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Dime Novels and Magazines

As reading became widespread throughout the 1800s, there arose a need for popular literature. In America the answer was the Dime Novel, cheap precursors to the modern paperback. The books generally featured adventure stories of interest to boys and young men, and untold numbers of Americans honed their reading skills by devouring them.

Dime Novels, the pop fiction of their day
In the 1800s, working class Americans couldn't get enough of Dime Novels, which dramatized urban toughs, detectives, cowboys, and hard-working city girls. Stanford University hosts a fascinating collection of images from the pop fiction of its day.

Thomas Nast, the father of caricature
Cartoonist Thomas Nast combined artistic flair and acerbic wit to depict political and social life in the 1900s. He was the first to draw Republicans as elephants, Democrats as Donkeys, and he invented our image of Santa Claus.

Richard K. Fox and the Police Gazette
In the late 1800s the Police Gazette and its editor, Richard K. Fox, influenced American journalism by introducing extensive sporting coverage.

Magazines of the 19th Century

Ned Buntline biography
Ned Buntline was the pen name of Edward Z.C. Judson, whose adventure stories about the West transformed American popular culture.

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