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Pallida mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Regumque turres. -- HORACE

Chapter XII

The Eighteen-eighties

Deaths of Irwin Beadle, 1882, Mrs. Martha Adams, 1882, Mrs. Irwin Beadle, 1886,
David Adams, 1886, Mrs. Erastus Beadle, 1889. Erastus Beadle retires
from the firm, 1889, and goes to Cooperstown. Five new
"libraries" started in the eighteen-eighties.

Americana: "Safety'' bicycles, celluloid collars, pompadour haircuts, advertising cards, bustles, bangs, ice cream pants, "Post Office," Dan Rice's show, Ivory soap and the brownies, patent medicine street shows, and "Peck's Bad Boy and his Pa."

Competition must have cut heavily into the profits of the firm during the 1880's. The number of Beadle publications gradually decreased. Only two new series were begun, although two others changed their format from quartos to octavos, but, beginning anew in numbering, seemed to be new issues. Reprinted novels, generally put out in different wrappers, became the rule; even the stories in the Saturday Journal and its successor, the Banner Weekly, were, in many cases, reprints of those previously published in the same journals. This, however, was something that other publishers also were doing; even the Golden Days reprinted its earlier stories in the later years.

Among the numerous competing publications whose first numbers were issued during the 1880's were Frank Tousey's Boys of New York Pocket Library, begun in 1880; George Munro's Old Sleuth Library and Tousey's New York Detective Library in 1882; Norman Munro's Old Cap Collier Library, Tousey's Five Cent Weekly Library, and Sibley's War Library in 1883; The Golden Library (a very mild but, as I recall it, interesting series) in 1885; The Saturday Library and the Little Chief Library in 1886; The Campfire Library and Boy's Star Library in 1887; The Cricket Library in 1888; and the Log Cabin Library and the Nugget Library in 1889.

Although new story papers were issued by other publishers during the 1880's, their number was not so great as during the previous years. Elverson of Philadelphia started Golden Days (1880-1907) at the beginning of the decade, but it was of a much milder type than some of its predecessors, and was considered almost good enough to be permitted as reading matter without parental objections. E. G. Rideout & Co., a house dealing in novelties in New York, came out in 1882 with The Golden Argosy (1882-1888) but in 1888 the name was changed to The Argosy and it passed into the hands of Frank Munsey and in 1929 was united with Munsey's Magazine. Finally, in 1890, Frank Tousey issued the Golden Weekly, which lasted apparently only 145 numbers.

The first new series of novels published by Beadle during this decade was the quarto Boy's Library, begun December 14, 1881, and continued through 121 numbers until April 2, 1884. It was probably not printed in great numbers, and is the rarest of all the libraries published by Beadle. At the O'Brien sale in 1920, fifteen numbers brought a total of $301—and this was before the dollar had shriveled to less than half its former value. In 1884 these 15 numbers could have been bought for 75 cents! The highest price for a single item, $62, was paid for Frank Powell's "Old Grizzly Adams, the Bear Tamer." On April 19, 1884, the Boy's Library was reduced to octavo or "pocket" form, and the series began again with No. 1 and was continued until a total of 319 numbers had been issued, the last one appearing May 24, 1890. Most of the stories of the larger format were reprinted in the octavo series.

On January 16, 1884, No. i of the other new series, The Pocket Library, appeared. All of the tales were reprints from the Half-Dime Library, the Boy's Library, the Saturday Journal, the Dime Novels, the American Tales, and so on. The series ran through 492 numbers, ending June 14, 1893.

In 1884, also, the quarto Waverley Library of love stories became an octavo, the former run ending with No. 236, May 20, 1884; the latter beginning with No. 1, May 27, 1884, and ending with No. 117, August 17, 1886.

The output of the house during the 1880's included Dime Novels Nos. 455 to 631 (the last number appearing November 3, 1885, ending a remarkable run of over 25 years), and Pocket Novels, Nos. 145 to 272 (ending the series November 25, 1884). The New Dime Novels and Pocket Novels each had been appearing biweekly, in alternate weeks, but when the Pocket Novels ended, the New Dime Novels appeared weekly, so it was but a shifting of names. There also appeared during this decade Dime Library Nos. 85 to 583 and Half-Dime Library Nos. 128 to 596. Both series were often reissued in large editions at the end of the period. Other series published during the same time were the Fireside Library Nos. 54 to 145, the final number appearing June 29, 1882; Waverley Library (quarto) Nos. 8 to 236, changing to Waverley Library (octavo), Nos. 1 to 117, and ending August 17, 1886. Finally, there was the Boy's Library (quarto) as mentioned, Nos. 1 to 121, changing to the octavo form April 19, 1884. Of the latter, 298 numbers were issued during the decade, but it continued on into the 1890's.

The Saturday Journal was perhaps the best money-maker for the firm at this time. It contained 244 serials during the decade. After numerous minor variations of title,(1) it made a radical change after 661 numbers had been issued. On November 18, 1882, the heading became Beadle's Weekly, and it was marked Vol. 1, Number 1 of the new series. After just three years, on November 14, 1885, this title was changed to the Banner Weekly, but there was no change in the sequence of numbers. The last issue of the 1880's was No. 372, but the Weekly ran for eight more years until May 22, 1897. The policy of the paper was changed with its name in 1882. It no longer attempted to cater to young people of both sexes, but became decidedly more masculine. Stories by women writers were camouflaged by printing only the initials of the given names of authors; thus Jennie Davis Burton became J. D. Burton, and Corinne Cushman C. Cushman. Love stories were less in number, and there were stories to appeal to workmen—of mechanics who advanced from carpenter to capitalist, from the printer's form to the forum, and so on, indicating that the publishers were catering to a certain class of readers. Owning to the many reprints, decidedly less new material was being' bought by the publishers.

The remaining publications during the 1880's were Dialogues Nos. 26 to 36; Speakers Nos. 24 and 25 (concluding the series in 1886); Base Ball Player for 1880 and 1881, also ending this series; and one handbook, "Summer Sports." Except for the Dialogues and Speakers, no miscellaneous booklet was issued after 1881, and after 1886 only the Dialogues.

It was mentioned under the year 1861 that Beadle had not begun to print his own novels at that time, but that it was some ten or fifteen years later before he installed his own presses. The exact date at which he began to print his own books has not yet been ascertained, but it seems certain that even as late as 1872 he let out his printing. In that year "Get Thee Behind Me Satan" was published, but on the verso of the title page is the statement that it was "Printed by Poole and Maclauchlan, 205 to 213 East 12th St., N. Y." If Beadle were printing at that time, this book would certainly have been printed by him. Previously, in "The New House that Jack Built," which was copyrighted in 1865, the printer was given as "Alvord," and still earlier, in Buffalo, several books were stereotyped by Beadle but none printed.

Furthermore, in the early days in New York, he could not have printed his own, for he did not have the money, and some of the early Dime Novels have the names of different printers. Adimari(2) thinks that he began in 1874-75 because the New York Directory for that year gives "Comstock" as printer at 41 Platt Street. This was the side entrance to 98 William Street, and also the address of Frank Starr & Co. That, however, may mean nothing, for while this printing establishment was in the same building, it does not necessarily mean that Beadle was also masquerading as Comstock. Quite the contrary, to my mind. It seems to me much more likely that Beadle was letting out his printing to the very convenient printer in the same building.

The first actual knowledge that we have of Beadle doing his own printing is from a notice in the October 24, 1885, number of The Boycotter,(3) issued by Typographical Union No. 6, wherein it is stated that "Alvarado D. Wright is chairman of Beadle & Adams' Chapel."(4) Beadle's chapel is mentioned in the trade paper(5) up to and including 1894 at least.

Father Time and the Angel of Death played on inexorably, and one by one the puppets were laid aside or destroyed. The changes among the members of the firm and their families were many in the 1880's. Irwin Beadle and his second wife, David Adams and his mother, and Mrs. Erastus Beadle all passed away, and Erastus himself retired, leaving only William Adams in the firm.

Nothing but a brief paid obituary notice(6) marked the death of the originator of the dime booklets.(7)

Beadle.—Suddenly, June 9, 1882, Irwin P. Beadle. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral from the residence of his brother-in-law, Thomas P. Hopkins, 229 Walworth St., Sunday, June 11, at 2 p.m.

Only that! Nowhere was he considered of enough importance to be given even a few inches of space for a biographical sketch. Full of humor, unassuming, and not given to self-advertising, he was not a maker of news, and little was heard of him. Had he been at all pretentious, he would have protested against all the credit for the Dime Novels, songbooks, and handbooks which he had invented being given to others. After retiring from the publishing firm, his path was far from being strewn with roses. Even the location of his grave is unknown.

No hint as to when and where Irwin was born is given in the short obituary notice, but the Registry of Voters in Brooklyn for 1874 and 1879 shows his age in these years as 48 and 53, consequently his birth year was 1826. He resided in the state of New York all his life, and Pierstown was probably his birth place. His widow(8) and one of his sons(9) lived at 691 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, in 1884, and in 1886 the former died.(10)

Only a very short time after the death of Irwin P. Beadle came the death of Martha M. Adams,(11) mother of Robert, David, and William Adams of the Beadle firm.

Her death occurred away from home. Commissioner Harry Adams, a brother of the Adamses of the Beadle firm, had taken his mother to the family summer home at Tannersville, in the Catskills, early in the summer for her health, but, thinking his mother better, had returned home on account of pressing business.(12) Her son William was in Europe at the time.(13) She was buried in the family lot in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.(14)

Our hats off to Martha. She was born in Ireland March 12, 1818. Coming to a strange country in 1847, with half a dozen children, one an infant in arms, and losing her husband in the first year, she managed, by her own efforts in a little variety store in Buffalo, to earn enough to bring up and educate her family, so that eventually all of her children became more than ordinarily successful.

The firm itself suffered the loss of one of its partners in 1886. On the first of October, David Adams (Fig. 13) died of heart disease at his home, 124 St. Mark's Avenue, Brooklyn.(15) He left a wife,(16) the former Mrs. Fredericka B. Cornwell, and two children, Robert and Leona. Surviving him also were his two brothers, William and Henry H., the latter at that time serving his second term as treasurer of Kings County, and two sisters, Mrs. Charles Muns and Mrs. Webster Wright. He was buried in the family lot at Greenwood Cemetery.(17)

No place of birth is given in the Tribune or in the Banner Weekly, but the Herald(18) gives New York. As a matter of fact, he was born August 21, 1846,(19) in all probability in Londonderry,(20) Ireland, and came to America as an infant with his parents in 1847.(21) He was educated in the schools of Buffalo and Brooklyn, his family moving to the latter place in 1860. After the death of his brother Robert, in 1866, he and his brother William, both of whom had been working for the firm for some time, became partners. David looked after the literary department, although he was not an author himself.

Erastus Beadle was listed in the Brooklyn Directory for 1881-82 as living at 170 South Elliot Place, the first time in years that his name appeared, but he was never listed thereafter. Apparently he considered Cooperstown his home, and to that place he permanently retired November 1, 1889,(22) disposing of his interest in the firm to his partner, William Adams. Worry over his sons' family troubles and Mrs. Beadle's death,(23) May 13, 1889, may have had something to do with his decision to retire. Apparently Beadle withdrew entirely from the firm, and William Adams remained the sole representative of the old and honorable house. Said the Banner Weekly: "While Mr. Beadle will retain his desk in the office, where he can occasionally be seen, his time will be largely spent in his native village, Cooperstown, at which place he has large interests."(24) So 'Rastus, perhaps more successfully this time, went back to dabbling in real estate.

Another cause for worry was the persistent drive being made in Congress to exclude "libraries" from second-class rates.(25) No such law, however, went into effect until 1890.

Toward the close of the decade, George Munro, who had been publishing the Old Sleuth Library, entered suit against Beadle & Adams(26) to restrain them from using the word "sleuth" in the titles of certain novels published by them.(27) The first decision went against Munro, the second in his favor. This note appeared in the Bookmaker:(28)

However, on the 10th of March, 1890, Judge Beach, on the motion of Roger Foster, attorney for George Munro, entered judgment, and perpetually enjoined Erastus F. Beadle and William Adams, from "using the word sleuth, either alone or in conjunction with any other words, as part of the title of any publication or series of publications, or as the pseudonym of the author of any publication or series of publications, or as the name of any author in any publication."(30)


1 See under the descriptions of the Saturday Journal and the Beadle's and Banner Weekly in Part III of this book.
2 In litteris, 1939
3 No earlier copy of this paper has been seen, but Beadle had evidently been printing for some time before this date. Further notices of the Beadle and Adams chapel occur in the issues for January 30 and March 20, 1886, May 1, 15, 22, July 3, 17, and October 16, 1886. Beadle paid his men 20 dollars per week, the regular Union rate, which was also paid by George and Norman Munro (Op. cit., April 24, 1886). In the obituary notice of David Adams (Op. cit., October 16, 1886) it is stated that "He was always in the van in paying the highest scale of prices for his work," and that his employees were present at his funeral.
  Some idea of the number of printers and typesetters employed by the different publishers of dime and nickel novels in 1884 may be obtained from the record of votes cast for various propositions in the Union, and recorded in Union Printer, June 14, 1884. Beadle averaged about 20, George Munro 24, Leslie 15, Tousey 20, Street and Smith 9, and Norman Munro 100.
4 According to Webster's Dictionary, a chapel is an association of workmen in a printing office for dealing with matters or questions affecting their interests.
5 Union Printer (new title of The Boycotter), November 13, 1886, December 11, 1886, and through 1887 to 1894. No copy of the paper beyond that date was seen.
6 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 10 and 11, 1882.
7 Irwin P. Beadle was born in Pierstown, New York, in 1826. He learned the bookbinding trade in Cooperstown and went to Buffalo late in 1849 or early in 1850. Here he joined his brother Erastus in establishing a stereotype foundry in 1850, and with him removed to New York in 1858, where he began the publication of handbooks and songbooks. This proved a great success, so that Robert Adams, who had been in partnership with Erastus Beadle in the publication of The Home, joined forces with Irwin in the firm of Irwin P. Beadle & Co., which Erastus also joined in the spring of 1860. In 1862 Irwin's share in the business was bought by the other partners. Irwin immediately entered into partnership with George Munro, under the old firm name of Irwin P. Beadle & Co., and began publishing handbooks and novels, but early in 1864 Irwin retired. He entered the publishing business for the third time in 1865 as Irwin P. Beadle, and began a new series of ten-cent novels. In July, 1867, the firm name became Irwin & Co., but in December, 1868, he retired forever as a publisher, and returned to his trade of bookbinding. He died in Brooklyn June 9, 1882.
  Irwin Beadle was married to Elizabeth M. Dunbar Septembcr 27, 1850, and divorced about 1859. He was married for the second time, shortly thereafter, to Margaret Rice (1834-1886), and by her had four children:
  William Irwin, born 1860, married Emma Leslie Cameron, and had a son, Robert Cameron, born 1883, a publisher.
  Walter E., born about 1862. He was an engraver and had a son, Irwin, who was a conductor on one of the western railways.
  Franklin, also an engraver and later vice-president of the American Bank Note Co. He died in 1923.
  George, the youngest son, died at an early age.
8 Brooklyn City Directory, 1884. Margaret Beadle, wid. Irving {sic.) h. 691 Gates Ave.
9 Voters' Registry, Brooklyn, 1884. William J. Beadle, 691 Gates Ave. His age is incorrectly given this year as 22, but in the registry for 1881 (when he was living at 624 DeKalb Ave., at the same address as his father), and for 1885 and 1887, his age is correctly given, indicating his birth year as 1860. His name appears in the Brooklyn Directory for 1886-87, 1888-89, and 1890-91.
10 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 21, 1886. Beadle.—On September 20, Margaret E. Beadle, aged 52 years. Funeral on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. from her son's residence, 41 Adam place, Windsor Terrace.
11 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 19, 1882. Brooklyn Advance, VII, October, 1882, 88.
  Adams.—Of pneumonia, at Tannersville, N. Y., August 17, Martha M. Adams, aged 63 years. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral from her late residence, 516 Gates Ave., Sunday, August 20, at 3 p.m.
12 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 19, 1882, news item and on the editorial page. See also the Saturday Journal, October 7, 1882.
13 Ibid., August 2, 1882. He was registered in London, England.
14 Ibid., August 21, 1882. Curiously enough, the date of her death is incorrectly given on her tombstone as August 20. Actually it occurred on the 17th, and was noted in the newspapers on the 19th.
15 New York Tribune, October 2 and 3, 1886.
16 He was twice married: First on May 18, 1877, by the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (Brooklyn Eagle, May 21, 1877) to Leonora Kline, who was born September 21, 1849, and died February 10, 1881 (Saturday Journal, No. 574, March 12, 1881); and second to Mrs. Fredericka B. Cornwell, November 7, 1882 (Brooklyn Eagle, November 9, 1882).
17 For other obituary notices see The American Bookseller, XX, 1886, 260; Publishers' Weekly, XXX, 1886, 524-25; The Boycotter, New York, October 16, 1886; Brooklyn Eagle, October 3, 1886; and Brooklyn Union, October 2, 1886.
18 New York Herald, October 2, 1886. The Herald incorrectly gives the year of his birth as 1838, as does also the Tribune of October 3. His brother William was born in 1838.
19 Banner Weekly, IV, No. 207, October 30, 1886. The date is also so given on his tombstone in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.
  See also supra, under the year 1866, where I speak of his brother Robert's death.
20 Incidentally, Robert Bonner was also born in Londonderry.
21 Brooklyn Eagle, October 3, 1886, speaks of his having been left fatherless when less than two years of age.
22 Cooper, Shaw and Litell: History of Coopcrstown, 1929, 118-19.
23 Freeman's Journal, Cooperstown, December 20, 1894. See also Banner Weekly, No. 345, June 22, 1889, 4. She was in her 67th year.
24 Banner Weekly, VIII, No. 368, November 30, 1889.
25 The American Bookseller, New York, XXIII, 1888, 137.
26 Munro vs. Beadle. In Supreme Court, N. Y. State, Oct. 15, 1888, recorded in New York Supplement, II, 314. Also recorded in Hun, Supreme Court Reports, LV, 312, 419, and New York State Reporter, XVIII, 1888, 277.
  See also Publishers' Weekly, XXXIII, 1888, 183, 213, 397, 472, 684-85; XXXIV, 1888, 586; XXXVII, 1890, 253, 718.
27 Thus the titles of Dime Library Nos. 363, 437, 481, etc., "Crowningshield, the Sleuth," "Deep Duke, the Silent Sleuth," "The Silent Sleuths," all published before the latter part of 1888, were listed in advertisements in later novels as "Crowningshield, the Detective," "Deep Duke, the Silent Sharp," and "The Silent Detectives," although, apparently, the titles of the novels themselves were not changed.
  See also 441-DL, 453-DL, 460-DL, 262- 1/2 DL, and 325- 1/2 DL.
28 The American Bookmaker, November, 1888. Also reprinted in Newsman, December, 1888.
29 Judge Ingraham's opinion is given in full in Banner Weekly, No. 314, November 17, 1888, 4.
30 Newsman, March, 1890. See also New York State Reporter, XXVIII, 503, the New York Supplement, VIII, 414, and Hun, Supreme Court Reports, LV, 312, 419. Beadle also noted the adverse decision in the Correspondents' Column of the Banner Weekly, No. 402, July 26, 1890.

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