Rosedale Library

Rosedale Library, 1882

Rosedale Library is a bit of a mystery. A story paper series published by Street & Smith in the early 1880s, the Rosedale Library has all but disappeared in modern collections. There are approximately four examples currently extant in institutional libraries with publication dates from 1880-1882.

Printed without pricing or consistency, Rosedale Library may have simply served as a promotional tool for soliciting subscriptions to more popular Street & Smith publications, like their flagship New York Weekly. In fact, the publishers seem to have leaned on a “bait-and-switch” strategy. In each of the surviving Rosedale Library issues, there are opening chapters to 2 or 3 stories with the “continuation” to be found in a specific number of the New York Weekly.

Ad for the New York Weekly

What is a Story Paper?

A story paper is a serialized publication full of stories and illustrations primarily geared towards children or adolescents. They were most popular between World War I and World War II. In the United States, story papers were more commonly referred to as “dime novels”. Dime novels became a catchall phrase to refer to story papers, pulp magazines, and other popular fiction printed in inexpensive paper bindings.

The publications typically consisted of around 8 pages released weekly and costing about 5 or 6 cents an issue.

An illustration from “But Only Once a Wife”

Street & Smith

Francis Street and Francis Smith ran one of the biggest publishers for American dime novels. Beginning in1855, Street & Smith published a variety of pulp fiction, comic books, and sporting magazines until the company was bought out in 1959. Street & Smith purchased the New York Dispatch (which would become New York Weekly) in 1858.

Street & Smith published some of the most popular dime novels (more accurately called “nickel weeklies” at that time) including: New Nick Carter Weekly, Tip Top Weekly, Buffalo Bill Stories, Jesse James Stories, and Brave & Bold Weekly. Many of these dime novel stories featured private detectives or Wild West settings.

To view the Rosedale Library, or other dime novels held in our collections, please visit GVSU Special Collections & University Libraries.