In 1855, when Francis Scott Street and Francis Shubael Smith bought The New York Weekly Dispatch, the two men embarked on a publishing mission that remained remarkably prolific and profitable for over one hundred years. Street & Smith rapidly became a "fiction factory," producing a wide variety of popular literature, including dime novels, pulp magazines, books in series for juveniles, fashion and homemaking magazines, comics, and adventure stories. The company viewed fiction as a commodity, with Street & Smith editors dictating plots, character types, and other conventions to the firm's stable of writers. As a result, Street & Smith authors, including such literary figures as Horatio Alger, Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, and Jack London, were often disguised by house pseudonyms and wrote to carefully calculated formulae, with their products subject to extensive rewriting by Street & Smith editors.
Street & Smith illustrators worked under the same editorial constraints as did the writers. If an editor received unacceptable illustrations, the illustrator was told to "get busy and change them then and there." Nevertheless, Street & Smith eventually became "an incubator where the greatest illustrators in the country were professionally born." These included Harvey Dunn, Joseph Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell, Winfield Scott, Tom Lovell, Anton Otto Fisher, Amos Sewell, and N.C. Wyeth.
Scanned images of covers of all dime novels and a selection of serials, which were microfilmed as part of the original NEH project. The collection of images can be browsed and is also fully searchable by keyword, title, series title, and author.
Images of the "one and only" Yellow Kid, original standard bearer of Street & Smith.
See the inner workings of the Street & Smith company as well as images of its founders.
Inventory to the editorial records of the Street & Smith company.
Lists of Radio Scripts
Other Pulp Sites of Interest
There are many other websites devoted to pulp fiction. Here are just a few of them:
- Penny Dreadfuls / Dime Novels: A Digital Representation of the Special Collection of Penny Dreadfuls/Dime Novels at Stanford
- The Shadow: A short radio history, including sound clips.
- Harry Stephen Keeler Society: Dedicated to the works of Keeler, who wrote pulps and other unusual prose.
- Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection: Michigan State University Libraries' popular culture collections.
- Browne Popular Culture Library, Bowling Green State University: Dedicated exclusively to the acquisition and preservation of primary research materials on 19th and 20th century American popular culture.