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eBook available: Husks

HusksOur latest completed Distributed Proofreaders project is Husks, by Marion Harland (a pseudonym of Mary Virginia Terhune). This edition of the book comes from F. M. Lupton’s Arm Chair Library, the same series that provided our earlier release, Averil. Like that earlier title, Husks focuses on the inner lives of its characters rather than dime novel sensationalism, telling a sad tale of love gone horribly wrong. Of course, the tragedy is designed to offer some lessons to its readers, and the author is not always shy about editorializing on society’s wrongs. The modern reader is unlikely to agree with all of the author’s conclusions, but some of the situations remain resonant, and some of the authorial asides are, at least, amusing to read.

The entire book is now available for online reading or download from Project Gutenberg.



Available for proofreading: The Spider and the Fly

The Spider and the FlyLast year, we released an eBook of Wild Margaret, a novel written by once-popular novelist Charles Garvice. Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project is another work by the prolific British writer: The Spider and the Fly; or, An Undesired Love (sometimes also known simply as Violet).

To help create a new electronic edition of this forgotten novel, first read this earlier blog post and then join in the work at the project page.


eBook available: Motor Matt’s Peril

Motor Matt's PerilIn our latest Distributed Proofreaders release, the Motor Stories saga continues with its twelfth adventure: Motor Matt’s Peril; or, Cast Away in the Bahamas. In this adventure, Motor Matt and his friends run an air ship show in Atlantic City but soon find themselves sidetracked by an adventure involving a treasure map and a submarine. The volume is rounded out with a handful of brief, randomly selected non-fiction pieces covering such topics as hunting, gum collecting and willow farming.

The entire book can be read online or downloaded in electronic formats through Project Gutenberg. Images of the original source material can also be viewed in our Digital Library.


Now in proofreading: Laurel Vane

Laurel VaneAnother Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller novel from our collection is available for proofreading on the Distributed Proofreaders site. Laurel Vane; or, The Girls’ Conspiracy was first serialized in the Fireside Companion during 1883 and was later reprinted in book form. The author apparently enjoyed this novel enough to make reference to it in one of her later works; in Pretty Geraldine, the New York Salesgirl, some of the characters stage a play based on Laurel Vane.

You can learn more about the proofreading process from this earlier post; when you are ready to join in, you can help with the work at the project page.


eBook available: Motor Matt’s Daring Rescue

Motor Matt's Daring RescueThe eleventh adventure from the Motor Stories series is available on Project Gutenberg today thanks to the efforts of the Distributed Proofreaders project and images provided by our Digital Library.

In Motor Matt’s Daring Rescue; or, The Strange Case of Helen Brady, Helen Brady has disappeared, and Motor Matt needs to join forces with an unlikely ally to help restore her freedom. The issue is filled out with “A Fall to Fortune,” a highly improbable tale of a balloon demonstration gone wrong (and then right).

The entire book can now be read online or downloaded from Project Gutenberg.


eBook available: Averil

AverilToday’s eBook release, Averil by Rosa Nouchette Carey, is one of countless British novels that reached American audiences through inexpensive (and frequently unauthorized) paper-covered editions. The text of the new electronic edition comes from one such series of reprints, F. M. Lupton’s Arm Chair Library.

While these cheap editions often resemble their contemporaries, the dime novels, their content is often less sensational. That is certainly the case for Averil, which, despite a few dramatic incidents, is primarily a quiet tale about a sickly, spiritual woman who tries to befriend an orphaned cousin and aid the poor while being taken advantage of by selfish relatives.

The entire text of the book may now be read online (or downloaded in common electronic formats) through Project Gutenberg.


Available for proofreading: The Curse of Pocahontas

The Curse of PocahontasOur latest title to enter the Distributed Proofreaders project for conversion into an eBook is Wenona Gilman’s The Curse of Pocahontas, another story paper melodrama collected in book form. Wenona Gilman was a pseudonym used by Mrs. Florence Blackburn (White) Schoeffel, a contemporary of writers like Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller and Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

You can participate in the preparation of a new electronic edition of the book; for more details, read this previous post, then join in at the project page.


Content Roundup – Last Week – January 2015

Front cover story, Ardmore Chronicle - Volume XXVII, No. 43, Saturday, July 29, 1916

Front cover story, Ardmore Chronicle – Volume XXVII, No. 43, Saturday, July 29, 1916

The wait is over; this week the last 5 binders of the digitized Edward T. LeBlanc Dime Novel Memorial Bibliography files were added, making the entire work now accessible to scholars and researchers. Meanwhile, work continues at Dimenovels.org on transforming, verifying, linking, and adding to these entries to complete the largest and most complete bibliography of Dime Novels broadly considered to include story papers, thick backs, nickel and dime weeklies, non-fiction works, both in the domestic US, as well with selective international coverage. A host of other new materials join these LeBlanc files, including the integrated complete Audiobook version of the podcast reading of the Bride of the Tomb. Joining this podcast is another audio offering, this from 1979, the Tin Whistle Workshop, from the Philadelphia Ceili Group. As well, check out some of the other newspaper issues, and storypaper and dime novels available. We haven’t jumped the shark just yet!

Catholica Collection


Front cover, The Catholic Standard and Times, Saturday, November 7, 1914

Front cover, The Catholic Standard and Times, Saturday, November 7, 1914

The Catholic Standard and Times (1914: 11 issues added)

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


The Red cross girls on the French firing line / by Margaret Vandercook


Out of the Triangle: a story of the Far East and other stories / by Mary E. Bamford

Paratextual Materials


Letter, To: Robert Bonner From: Laura Jean Libbey, October 11, 1886


Front cover, Comfort, v. XIX, no. 7, May 1907

Front cover, Comfort, v. XIX, no. 7, May 1907

Comfort (10 issues added)

Home Circle (1872: 5 issues added)

Front cover, rank Leslie's Chimney Corner, v. XXV, no. 649, November 3, 1877

Front cover, rank Leslie’s Chimney Corner, v. XXV, no. 649, November 3, 1877

Chimney Corner

(v. 24: 1 issue added)

(v. 25: 9 issues added)


LeBlanc Bibliography (5 more binders added – now complete!):

The Spare Change Library Podcast

The Bride of the Tomb, complete audiobook

Joseph McGarrity Collection


Front cover, Deutsche Warschauer Zeitung, nr. 76, Friday, March 17, 1916

Front cover, Deutsche Warschauer Zeitung, nr. 76, Friday, March 17, 1916

Deutsche Warschauer Zeitung (84 issues added: collection complete)

Historical Society of Montgomery County

Ardmore Chronicle (1916: 6 issues added)

Philadelphia Ceili Group

Tin Whistle Workshop

Roman Catholic High School Alumni Association

Journals, Newspapers, and Yearbooks

The Catholic High School Journal (1898: 3 issues added)

Villanova Digital Collection


Villanova Campus (Aerial view), 1950

From p. 292, Frank Leslie's Chimney Corner, v. XXV, no. 642, September 15, 1877.

From p. 292, Frank Leslie’s Chimney Corner, v. XXV, no. 642, September 15, 1877.


eBook available: Old Broadbrim Into the Heart of Australia

Old Broadbrim into the Heart of AustraliaThis week’s eBook release (completed with the help of the Distributed Proofreaders project) is Old Broadbrim Into the Heart of Australia, the thirty-second issue of Old Broadbrim Weekly, a publication chronicling the adventures of a Quaker detective. In this particular adventure, Old Broadbrim tracks a villain all the way to Australia while investigating a pair of murders.

Unlike many dime novels, which tend to be filled with exaggerated dialect and broad stereotypes, this adventure is a bit unusual for portraying all of its characters very similarly. Everyone speaks fairly formally (even the Australian Aborigine), with the only verbal tic being Old Broadbrim’s occasional use of “thee” and “thy.” Men and women alike engage in fights, commit murders and find themselves controlled by one another. This is not to say that Old Broadbrim offers a Utopian view of human equality (there’s far too much death and insanity for that), but it does subvert expectations.

One might also be curious about how a Quaker detective differs from any other sort of detective. The answer, at least for this book, is hardly at all. Apart from the aforementioned “thees” and “thys,” Old Broadbrim acts like any other dime novel detective, shooting people, drinking alcohol and hoping to place his quarry on the end of a rope.

If you are interested in reading the whole book for yourself, you can find it on Project Gutenberg, where it may be read online or downloaded in various common eBook formats.


eBook available: Motor Matt’s Hard Luck

Motor Matt's Hard LuckThe tenth issue of Motor Stories is now available on Project Gutenberg thanks to our collaboration with Distributed Proofreaders. Motor Matt’s Hard Luck picks up right where Motor Matt’s Air Ship left off, with Motor Matt continuing his career as an air-ship pilot and foiling the plans of the evil Brady gang.

As usual, the main adventure is followed by a short filler story; this time, it’s “The Red Spider,” a Western adventure involving a plot to manipulate the stock market by damming a river.

The entire book can be read online or downloaded in eBook format at Project Gutenberg.

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Last Modified: January 16, 2015