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The Pocket Library

THREE MONTHS before the Boy's Library was changed from a quarto to an octavo, a new octavo series was begun on January 16, 1884. The first thirteen numbers were entitled Beadle's Half-Dime Pocket Library (Type I-Pocket Library, Fig. 86) but thereafter, to the end of the series, it became simply Beadle's Pocket Library (Type II-Pocket Library, Fig. 87), the words "Half-Dime" probably being omitted to avoid confusion with the original Half-Dime Library. The pamphlets are about 8¼ by 5¾ inches in size, the same as the octavo editions of the Boy's and Waverley Libraries. Each number contains 32 pages with two columns of very readable type. There are no wrappers. The price was five cents a copy or $2.50 a year. The engraved head of each number is a reduced facsimile of Type I of the Half-Dime Library, except for the substitution of the reverse of a "V" nickel for the half-dime cut, and the replacement of the words "Half-Dime" by "Pocket." There was at first, beneath the heading, the volume number at the left and the serial number at the right. With No. 247, on October 3, 1888, a day after a similar change was made in the Half-Dime Library, the positions of volume and serial numbers were reversed. Beadle and Adams, 98 William Street, was the publishers' imprint for the entire run, which ended with No. 492, June 14, 1893. Two more numbers were announced but were never issued. All of the numbers, of which thirteen form a volume, are dated, and each has a single illustration on the first page.

Beginning with "Deadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road," a reprint of No. I, Half-Dime Library, every subsequent issue except Nos. 326, 339, 344, 365, and 366, which have not been traced, was a reprint of a novel that had appeared previously elsewhere. Most of them were reprints of stories in the Half-Dime Library, Dime Novels, Boy's Library, Starr's American Novels, and the weekly Beadle story papers. There were a few, also, from some of the other older booklets, but most of these had also been reprinted among the Half-Dime Libraries. Why this series was issued when reissues of the Half-Dime Library would have answered as well, is a mystery. The new form, necessitating resetting the type and engraving a smaller sized cut, was only an extra expense. Some of the illustrations, of course, were only zinc etchings reduced from the original woodcuts, but many were newly drawn.

Fig 86. Beadle's Pocket Library

Fig 86. Beadle's Pocket Library
There were 492 numbers between 1884 and 1893. The heading
shown above, Type I-Pocket Library, was used on Nos. 1 to 13 only

Fig 86. Beadle's Pocket Library

Fig 87. Beadle's Pocket Library
showing the heading, Type II-Pocket Library, used on Nos. 14 to 492 (the final number)

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