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Beadle's American Library

THE ENGLISH BRANCH of Beadle & Co. functioned from February 15, 1861, to February 1, 1866, and during that time † sixty-one numbers of Beadle's American Library were published at monthly intervals. With No. † 62 George Routledge and Sons took over the publication. They continued the series to No. 84, and also, when the older numbers became exhausted, reprinted them with their own name on the title page.

The original issues of Beadle's American Library have the typical orange covers of the American edition, but are entirely different in appearance (Fig. 27). The title of the series was changed, and the cut of a sixpence replaces the dime of the American wrappers. Most of the copies that I have seen in the original wrappers were trimmed to 6 3/8 by 4 1/8 inches. Unlike the American novels, the wrappers in many cases carry advertisements of other firms than Beadle, but like the American, the illustration on the wrapper is repeated as a frontispiece. E. F. Beadle & Co., or Beadle & Co., 44 Paternoster Row, is the publishers' imprint, and in some numbers the 141 William Street address in New York is also given.

Fig 27.  Beadle's American Library.

Fig 27. Beadle's American Library
These were reprints of Dime Novels issued by Beadle's branch office
in London between 1861 and 1866. † Sixty-one numbers were issued, after
which † 23 more reprints were issued by George Routledge

I think that all of the original issues by Beadle had orange wrappers and were printed in black † or orange, red, and black, but the later Routledge copies have only orange backs while the front covers have an orange and black cut on a green background. The novels themselves, in part and probably all, were type-set in England and were printed there, and were not from the American stereotype plates. Some of them have the imprint "London, Printed by Clayton and Co., 17 Bouverie street † or, W. J. Johnson, Printer, 121 Fleet Street, London" on the verso of the title page. The illustrations, however, were from the American plates engraved by N. Orr, New York. Usually these booklets are found bound in half leather, six or eight to the volume, and with the original wrappers removed (**!!**!!). An announcement on the back wrapper of No. 1 reads:


The Proprietors of Beadle's American Sixpenny Library commenced in New York, two years since,(1) the publication of a series of books, which embody the best works of the best authors in the fiction literature of America and Europe. Each issue embraced a complete work, prepared expressly for the series, and furnished at a price and in a style never before ventured by the American press. The enterprize from the commencement met with unparalleled success, exceeding the most sanguine expectations. These works being received with such general favour, and sought after with such extreme interest by the American reading public, the Publishers are induced to produce them in England simultaneous with America, feeling assured that there is a demand among British readers for such a class of literature as is presented in this series.

Each volume will contain one hundred and twenty-eight fcap. 8vo. pages of letterpress, printed with clear and expressly prepared type and paper, uniform in style and price.

The works will be issued as rapidly as consistent with the demands of the market and the claims of the trade.

Even when bound without wrappers, the English edition may be distinguished from the American by the absence of the copyright notice on the verso of the title page.


1 According to advertisements in English periodicals, the English edition was actually begun less than a year after the American and not two years as stated above.
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
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