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Chapter IX

1864 to 1866

The firm of Irwin P. Beadle & Co. becomes George Munro, 1864. The American News
Company formed, 1864. Competition continues. Dime Library of Choice
and Dime Fiction, 1865. Many Handbooks and Songbooks.
Beadle's Monthly begun, 1865. Irwin again tries his hand, 1865.
Death of Robert Adams, 1866. William and David Adams
enter the firm, 1866. End of the English
experiment, 1866.


EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FOUR, the year of tile Sanitary Fair and tile Great Sack of Flour Auction, of "John Brown's Body" and the March to the Sea, of the sinking of the English built Alabama by the Kearsarge and the surrender of Captain Semmes, of hair curlers and whisker growers, hair dyes and cosmetics, dickeys and paper collars.

During this year there was no change in the status of Beadle & Co., except that Robert Adams' brother, William, was engaged as Superintendent. Being now twenty-six years of age, and having come to Brooklyn in 1860, it is probable that he had been connected with the firm in some capacity before this time. Irwin P. Beadle & Co., however, while still listed in the directories,(1) passed out of existence as a firm in February. The name still appeared on Nos. 4 and 5 of I. P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels, but No. 6, issued February 27, 1864, was called Munro's Ten Cent Novels, and the publishers were given as Irwin P. Beadle and George Munro. An advertisement in Harper's Weekly, of the same date, spoke of the series as "Formerly published hy Irwin P. Beadle & Co.' Beginning with No. 7, George Munro alone is given as the publisher. The partnership thus lasted but a short time. (See also under Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels in Part llI of this book.)

February, 1864, also saw the formation of the American News Company,(2) 121 Nassau Street, as a successor to Sinclair Tousey and Dexter, Hamilton & Co. Sinclair Tousey was president, Henry Dexter vice-president, John E. Tousey secretary, S. W. Johnson treasurer, and John Hamilton and P. Farrelly superintendents. "The American News Co. takes the whole edition of nearly all the leading periodicals, etc.," they advertised, and they did take entire charge of the sales of the Dime Novels as they were issued. Said the Saturday Star Journal:(3)

Too busy in the preparation and rapid publication of the little volumes, to give the sales department proper attention, the publishers arranged with a well-known news firm for the general agency of BEADLE'S DIME PUBLICATIONS, and this firm having also obtained the delivery agency of the New York Ledger, was thence\-forth such a power in the trade that the American News Company sprung into existence, armed with two weap\-ons, which made it invincible to opposition. From the assumption of the two agencies named does this now great company date the first prosperity. Without them it is fair to assume that the combination of news firms which ensued, never would have been possible.

Competition was now becoming keen. Elliott, Thomes & Talbot were continuing their Ten Cent Novelettes, and Munro his Ten Cent Novels. Then, on January 23, I864, a new rival appeared: James Redpath, of Boston, issued No. 1 of Red-path's Books for the Camp Fires, containing Louisa M. Alcott's "On Picket Duty and Other Tales." On February 13,(4) T. R. Dawley & Co. issued No. 1 of their Camp and Fireside Library, and in September Dawley's Ten Penny Novels appeared.

Beadle & Co., however, were not idle. Besides Dime Novels No. 64 to 76, American Library Nos. 35 to 46, and American Tales (under the imprint of Sinclair Tousey and The American News Co.) Nos. 3 to 14, they issued Nos. 5 to 12 of Dime Tales, Traditions and Romance (ending the series with No. 12, August 10, 1864), two New National Tax Laws Revised, Dime Song Books Nos. 12 to 15, and the Base Ball Player for 1864. They also began two new series; Dime Library of Choice Fiction on January 12 which ran only six numbers and ended June 21, and Dime Fiction on November 15, of which two numbers were published during the year.

The Dime Library of Choice Fiction was announced in a blurb in Tales, Traditions and Romance, No. 5, in these words:

The dime book publishers have heretofore confined themselves exclusively to American literature. In this new series, they propose, in addition to the finest productions of their present popular contributors, to avail themselves of such Foreign romances as are adapted to their use. They will also revive some of the matchless stories of our early authors.

No. 1 was a reprint of John Neal's "The White Faced Pacer," originally entitled "The Switch Tail Pacer," and No. 2, "The Blacksmith of Antwerp," by "Fritz," who was spoken of as "an American author." No. 3 was "The Maiden Martyr," no author given, but actually a reprint of Mrs. Gaskell's "Lois, the Witch." The booklets were of the size of the Dime Novels, but had buff covers with a woodcut on the front. Apparently the series was not satisfactory, for after the sixth number it was dropped and was replaced, November 15, 1864, by a new series, entitled Beadle's Dime Fiction, another short-lived attempt which struggled through nine numbers and died July 11, 1865. A third ill-fated effort, which may have "died a bornin'," was Beadle's Dime Monthly. A light salmon-colored cover with this title, and the imprint of Beadle & Co., 118 William Street, was filed for copyright in January, 1864. The price was to be ten cents per copy or one dollar per year. Whether this magazine was ever issued is unknown.

Finally, at Christmas time, there appeared a ten-cent "Robinson Crusoe," with twenty-eight original illustrations by George G. White. It was apparently intended as the first number of a series of reprints, for it is marked Dime Classic Stories, No. 1. The publication was announced(5) for Tuesday, December 20, 1864.

Ever mindful of the claim which the holidays make for
a literary Treat BEADLE AND COMPANY have in
preparation and will issue
Tuesday, December 20th, 1864,
A Beautifully Illustrated Dime Edition of the
World-Renowned and fascinating Romance,
The Life and Surprising Adventures

Printed in large octavo, double columns, with numerous illustrations from original designs by GEORGE WHITE; comprising the text of one of the best and latest London editions, and printed in a style of great neatness and beauty thus constituting one of the


and one of the cheapest editions of this celebrated book ever offered to the public.

For sale by all News dealers.
Sent, post-paid, on receipt of Ten Cents.
Beadle & Company, Publishers,
118 William Street.

In spite of these three series of brief existence, the firm was prosperous. A contemporary accountof the sales is given in the conservative North American Review.(6)

These works, . . . issued by Messrs. Beadle & Co. . . . circulate to the extent of many hundred thousands. This need hardly be stated to any one who is in the way of casting his eye on the counter of any railway book-stall or newsdealer's shop. But the statistical statement, from authority, may excite some interest--that, up to April 1st, an aggregate of five millions of Beadle's Dime Books had been put in circulation, of which half at least were novels, nearly a third songs, and the remainder hand-books, biographies, &c. ... The sales of single novels by popular authors often amount to nearly forty thousand in two or three months.

Over 350,000 copies of the Dime Song-Book No. 1 have been sold. The Dime National Tax Law has reached a circulation of more than 200,000 copies. The first edition of the Dime Novel "Seth Jones" was of 60,000 copies. Sales almost unprecedented in the annals of booksellers. A Dime Novel is issued every month and the series has undoubtedly obtained greater popularity than any other series of works of fiction published in America.

Ingraham(7) said that up to July 1, 1865, the American sales on the first twenty Dime Novels was 4,352,000 copies, and in England the American Library, up to January 1, 1864, for twelve issues, sold 1,223,000 copies.

Erastus Beadle was again in London during 1864 (Fig. 11), probably looking after the business of the firm.(8)

fig11.  Erastus Beadle sporting burnsides in London, 1864.

Fig. 11. Erastus Beadle sporting burnsides in London, 1864.


End of the Civil War. The Assassination of President Lincoln. Patent eye-cups--spectacles rendered useless. Chuck-a-luck. Velvet collars.

The year 1865 found Beadle & Co.-now consisting only of Erastus F. Beadle and Robert Adams--in the height, of their prosperity. They were regularly publishing the Dime Novels, the American Library, and American Tales. Dime Fiction ended this year with No. 6. During the year there appeared Dime Novels Nos. 77 to 88, American Library Nos. 47 to 58, American Tales Nos. 15 to 30, Dime Fiction Nos. 3 to 9 (last), Dime Song Book No. 16, Dime Pocket Songsters Nos. 1 to 3, Dialogues No. 3, Speaker (Dime Elocutionist) No. 5, "The New House that Jack Built," Base Ball Player for 1865, "National Tax Law" (they had 'em in those days), "Report of Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant," and "The Housewife's Manual." Also published were two numbers of the American Series Song Books ("Guiding Star" and "Banner'' Songsters) with the imprint American News Co., Publishers' Agents, but copyrighted and produced by Beadle & Co. The English branch issued, besides American Library Nos. 47 to 58, a "Six-penny Cookery Book," "Ready Remedies for Common Complaints," and a "Recipe Book."

One thing must be said for Erastus; when he got an idea in his head he had to carry it out. The Home had been his pet paper, and it must have gone against the grain when he had to abandon it. Ill health and increasing business in dime booklets had been given as the excuse for its discontinuance, but it is quite probable that lack of adequate returns was just as decisive a factor. However, the increasing business in dime novels in the middle 1860's led Beadle to another attempt at publishing a high-cIass monthly magazine. On the twenty-first of November(9) came the announcement that a new magazine (Beadle's Monthly, A Magazine of Today) was to appear on the twenty-fifth, but on that day a second notice appeared saying that in order "to fill orders already received," the first (January, 1866) number would be postponed until December 1.

The magazine was octavo in size (9 1/4 by 6 inches), contained 96 to 98 pages with numerous woodcut illustrations, and was enclosed in salmon or dull brick colored wrappers. It was really one of the high class magazines of the day,(10) and compared very favorably with the contemporaneous Harper's. During the period of its existence, it carried stories and articles by such writers as Harriet E. Prescott, Alfred B. Street, Catharine A. Warfield, Nathan D. Urner, Orville J. Victor, C. Dunning Clark, Mrs. Metta V. Victor, Kate Field, James Franklin Fitts, Frank R. Stockton, Margaret E. Wilmer, Elizabeth Oakes-Smith, and many other well-known writers of the period. It also published poems by Alice Cary, A. J. H. Duganne, Edward Willett, Mrs. Metta V. Victor, John Neal, E. C. Riggs, and others. Only three volumes were issued, the last number appearing June, 1867. A letter of February 10, 1866, on the stationery of the Monthly gives only the names of Erastus F. Beadle and Robert Adams as publishers. Because of inadequate support for this magazine, Erastus ceased publishing periodicals until 1870 when he started his weekly story paper which lasted over 27 years.

Irwin Beadle, who had been missing from the New York Directory(11) for 1865, and possibly now had turned to his trade of bookbinding (instead of at the earlier date mentioned by Ellis(12) ) returned to the field of publishing in the autumn of this year. On September 13 he advertised(13) No. 1 of Irwin P. Beadle's Comic and Sentimental Song-Book for the People. The firm name was "Irwin P. Beadle," with no "and Company," and the address was 51 Ann Street. George Munro was still at 137 William Street. The Song Book was followed by Comic and SentimentaI Songs, No. 2,(14) October 3, 1865, and by No. 1 of a new series, Irwin P. BeadIe's American Novels,(15) on October 7, 1865. This booklet had a yellow-orange wrapper, otherwise it closely resembled the original Dime Novels. In place of the imprint of a dime, however, there was a portrait of James Fenimore Cooper. Four numbers, in different colored wrappers, were issued in 1865, the fourth being the rare "O-I-Chee. A Tale of the Mohawk," the first edition in book form of a James Fenimore Cooper item. The series ran until 1868, although Irwin was probably bought out before then, as noted in Part Ill. All of the novels were afterwards reprinted with deep red-orange covers. The novels are rare in the original form, the first four numbers being almost unobtainable. Irwin's own announcement of this series, as given inside the back wrapper of No. 1, follows:


desires to call attention of the Public to the fact that he has again entered the field of publication, and under the name of


is issuing a series of works by the first of American authors, of the highest order of merit.

The trashy publications that are circulating in every part of the country must occasion regret to every intelligent reader; and, in the hope of furnishing a high class of literature, accessible to all, he has entered upon the publication of the


These will comprehend the best efforts of American authors, and there will be none issued from this house that are not meritorious, in every sense of the word.

The pot loved to call the kettle black.

There was something queer about Irwin P. BeadIe's American Novels. No. 5 was Ellis' "The Prairie Rangers." No. 6, "The Rescue," also by Ellis, was a sequel to No. 5, and appeared February 7, 1866. At about the same time, March 7, 1866, there appeared No. 6 of Chaney's American Novels. It, likewise, was entitled "The Rescue," and was marked "A sequel to The Prairie Rangers.'' The author, however, was W. H. Chaney, who also, apparently, was the publisher of the series. It took up the characters given in Ellis's "Prairie Rangers," but the continuation of the story is entirely different from that in No. 6 of Irwin's American Novels. The engraving of the words "American Novels" and the surrounding ornaments are identical with the same words and ornaments on the cover of Irwin's novels, but the head of Cooper was replaced by a picture which might be--but is not--Giglamps Verdant Green in middle age. Another curious thing is that Irwin's novels were copyrighted by Irwin P. Beadle & Co. from No. 11 to No. 29 at least, although the firm's name apparently never took that form on the title page or in advertisements, and the name of the person behind the "Co." is unknown. The question naturally arises: Did Irwin sell the series to Chaney and yet continue to publish his own series, or did he sell to two parties?

Irwin, however, was not the only fly in Erastus' ointment in 1865. At the beginning of the year,(16) T. R. Dawley came out with Dawley's War Novel, No. 1, "Mosby, the Guerilla." Mosby at that time was much in the public eye,(17) and a novel about him was likely to sell well. Munro was continuing his Ten Cent Novels, and Dawley his Ten Penny Novels and Camp and Fireside Library. Nevertheless, the Beadle firm probably had no cause for complaint, for business was good and sales enormous.


The year 1866 had a very inauspicious beginning for Beadle & Co. On the second of February Robert Adams, partner of both Erastus and Irwin Beadle at different times since 1856, died of hemorrhage of the lungs. Data about Robert are very scanty; even Beadle's Monthly,(18) of which he was part owner, gives only a few words of praise and no personal information except to say that "He was an invalid for a long time, suffering from the disease which at last proved the conqueror. During late years he passed his winters in foreign travel, visiting the West, always returning laden with treasures of art and literature, in which he took especial delight; and had arranged again to depart on his annual exile when the hemorrhages set in which bore him away."(19)

On Robert Adams' death, his interest in the firm immediately passed to his two younger brothers, William and David, both of whom had for some time been connected with it.(20) Erastus took charge of the press production, business circulars, posters, etc., William Adams of the general business management of the firm, and David Adams of the general literary management.

One of the surprising things about the Beadles, the Adamses, and those connected with them, is their youth: Irwin was twenty-four when the stereotype foundry was established, Robert Adams was only nineteen when the firm of Beadle and Adams was founded and twenty-nine when he died. David Adams, at twenty, was general literary manager of the firm Beadle & Co., and Edward Ellis was only twenty when "Seth Jones" was published. Victor was thirty-four when he became Beadle's editor.

Probably having no connection with the death of Robert Adams, although occurring in the same week, was the ending of the English experiment. The last Beadle's American Library to come from the London branch of the firm was No. 60, published February 1, 1866, the next and all subsequent numbers being issued by George Routledge,(21) London, to whom Beadle had sold the rights. Nothing is known of the terms of the sale or the agreement between Beadle and Routledge, but Routledge continued to reprint Beadle Dime Novels until February 1, 1868, when, with No. 84, the American Library ended. Reprints of the earlier numbers, with the Routledge imprint, were issued when the original Beadle numbers became exhausted.

Perhaps Erastus was again in London to close the deal, but the only evidence for that assumption is the omission of his name from the Brooklyn Directory for 1866.(22) He is still in the New York Directory and is given as living at 35 Pineapple Ave., Brooklyn, the same place where he lived before and after 1866, consequently the evidence that he was away from the city in 1866 is rather slim.

During the year 1866 Beadle & Co. published their regular series Dime Novels Nos. 89 to 113, American Library Nos. 59 and 60, and American Tales (if that was a Beadle production) Nos. 31 to 41. Also published were Song Books Nos. 17 and 18, Dime Pocket Songster No. 4, American Series Songster (Chanticleer, No. 3), "Yearbook for 1867," Dime Dialogues No. 4, Speaker No. 6, Base-Ball Player for 1866, "Hand Book of Croquet,'' "Story of the Grand March," American Battles No. 2 (Sheridan's Campaign), National Tax Law, revised, and the fifty-cent books "The Dead Letter" and "Who Was He?" There also appeared the Dime Book of Fun, No. 3, wherein was published for the first time in book form Mark Twain's "Jim Smiley's Frog," an abbreviated version of "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

What took place in Irwin Beadle's establishment in 1866 is somewhat mysterious. The original title of his current novel series from No. 1, October 7, 1865, to No. 5, January 3, 1866, had been Irwin P. Beadle's American Novels, but some time before No. 15 was issued, in July, 1866, this was changed to Irwin's American Novels. Unfortunately, I have seen only reprints of the intermediate numbers. With No. 33, August, 1867, or No. 34, the title was again changed, this time simply to American Novels. The booklets from No. 1 to No. 10 were copyrighted by Irwin P. Beadle, but No. 11, April, 1866, to No. 26 at least, February, 1867 (I have not seen No. 27) show the words Irwin P. Beadle and Company. After this the copyright was in the name of Irwin and Company until No. 33 or 34 appeared, when the series passed into the hands of the American Novel Publishing Co., of 81 Nassau Street. Whether Irwin Beadle was still in the firm after his name was dropped is unknown, for Wilson's Copartnership Directory for 1867-68 says after his name, "Moved, no information." Irwin & Co. remained at 102 Nassau Street until July, 1867, at least, when No. 32 appeared, and probably until October, 1867, but complete data await the discovery of early editions of other booklets of this series. A more complete discussion of these novels is given in Part Ill of this book, under the heading Irwin BeadIe's American Novels.

With the Irwin & Co. imprint there also appeared in 1866 Irwin's Six Penny Tales. No advertisement of this series has been found and it is likely that it was short lived. No number higher than No. 2 has been reported, although there is always the possibility that one may turn up.

Two new competitors of Beadle & Co. appeared during 1866. No. 3 of Hilton's Dime Books appeared before April 14, and No. 3 of Chapman's Sunnyside Series on November 16. Both series were begun in 1866.


1 Buffalo City Directory, 1864
  Mrs. Irwin P. Beadle, News and Periodical Depot, 227 Main. (She is listed only in the classified portion. After this year she disappears from the Buffalo Directories
  Wilson's Copartnership Directory, New York, 1864-65
  Beadle & Co. (Irwin P. Beadle and Robert Adams). 118 William.
  (The name of Irwin P. Beadle given here is clearly an error for Erastus. It was given correctly the preceding year.)
  Irwin P Beadle & Co. [Irwin Beadle], George Munro and Samuel Greewood, 137 William
  Trow's New York City Directory, 1864-65
  Erastus Beadle, 118 William. h. 35 Pineapple, Brooklyn
  Robert Adams, 118 William. h. Bedford Av. n. Jefferson, Brooklyn
  Irwin P. Beadle, books, 137 William. h. Brooklyn [no address given].
  Brooklyn City Directory
  Erastus F. Beadle. 118 William. N. Y.
  Robert Adams, pub. 118 William. N. Y. h. Bedford, n. Jefferson.
  William Adams, supt., 118 William. N. Y. h. Bedford Av. n. Jefferson.
  (Irwin P. Beadle is not given.)
2 New York Tribune, February 6 and 9, 1864
3 (Editorial), "An Interesting History," Saturday Star Journal, III, No. 123, July 20, 1872
4 New York Tribune, February 13, 1864
5 Blurb on back wrapper of a reprint of Biographical Library, No. 12
6 William Everett, "Critical Notices," North American Review, July, 1864, 303-309
7 Prentiss Ingraham, "The Classic Dime Novel and its Gradual Disappearance," New York Herald, February 3, 1901
8 The Photograph of Erastus Beadle, shown in Fig. 11, was taken in London in 1864
9 New York Tribune, November 21, 1865
10 For Press Comments, see New York Tribune, December 19, 1865
11 Trow's New York City Directory, 1865-66
  Erastus Beadle, 118 William St. h. 35 Pineapple, Brooklyn.
  Robert Adams. 118 William St. h. Bedford av. n. Jefferson, B'lyn.
  George Munro, publisher. 137 William. h. 72 Willoughhy, Brooklyn.
  (Irwin Beadle is not mentioned)
12 Edward S. Ellis, Introduction to Seth Jones, Dillingham edition, New York, 1907, 16.
13 New York Tribune, September 13, 1865. "Published this morning."
14 Advertised in Irwin P. Beadle's American Novels, No. 1.
15 New York Tribune, October 7, 1867. "Published this morning."
16 Harper's Weekly, January 14, 1865, No. 420, 32.
17 Ibid, page 43. Also elsewhere.
18 Beadle's Monthly, I, 1866, 388.
19 The obituary notice in the New York Tribune, February 5, 1866, simply gave the date of his death and his age, 29 years. His tombstone in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, gives the date of his birth as January 15, 1837. Where he was born was nowhere stated. In order to determine his place of birth, the biographical sketches and other records of his brothers were searched. His next younger brother, William, according to his obituary notices, was born October 17, 1838, in New York City, but this is disproved by the Brooklyn Registry of Voters which shows that he had lived outside the state of New York as a child. His second younger brother, Harry, a New York politician, was better known. It is stated (Anon., A Souvenir of Brooklyn, Descriptive, Historical and Statistical, New York, 1890) that he was born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1842, and came to this country in 1847. The youngest brother, David, born August 21, 1846, is shown, in the Brooklyn Registry of Voters, to have lived in the state of New York as many years as he was old, indicating that he had either been born there or had entered as an infant, less than a year old. We can, in view of the fact that a year allows some latitude if no month is mentioned, be quite sure that the family migrated to this country in 1847, and, since David was born August 21, 1846, all the older brothers also must have been born in Ireland. In the 1860's, during heavy Irish immigration, the Irish were not held in such good repute in New York as they are at present, and it appears likely that the Adams boys desired to suppress their Irish birth. (A similar marked aversion to speaking of his early life was shown by A. T. Stewart, who also was born in the north of Ireland, and came to this country, at the age of 20, in 1823.) No trace of Adams senior was found in Buffalo, but in the obituary notice of David Adams, in the Brooklyn Eagle, October 3, 1886, it is stated that he (David) was left fatherless before he was two years of age, consequently the father must have died shortly after his arrival in America. The mother, Martha, or Martha Margaret, perhaps Maggie, is shown in the Buffalo Directory for the first time in 1848, where she is given as "Widow of Robert," and as the owner of a "Fancy" or Variety store at 407 East Seneca Street. She remained at this address until she went to Brooklyn in 1860. Robert, as already told, when seventeen years of age was a stereotyper for Erastus Beadle, and later for his successor, C. E. Felton. In the summer of 1856, the firm of Beadle and Adams was organized, with Erastus Beadle, 35 years of age, and Robert Adams, only 19, as partners. During the next year, Robert probably had entire charge of the Youth's Casket and The Home while Erastus was experimenting with real estate. Late in 1858, Erastus Beadle went to New York and his brother Irwin and Robert Adams probably went with him then or a few months later, but whether Robert Adams was working with him or with Irwin at that time is unknown--the partnership being a sort of family affair. Sometime near the close of 1859, Robert joined hands with Irwin to form the firm Irwin Beadle & Co. (with which Erastus also was connected somewhat later), and thereafter remained with the firm, which in 1860 became Beadle & Co., until his death in 1866.
20 Anon., "Erastus Beadle," Banner Weekly, VIII, No. 368, November 30, 1889
  A letter, dated September 29, 1866, from Beadle & Co., on stationery of Beadle's Monthly (now in the manuscript room of the New York Public Library), to Count Henri de Baumet, carries the names of Erastus Beadle, William Adams, and David Adams at the top. The same names are given at the head of a letter addressed to George Waldo Browne, September 3, 1883.
21 Publisher's Circular, London, XXIX, February, 1866.
22 Trow's New York City Directory, 1866-67
  Erastus F. Beadle. 118 William St. h. 35 Pineapple, Brooklyn.
  William Adams, books. 118 Williams. h. 72 Willoughby, Brooklyn.
  (Irwin Beadle not mentioned
  Lain's Brooklyn City Directory, 1866-67
  J [sic]. P. Beadle, publisher. Ann n. Nassau, N. Y. h. 23 Hunter.
  William Adams, publisher. h. Gates Av. c. Tompkins Av.
  Martha Adams, widow. h. Gates Av. c. Tompkins Av.
  (Erastus Beadle and David Adams not given)

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