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Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels

on the 12th of September, 1863, the cover title of a new series of novels was filed for copyright by Irwin P. Beadle & Company, the rival dime novel publishing house organized by Irwin Beadle after his retirement from the original firm. The series was entitled Irwin P. Beadles Ten Cent Novels, and was issued from 137 William Street, the premises formerly occupied by the older company. The first number was announced by the newspapers(1) as "Ready" on November 11, 1863. At this time, Irwin had been in business for himself for some six months at least, for he had filed for copyright, on April 18, 1863, a "Ten Cent Song Book for the Million," and on August 16, of the same year, had entered into a partnership agreement with George Munro.(2) As mentioned under the "History of the Firm," Erastus had tried to stop the issuing of Song Book No. 1, with the name Beadle in the title, but the restraining injunction was denied on October 2, 1863, and Irwin was permitted to use his own name. All of the books issued by this reincarnation of the firm Irwin P. Beadle & Co. have been confusing to collectors owing to the fact that the new firm took the name of the older one in its original form, and that it occupied the premises at 137 William Street, vacated by it. As has been shown previously, there was no connection between the two companies.

The new series of novels was advertised as Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels, but Nos. 1 and 2 (Fig. 30) carried on the wrapper the abbreviated form I. P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels. Nos. 3 to 5 (Fig. 31) carried the full title, otherwise the appearance was unchanged. The novels were approximately 6 ½ by 4 ¼ inches in size, had buff or tan covers, and contained approximately 100 pages. Beneath the author's name on the title page is a cut of a portion of a Ten Cent Postal Currency note. The series title on the wrapper is in plain, bold-face type, without ornaments, above a wood-cut printed in black, and the title of the story is beneath it, the whole enclosed within an ornamental border. The cover cut is repeated as a frontispiece.

Fig 30.  Beadle's American Library.

Fig 27. I. P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels
Five numbers appeared between 1863 and 1864, after which Irwin retired
and the title of the series was changed to Munro's Ten Cent Novels

Fig 31.  Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels.

Fig 31. Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels with the name
in the title-expanded in Nos. 3 to 5, 1864.

Only five of the novels appeared with the Irwin imprint, although at least six were copyrighted by the firm. With the sixth number the title of the series was changed to Munro's Ten Cent Novels and the title page bears the imprint "Irwin P. Beadle and George Munro, Publishers." In some copies of No. 6, the back cover announces that

In consequence of the similarity of the name of Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Publications with those of another house, the Publishers have thought it best to adopt the name of Munro's Ten Cent Publications instead. This trifling change affects only the name—the enterprise will still be conducted by the same parties who have given the series such unrivalled popularity. The best authors that the country can produce will still devote their exclusive services to its interest, and their number is continually increased. No other Publishing House can boast of authors of such distinguished merit as those exclusively employed on our Ten Cent Publications. No change but in name will be made in the books already published.

Irwin P. Beadle
George Munro

Irwin, however, actually retired, for beginning with No. 7, George Munro & Co. are given as the publishers. The address remained 137 William Street. Reprints of the early numbers were issued with the new wrappers, and at the same time the Irwin Beadle imprint on the title page was routed out, leaving a blank space between the words "New York" and the street address. The Irwin Beadle copyright notice on the verso of the title page remains in the reissues. No. 7 and those thereafter were copyrighted by George Munro & Co., and their imprint appears on title page and wrappers. The later Munro issues were very carelessly edited, and, when they were reprints of previous publications, were so badly slashed that in many cases it is difficult to follow the story.

Since we are not concerned here with George Munro, only the first six novels of this series are listed.


1 New York Tribune, November 9, 1863.
2 See The Year 1863, in Part II.

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