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STORY PAPERS

  • Story papers were illustrated popular newspapers published during the nineteenth century in the United States. They featured serialized fiction, graphic pictures, and other matter meant to attract and entertain readers. Cost per weekly issue varied over time along the range of four to six cents. Circulation reached into the hundreds of thousands. Readership was a mulitple of circulation. The Library's holdings of actual such newspapers are currently spotty, chiefly because of the fact that such were not considered of sufficient merit to be collected by a university library. This attitude changed by the middle of the twentieth century, but collecting thereafter was desultory. Consequently, the Library has volumes of some titles, such as, Gleason's Literary Companion (vol. 5 [1864], 7 [1867], and 8 [1868]), Golden Argosy (vol. 7 [Dec. 1, 1888-May 25, 1889] and vol. 15 [Aug. 27, 1892-Feb. 18, 1893]), Golden Days for Boys and Girls (vol. 1, no. 1 [Mar. 6, 1880]-v. 26 [Mar. 4, 1905] in Annex, plus some vol. in Cotsen), Golden Hours (vol. 1 [1869] in Hamilton Collection), Happy Days, A Paper for Young and Old (vol.1-2, 5-8, 11-18 [1894-1903] plus some other issues for a total of nine bound vol. in Cotsen), and Youth's Companion (vol. 50, no. 1-52 [1877], 58, no. 1-53 [1885], 60, no. 50-52 bound with vol. 61, no. 1-51 [1888] in Cotsen).
    The Library also has scattered individual issues of particular titles such as Boys of New York (vol. XII, no. 617 [June 11,1887] in Eckel Collection), Happy Days, A Paper for Young and Old (vol. XIX. Nos. 472, 478, 479, and 486 [1903] in Cotsen), The New-York Fireside Companion (vol. xxvii, no. 688 [Jan. 3, 1881] issue), The New York Ledger (issues of 5 Feb. to 9 July, 1859 carrying E.D.E.N. Southworth's "Hidden Hand" story in Eckel Collection], Our Young Folks Illustrated Paper (vol. 1, no. 1 [Oct. 1, 1871] in Eckel Collection), and a few others.
    The Library has examples of publishing ephemera associated with story papers, such as the very large 1871 prospectus broadside for The New York Ledger, self-declared "the great family newspaper," and a color-printed broadside " The Girl Who Reads Sensation Story Papers," published ca. 1891.

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