Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The History of DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP

Some of you might know the periodical DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP, either because you are subscribers or you've seen it referenced in other places such as web sites, bibliographies or scholarly periodicalS. The DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP is a highly respected monthly collection of articles on dime novels, and pulp magazines are also covered frequently in articles and book reviews. If I'm not mistaken, the DNRU, which was formed in 1931, is the oldest periodical of its kind. The Reference Shelf features a book reviehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifw every month, and a summary of the newest books received.

This summer at PulpFest I had the pleasure of meeting Randy Cox, the editor of the DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP, who is the gentleman on the right in the photo below. Randy was kind enough to send me a history of Dime Novel Round Up recently and here it is.

I know I have always enjoyed receiving the monthly issues. If you're interesting in subscribing, Randy's information is at the bottom of this post. If you're doing any research on dime novels and/or pulp magazines, go to this Index, which lists all articles back to 1970


History of Dime Novel Round-Up

by Randy Cox

Once upon a time there was a group of men, collectors of dime novels, who met on occasion to share their enthusiasm for the little books. From time to time they would also show off their collections, especially when they were meeting at the home of one of the collectors who had something new to brag about. Since most of the collectors lived in New England they frequently met at the home of collector and dealer Ralph F. Cummings of Grafton, Mass.

One day one of them suggested they form a club to solidify their efforts. That was the beginning of what came to be known as the Happy Hours Brotherhood since all of them could remember spending happy hours as boys reading and swapping dime novels, five-cent weeklies and issues of story papers. Once that was settled, someone decided they ought to publish a magazine as a forum for the collectors to exchange lists of wants and offers. And thus, in January 1931, the first issue of Dime Novel Round-Up was printed and mailed to the members of the Brotherhood. Ralph Cummings, who called himself “Reckless Ralph” after a pseudonym used on a story paper serial, was appointed editor.

Those first issues were slim, sometimes only four pages in length, with an article on the front page and the rest of the pages devoted to ads placed by collectors. As time went on, the issues began to attract more and longer articles devoted to authors, series characters, collecting and other subjects of interest. When fewer and fewer readers came from the rank of those who remembered the dime novels they had bought and read as boys the magazine started publishing articles about cloth bound series books and pulp magazines.

After 20 years as editor, Ralph Cummings turned the magazine over to Eddie LeBlanc who edited it for about 40 years. It was Eddie who introduced the feature called “Dime Novel Sketches” that described various series in detail such as the number of issues and the names of authors who appeared in its issues. He also published lists of the titles that made up each series: Boys of New York, Wide Awake Library, Diamond Dick Library, and so forth. To this day the December issue is devoted to a bibliography, sometimes a list of the contents of a specific series, sometimes lists of stories by specific writers or about specific heroes. Occasional articles are written by academics, but most of them are still by collectors and fans that want to share their enthusiasms.

We have published articles about Old Sleuth, the first series detective in dime novels, about the Buffalo Bill stories written by Ned Buntline (there weren’t as many as you may think), about Laura Jean Libbey, a prolific romance writer who knew how to advertise to market her stories, about John Paul Jones, hero of the American Revolution, about Nick Carter longest-lived detective next to Sherlock Holmes, and many more.

Go to www.readseries.com/dnru.html for the tables of contents of issues back to 1970. At the bottom of that page is information on how to subscribe to the longest running publication devoted to a specific topic in popular culture.

Randy Cox
Editor

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6 comments:

Deka Black said...

Wow... this is just something astounding. Since 1931. Come on, a litte more and you can celebrate the 100th birthday!

Walker Martin said...

I've been a subscriber to the DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP for around 40 years or so. The last time I looked my membership number was 12, which is alot lower than the number 400 that I started off with back in the early seventies.

Subscription rates are very low, only $20 for a year. I have the back issues going back to 1931, over 700 of them.

At first when you hear the term "The Happy Hour Brotherhood", it sounds kind of corny but you know what, it still describes the thrill and enjoyment that I get out of a good book or story.

Some of happiest hours have indeed been spent reading SF, mystery, western, adventure, and mainstream fiction.

Walker Martin said...

By the way, the man to the left of Randy Cox is John Wooley who has written about the pulps many times. In this year alone he has published at least 3 books:

Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5
Wes Craven
Shot in Oklahoma

Laurie Powers said...

Oh thank you Walker. I knew his first name was John, but couldn't remember the last name.

Joe Rainone said...

Thanks to Randy I have all the DNRU..and have refered to them over and over again....they are fantastic!
And, thank you Randy for all your hard work....I am happy to be a member for a good many years now...and do hope the DNRU will continue and even grow grow again! There is still so much great Popular fiction story to tell! And what a story it is! ;)
Joe Rainone

Camille Cazedessus said...

I will always remember the deliberate ignorance that DNR proved to all it's readers many years ago. On p. 3 of "The Year's Work in Dime Novels, Series Books and Pulp Magazines 1996" they list 17 "fanzines"
from "Burroughs Bulletin, Bronze Gazette, High Adventure, Echoes, Pulp Adventure, etc." but NOT The Fantastic Collectors published by me during 1996: Nos. 257, 258, 259, 260 and 261. Long ago, but I remember. (FC evolved into PULPDOM in Jan. 1997, and went on to publish 75 issues, and still exists on line at Pulpdom.com)