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English and American Literature in Library Special Collections

Online Archive of California (OAC)

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Popular Literature and Printed Materials

Reading matter that reflects popular culture and the history and marketing of printing has been collected.

Resources and search strategies

  • There is a collection of Tauchnitz Editions, the first paperback line, which was sold at European railroad stations, followed by yellowback thrillers, dime novels, pulp magazines, and the paperback. There is also a collection of Little Blue Books published by Haldeman-Julius (ca. 1929-40).
  • Pulp magazine collections represent most popular genres: detective, mystery, romance, science fiction, and western. Examples of longer runs include Black Mask, Dime Detective Magazine, Weird Tales, and Wild West Magazine. Also noteworthy is the Nitka Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and a collection of first issues of comic books. There are American paperback novels from 1880 to date and books and papers of writers, Horace McCoy and Jim Thompson to name two, who were often apprenticed in pulp magazines and published in paperback.
  • Mystery novelists Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, and Michael Nava.
  • Western novelists Max Brand, Henry Allen, and Alan Lemay
  • Action/adventure novelist Donald Hamilton
  • A New and Complete Collection of Interesting Romances and Novels - True and perfect love, by Athenagoras.--Almahida; of the queen in bondage, by Mademoiselle de Scudery.--Adventures of Prince Abdulselam and Princess Chelnissa.--History of the amours of Eurialus and Lucretia, by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini.--Larissa, by Theophilus Viaut.--Historical  romance.--History of Claris and Laris.--History of Tristan.--Caramanta, by Madame de Villedieu.--Secret history and love adventures of the ladies of antiquity, viz.: Iö; Dio; Cybele; Venus.--Passing-fair, by Mademoiselle de la Force.--History of Catharine of Braganza.--Denisa.
  • Betty Rosenberg Collection of Genre Literature includes a wide variety of genres
  • Other popular literature includes American almanacs (ca. 1730-1880), English chapbooks (ca. 1775-1850), American hymnals (ca. 1760-1870), English and American broadside ballads (ca. 1780-1980), and American songsters (ca. 1820-1900), with an emphasis on California.