Our latest Project Gutenberg release, by way of Distributed Proofreaders, is a juvenile dime novel: Under the Polar Star; or, The Young Explorers, by Dwight Weldon, which was published as the third issue of Albert Sibley & Co.’s Golden Library.
The book follows the adventures of Will Bertram, a hard-working boy of modest means who goes through a series of adventures while trying to earn money to help his struggling family. These include a wilderness trek to catch animals for the circus, and a perilous trip through the polar region alluded to by the title.
An advertisement for the Golden Library series claimed that:
“The press, the pulpit, the parents and the general public cry out for bright, pure and attractive reading for boys and girls. Juvenile literature of the demoralizing kind only has heretofore been sold on the news-stands at cheap prices. The GOLDEN LIBRARY comes to the rescue of a long-suffering community. Its pages are full of interest, the stories are original, full of fire and brave endeavor for the right. It is not a goody-goody Sunday-school series. It will not cater to cant, hypocrisy, or violence of any kind. It is for the right, the bright, the pure, the honest, first, last, and all the time. It has no other mission than to supplant the bad with something good that shall be equally as attracting to the young of both sexes and of all conditions.”
While hyperbolic, this is actually a fairly accurate representation of the book’s content, which wraps a message about hard work and honesty (which parents would have approved of) in an illustrated package of fast-paced adventure (which dime-novel-loving children would likely have happily consumed without complaint).
If you feel that you belong among “the right, the bright, the pure, [and] the honest,” you can give the story a try for yourself at Project Gutenberg, where it is available for online reading and download in popular eBook formats.
0 Comments »
No comments yet.