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Rare Books and Special Collections At Northern Illinois University: Dime Novels

A brief guide to Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University

The Albert Johannsen Collection

Albert Johannsen

This collection is Albert Johannsen's own working collection of Beadle & Adams Dime Novels and other popular literature of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, used for his landmark bibliography, The House of Beadle and Adams. This bibliography has been digitized by the NIU Libraries through The Beadle & Adams Dime Novel Digitization Project. We do not own reproduction rights for the digital material in this bibliography; arrangements for reproductions must be made through the University of Oklahoma Press, who originally published the bibliography.

A small but growing collection of digitized dime novels from this collection is now available on the Dime Novels at NIU website.

The Johannsen collection also includes Johannsen's notes, papers, dry plates, and memorabilia from when he wrote his bibliography, as well as his papers from his career as a petrologist and professor. A 2003 acquisition of the set of Deadwood Dick Library dime novels adds to the depth of this collection. This collection complements the Horatio Alger, American Popular Literature, Edward T. LeBlanc, Merriwell, and Edward Stratemeyer Collections. Although a finding aid for individual sets of papers is not currently available, most of the collection (including general descriptions of our manuscripts) has been already added to our online catalog.

Research in this collection is eligible for financial support through the annual Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture.

The Edward T. LeBlanc Collection

The LeBlanc Collection (click here for a list of cataloged items), acquired by the NIU Libraries in 1998, is comprised of over 700 different novels series, and novelettes ranging in date from ca. 1850-1925. Titles such as Aldine Half Holiday Library, Boys of the Empire, Dick Turpin, Gem Library, Happy Days, Lovell's Library, New York Ledger, Oliver Optic's Magazine, Pluck and Luck, Rocket, Seaside Library, Secret Service, Wide Awake Library, Yank, Young Britain, and Young Glory are well represented in this collection, many with fairly complete runs.

The Library of Congress has digitized and made available the complete PDFs of Edward LeBlanc's 13-volume dime novel bibliography.

A small but growing collection of digitized dime novels from this collection is now available on the Dime Novels at NIU website.

This collection complements the Horatio Alger, American Popular Literature, Albert Johannsen, Merriwell, and Edward Stratemeyer Collections. Although this collection is not yet fully cataloged, some of the series listed in our finding aid have already been added to our Online Catalog. 

Research in this collection is eligible for financial support through the annual Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture.

Popular Culture Class Visits

This tab links to lists of materials that have been used for previous class visits related to popular cultural materials. Providing your syllabus allows us to pull materials directly relevant to YOUR classes. Please email Lynne M. Thomas (lmthomas@niu.edu), the Curator, for details.

Subject Guide

Lynne Thomas
Contact:
http://lynnemthomas.com (Personal Blog)
Website / Blog Page

Interested in Making a Gift?

If you would like to make a gift to RBSC, there are lots of ways to do that.

Our Collection Development Policy explains what kinds of books and manuscripts we are interested in.

A sample of our Deed Of Gift document lays out the agreement when you donate. 

Gifting digital materials? This guide may help.

To make a monetary donation, please contact the Curator (lmthomas AT niu.edu) for more details.

To make an online donation to an existing fund, go to the NIU Foundation website, and enter the fund name in the notes field.

By topic:

  • Children's Series Literature: The Gordon W. & Jeanne M. Huber Endowment
  • Horatio Alger / American Popular Literature: The Horatio Alger Society Endowment
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature & Fandom: The Peggy Rae Sapienza Fund
  • 18th Century Literature: The Martin Kallich Endowment
  • Education, Travel, and Leisure: The Bernadine Hanby Endowment
  • General RBSC materials: The Friends of the NIU Libraries Endowment
  • British Drama: The S. Orville and Adra Baker Library Endowment