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