces, and offer you five hundred or a thousand dollars for a few days, if it would be the slightest accommodation.

This pantomime of actual life began with beggars clothed in rags. But the genie of real estate speculation touched them with his wand, and lo! the tatters were gone, and they stood clothed in purple, adorned with jewels, and weighed down with gold. Young men who never before owned fifty dollars at once, a few weeks after reaching Kansas possessed full pockets, with town shares by the score; and talked of thousands as if they had been rocked in golden cradles and fed with the famous Miss Kilmansegg's golden spoon. . . .

It was not a swindle, but a mania. The speculators were quite as insane as the rest. . . . Any one of them could have turned his property into cash at enormous profits. But all thought the inflation would continue....

Much eastern capital was sunk in these paper cities. When the collapse came it was like the crushing of an egg-shell. Again the genie waved his wand, and presto! the spangles and gold disappeared, and the princes of an hour were beggars again. The shares had no more market value than town lots in the moon. Cities died, inhabitants deserted, houses were torn down.

Erastus made the mistake of starting too late. Had he remained in Omaha in 1856, he might have made his fortune; as it was, he returned to Buffalo and did not get back to Nebraska until the spring of 1857—the year of the great Money Panic.

It is known that part and perhaps all of his interest in his two magazines was later in the hands of Robert Adams, and the transfer was probably made in 1856, when he decided to go west. He himself wrote,(16) the next year, that he possessed no financial interest in the firm.

Besides occurring in the advertisement of Beadle's removal to Irwin's new book store, Irwin's name appears in an 1856 news item,(17) as a resident of Buffalo. Perhaps he had some interest in the magazine, but this is purely speculative. I myself think that he was not connected with it, and that it was now solely owned by Robert Adams.

In May, 1856, Erastus Beadle participated in the publication of a book, although how much his share was is not clear. It bears on the title page these words: "The/ States and Territories/ of/ the Great West;/ . . . with a Map and Numerous Illustrations./ by Jacob Ferris/ New York and Auburn/ Miller, Orton and Mulligan/ Buffalo: E. F. Beadle/ 1856." While the imprint of Beadle's name on the title page is in much smaller type than that of the other publisher, on the verso is the statement "Entered according to Act of Congress . . . by E. F. Beadle." C. E. Felton, Beadle's successor in the foundry, was the stereotyper. The book is cloth bound, 12mo., with 352 pages plus two of advertisements of Miller, Orton and Mulligan publications. It was announced in The Home for April, 1856, as a forthcoming publication of Erastus F. Beadle, and it may be that on going into the real estate business, he had turned it over to Miller, Orton and Mulligan, a firm that came into the picture again later in the same year.

It is not known how long Beadle remained in Nebraska during 1856, but on October 3, 1856, the Commercial Advertiser spoke of him as "formerly of this city." It is probable, therefore, that he intended to cut loose entirely from Buffalo and the publishing business. He did return to the city and later to publishing, as we shall see.

The occasion which caused the various Buffalo papers to break their seeming rule of never giving news of inhabitants of the city, was one which heretofore never has been mentioned in biographies of the Beadles or in stories about the dime novels. It was discovered only by a search through the Buffalo papers for news items relating to the Beadles' early activities. Irwin mysteriously disappeared from the directories from 1854 to 1856, and James dropped out permanently in 1853. Where Irwin went was not discovered, but on September 29, 1856, in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, there appeared this startling news item:


We regret to learn, by a telegraphic despatch from Auburn, that Mr. James H. Beadle, stereotyper, of Auburn, but formerly of this office, was murdered in Auburn yesterday. He was a brother of I. P. Beadle of this city. We are without other particulars than those stated.

On October 3rd, in the same newspaper, it was stated:

The Auburn murder. We have barely noticed by telegraphic report, that Mr. James H. Beadle, brother of Mr. B. [sic] F. Beadle, formerly of this city, was murdered at Auburn on Sunday night last. The Auburn Daily Advertiser, in speaking of this affair, says that the deceased was 28 years of age. His body was found on Monday morning on the south side of the road, in the field lying in a hole near the west bank, where the gravel had been dug out. It had evidently been thrown off of the west edge of the bank; as there was blood on the edge, about thirty rods from the road.

The lady at whose house the deceased boarded, says he was at home until 8 o'clock, on Sunday evening, and then went out, saying he was going to get a cigar, and would not be gone long. He had $25 in his wallet when he left the house. The wallet was subsequently found on the top of the gravel bank, empty.

The Buffalo Morning Express for October 9, 1856, speaks of two men arrested on suspicion, and says that "a hammer has been found near where the wallet of the deceased was picked up." There was also a short note in the New York Daily Tribune for September 30, but it adds nothing further than that James Beadle was stereotyper for Miller, Orton and Mulligan, of Auburn. No file of the Auburn papers for this period could be found. There are several more items in later papers,(18) in regard to persons held for the crime, but the murder appears never to have been solved.

Erastus Beadle returned to Buffalo, probably late in 1856, possibly to settle up his business affairs preparatory to going permanently to Omaha. While his name, as publisher, still appeared in the name of the firm, Beadle and Adams, he apparently had given up all connection with it. The firm name is given on the title pages of the Youth's Casket for 1857 and The Home, volumes III and IV, for the same year. In fact, Beadle and Adams are given as publishers of The Home until its conclusion with Volume IX, in June, 1860. In those days partnerships were loose affairs, and the name itself meant little. The business seems to have switched between Erastus Beadle and Robert Adams at will, and later, for a time, between these two and Irwin Beadle.


1 Commercial Advertiser Directory, Buffalo, 1851—52 (Issued about July 1, 1851).
  Erastus F. Beadle. Firm of Beadle & Brother. 6 West Seneca. h. Chippewa, first h. west of Delaware.
  Irwin P. Beadle. Firm of Beadle & Bro. h. cor. Huron and Delaware.
  Mrs. Martha Adams, widow of Robert. Fancy store. 407 East Seneca.
  Benjamin C. Vanduzee, Designer and engraver, 161 Main.
  Beadle & Brother, stereotypers. 6 West Seneca.
2 A review of Vol. I, No. 1, appeared in the Buffalo Morning Express for December 31, 1851. Beadle & Vanduzee are mentioned as the publishers.
3 The Commercial Advertiser Directory for the City of Buffalo, 1852. (Beginning with this year, and thereafter, the directory date covers simply one year. The data were gathered in the early part of the year and the directory was issued on or before the first of June.)
  Beadle & Brothers, Stereotypers. 5 West Seneca.
  Erastus F. Beadle. Firm of Beadle and B. [sic], h. cor. Court & Morgan.
  Irwin P. Beadle. Firm of Beadle and Bro. [sic], h. cor. Court & Morgan.
  James H. Beadle. Stereotyper. b. with E. F. Beadle.
  Mrs. Martha Adams. Widow of Robert. Fancy store. 407 East Seneca.
  James 0. Brayman. Asst. Ed. Commercial Advertiser, h. 127 Pearl.
  (Note: In this directory, the firm name is given erroneously as Beadle & Brothers. Although James Beadle was working for the firm, he was not one of the partners. The error appears to have crept in from the firm's advertisements which read "Beadle & Brother's Stereotype Foundry." Advertisements show that only Irwin was Erastus' partner.)
4 The same book, under the title "Every Man His Own Guide to Niagara Falls," with the imprint of Phinney & Co., Buffalo, also has the Beadle & Brother stereotype notice.
5 The copy in the Library of Congress, in wrappers, was filed for copyright December 8, 1852, and has the Beadle & Vanduzee imprint, and the Western Literary Messenger, XIX, No. 5, January, 1853, p. 239, acknowledges the receipt of the January number and mentions the publishers as Beadle & Vanduzee.
6 The Commercial Advertiser Directory, Buffalo, 1853.
  Erastus F. Beadle. Beadle & Brother, publishers, h. Delaware n. Virginia.
  Irwin P. Beadle. Firm of Beadle & Bro. h. Union, cor. Clinton.
  Beadle & Brother. Stereotypers. 5 West Seneca.
  Vanduzee & Barton [on page 81, a 2 1/2 inch advertisement]. Engravers on wood. 161 Main street.
  Mrs. Martha Adams. Widow of Robert. Fancy store. 407 East Seneca.
  In the Business Directory, in the back of the book, is given: Youth's Casket, pub. by Beadle & Brother.
7 Commercial Advertiser Directory, Buffalo, 1854.
  Erastus Beadle, stereotyper. 11 West Seneca, [home not given.]
  Robert Adams, stereotyper, 11 West Seneca, b. 407 East Seneca.
  Mrs. Martha Adams. Widow of Robert. Fancy store. 407 West Seneca.
  Youth's Casket, published by E. F. Beadle. 11 West Seneca.
  Charles E. Felton. Foreman, Jewett, Thomas & Co.
  (Irwin P. Beadle is not given.)
8 Commercial Advertiser Directory, Buffalo, 1855.
  Erastus F. Beadle, Pub. Youth's Casket. 199 Main St. h. Cold Spring.
  Robert Adams, Stereotyper. b. 407 East Seneca.
  Mrs. Martha Adams. Fancy goods. 407 East Seneca.
  J. & C. E. Felton. Stereotypers. 11 West Seneca.
  (Irwin P. Beadle is not listed.)
9 See his biography in Part IV of this book.
10 Buffalo Daily Courier, November 24, 1855, page 2.
11 Ibid., December 18, 1855, under "Local News." Beadle again was not especially original in his choice of a name for the new monthly, for during the 1850's, Morris and Willis' Home Journal was flourishing, and T. S. Arthur, the author of "Ten Nights in a Barroom," issued Arthur's Home Gazette, which in 1854 became Arthur's Home Magazine.
12 Commercial Advertiser Directory, Buffalo, 1856.
  Erastus F. Beadle. Pub. Youth's Casket and The Home. 227 Main. h. Cold Spring. [The Home is listed among newspapers.]
  Mrs. Martha Adams. Widow of Robert. Fancy store. 407 East Seneca.
  C. E. Felton. Stereotyper and printer. 11 West Seneca.
  (Neither. Robert Adams nor Irwin Beadle is listed although Robert was undoubtedly in the city, and Irwin probably returned about this time.)
13 This bookstore was more probably a "News and Periodical Depot," as it was generally called in those days, and was a place where subscriptions were received and magazines and cheap books sold. At least it sold "The Venus Miscellany." (New York Tribune, September 19, 1857.)
14 Erastus F. Beadle: "To Nebraska in '57." Bulletin New York Public Library, February and March, 1923. See the date August 19, 1857.
15 Albert D. Richardson, Beyond the Mississippi, Hartford, Conn., 1867, 58-60.
16 Erastus F. Beadle: Op. cit., date May 1, 1857.
17 Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, September 29, 1856.
18 Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, February 4, March 3, and March 9, 1857. Buffalo Daily Courier, March 2 and March 9, 1857.

† Correction made as per Volume 3.

Go to Chapter 5