Friday, August 21, 2009

Charles Peace XI

Charles Peace Update :

Thanks to my good friend Nick McBride, in the UK, I can add another publication to the many featuring stories of that marvellous malefactor Charles Peace.

The New ALDINE HALF-HOLIDAY Library, complete stories of adventure

“Has 355,000 Readers Weekly,” Aldine Publishing Company Ltd. 1, 2 & 3 Crown Court, Chancery Lane, London, W.C. One Penny. By post: 3s 4d for six months. 6s 8d for twelve.


Being the Life History of Charles Peace

by Tristram K. Monck

Author of “Peril of the Ocean,” “At Bay with the World,” “Under the Black

Flag,” “Britain at Bay,” “In the Wake of the Armada,” etc, etc

766: 1 - Foreword and Peace’s First Burglary (pps 13-18) May 23 1907

767: 2 - The Bradford Burglar (pps 12-19) May 30 1907 etc

769: 3 - The Sheffield Burglar (pps 12-18)

770: 4 - The Diamond Necklace (pps 12-18)

772: 5 - Charles Peace’s Revenge (pps 1-8)

773: 6 - Birds of a Feather (pps 1-10)

774: 7 - At Bay (pps 1-10+?? missing pages 11 onwards)

776: 8 - A Winning Hand (pps 1-13)

777: 9 - A Race for Freedom (pps 1-7)

778: 10 - Gripped by Flame (pps 1-8)

780: 11 - The Sliding Door (pps 1-7)

782: 12 (missing this the final part)

No Peace in 768, 771, 775, 779, 781.

Volume I No,1 of the Aldine Half-Holiday Library was published on September 12, 1893 and ran to No. 904, January 13, 1910. It promised a “24 page complete adventure every week.” Two known contributors were Charles Edward Pearce and Ogilvie Mitchell. The editor may have been Walter Herrod Light who edited a companion paper True Blue Library begun January 15, 1898. True Blue shared the same authors.

I was surprised to find a fictional reworking of a true-life criminal in Aldine Half-Holiday Library. The usual adventures in this publication came from the American dime novels. Stanford’s dime-novel site has images for two such titles, Lion-Hearted Dick and The Submarine Detectives. However, a photo from a bound volume on Ebay showed a serial of Jack Sheppard (no illustrations) so the Half-Holiday must have been a mix of British authors and American reprints.

The Aldine Printing and Publishing Company, last of the penny dreadful publishers was founded by Charles Perry Brown (1834-1916) and ran from 1886 until the early 1930’s. they specialized in reprints of dime novels featuring Buffalo Bill, Deadwood Dick and Frank Reade Jr. Brown’s introduction into the penny dreadful field was as editor of the Boy’s Journal (Jan. 1863-February 1871) published by Henry Vickers. According to the Waterloo Directory this story paper came with separate plates on toned paper from artist Huard Prowse who must have been a relation of Robert Prowse the elder.

Nick says of the cover pictured above : “Although I can’t confirm this, the illustrator may well be a Rex Osborn, as in one issue, the editor offers a prize for someone who can display a poster of Charles Peace on a prominent building ‘for no less than three days.’ This poster is by Rex Osborn.”

To this I can add that the masthead is initialled R. P. ‘06, no doubt that this was by Robert Prowse Jr., a frequent cover illustrator for the digest-sized Robin Hood, Black Bess, Jack Sheppard, Claud Duval, Blackbeard the Pirate and Spring-Heeled Jack Libraries published by Aldine in the 1900’s. Thanks Nick, your time and effort is greatly appreciated.

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