Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Emerson Bennett's Dollar Monthly was a monthly magazine of literature and fashion published in Philadelphia in 1860. The magazine was edited by the prolific author of westerns and romance novels Emerson Bennett with John T. Hamelin. Emerson Bennett's Dollar Monthly was published by Bennett & Hamelin at 144 South Third Street in Philadelphia, and printed by Thomas Sinex, at 619 Jayne Street in Philadelphia. After the initial year of publication Bennett withdrew from his editorial duties, and Hamelin remained as the editor of the newly named American Dollar Monthly.
Emerson Bennett was born in 1822 in Massachusetts, and left home at the age of 16 when his father died and his mother remarried. He drifted to various cities and tried different types of work, such as managing a hotel and selling magazine subscriptions, and he began to write. After traveling he settled down variously in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Bennett had his first poem published in 1842 and his first short story in 1843, and by 1880 he had published more than thirty books and hundreds of short stories. His first big success as a writer was the serialization of The Bandits of the Osage: A Western Romance in the Dollar Weekly Commercial in 1847. He married Eliza G. Daly in Philadelphia that same year and they settled in Cincinnati while Bennett continued to write and publish more and more stories. He is best known for his novels The Prairie Flower; or, Adventures in the Far West (1849) and the sequel Leni-Leoti; or Adventures in the Far West (1849), which were both first serialized in The Great West and subsequently published as books (Coulombe).
Bennett successfully wrote formulaic western romances replete with violence, outlaws, romance, maidens, kidnappers, and shootings in the beautiful landscape of the West. He captured the public's attention with his adventure novels of the frontier at a time when the country was fixated on the West and the news of gold in California was about to be an active enticement. His two most popular novels, The Prairie Flower and Leni-Leoti, introduced the Oregon landscape and the founding of Oregon City to fiction readers hungry for stories of western migration (Mills 368). His primary reason for publication was financial rather than artistic, and he did well in the emerging mass market for cheaper editions of genre fiction in the United States. During the 1850's he regularly contributed to The Saturday Evening Post and the New York Ledger. His popularity waned over time; in 1860 he and John L. Hamelin began Emerson Bennett's Dollar Monthly in Philadelphia partly as another outlet for Bennett's work (Coulombe). Bennett only remained involved for one year, and again in 1879 he began another journal, Emerson Bennett's Weekly: The Great Literary Paper of the Age, which only lasted twenty weeks. Bennett passed away in 1905 in Philadelphia.
This collection consists of volume 1 of Emerson Bennett's Dollar Monthly bound in a single volume, dating from January to December of 1860. The magazine contains short stories, poems, articles, illustrated plates, cartoons, needle and fancy-work patterns, and regular columns. Commencing with the second issue, each issue begins with a full-page illustrated plate of women's fashion for the month, followed by three full-page illustrated plates of sewing patterns, and each issue ends with a full-page cartoon. Every issue concludes with comments from the Editorial Department, and several other regular columns follow, such as Lady's Work-Table (instructions to accompany the needle and fancy-work patterns), Our Book Table (book reviews), The Passing World (news and obituaries), Our Portfolio (short anecdotes and jokes), Our Omnium Gatherum (miscellaneous), Notices of the Presses, Evening Pastimes (games and riddles), or Housekeeping Department (recipes and home remedies).
This volume contains a long serialized piece by Bennett, The Mountain Lily; or, Adventures in the Wilderness: A Companion to "Prairie Flower", which appears in every issue. Other stories and poems by Bennett and Hamelin appear, as well as by writers Wesley Bradshaw, S. Annie Frost, Lavinia S. Goodwin, Marie T. Hamelin, Belle Bush, and others. Nonfiction pieces cover historical topics ranging from Shakespeare, Ninevah, and Balzac; to scientific questions on earthquakes, the cause of cold feet, or where wood comes from; and lifestyle topics such as beauty, marital relationships, and the benefits of living systematically. Quarterly the magazine features a piece on the present season by Benjamin H. Taylor, discussing the weather, flora, and astronomical event of the season, accompanied by a seasonal poem and botanical illustration. There are no advertisements in the magazine, except for several announcements for new schools or other endeavors in the Editorial Department section. The magazine is illustrated throughout, though only full-page plates are listed in the "Illustration" series of the finding aid. The title page illustration and many of the other plates are by the Philadelphia engraver Hugo Sebald.
The collection is arranged into seven series: "Stories," "Poems," "Articles and Essays," "Columns," "Plays," "Music," and "Illustrations." The pieces are arranged in the order they appear in the issues and chronologically within each series.
Gift of Mrs. I. J. Schwatt, with a bookplate of the Library of the University of Pennsylvania on the front pastedown with the donor's name. Also with the ownership stamp of Edwin F. Roberts, Folcroft, Del. Co., PA. at the head of the front pastedown and the inscription of S[...] Kirkpatrick in pencil on the front free endpaper.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.