Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Liberty Boys of ’76

The Liberty Boys of ’76 No. 1 was published by Frank Tousey on 4 January 1901. The last issue was The Liberty Boys of ’76 No. 1273 for May 1925. S. A. D. Cox wrote the first 200 or so novels and was followed by Cecil Burleigh. B. J. Lossing’s Pictorial Fieldbook of the Revolution was used as a reference by the authors.

Philadelphia collector J. Edward Leithead wrote “The Revolutionary War in Dime Novels” for The American Book Collector, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 1963.

“There were about 100 of these Liberty Boys, who, suffering casualties, were always able to fill up their ranks with new recruits, though the latter had to pass a rigid test. Dick Slater was captain of the band and knew that the effectiveness of such a small force lay in its mobility and quick striking power. Mostly they served as infantry, like the regulars of the Continental Line, but occasionally they appeared as cavalrymen or mounted infantry, and Captain Slater always rode a black charger named Major.”

Several real-life personalities appeared in the stories (and on the covers) including General Washington, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, Colonel George Rogers Clark, the Marquis de Lafayette, General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion, Molly Pilcher, Daniel Boone, Simon Girty, and General Benedict Arnold. The long-running series was even filmed in 1916 as The Blue Riders with Rex Archer as Dick Slater.

Mike Saavedra, who supplied the illustrations, writes >

“As a former 18th century reenactor who strove for accuracy down to hand stitching my buttonholes, I find the illustrations amusing. Too clean, too uniform, and the styling is pure 1876 Centennial. They did get the basic background history right most of the time. Stephen Angus Douglas Cox (1865-1944) was a journalist. I think Cecil Burleigh (1850-1921) wrote most of the later numbers. He is better known as “Peter Pad,” “Sam Smiley” and “Tom Teaser” in the comics.”

J. Edward Leithead, of Philadelphia “was a thorough researcher of the West and wrote many novels and novelettes for the Western magazines during the “Golding Era” of the pulps. He was a regular contributor to Edward Leblanc’s Dime Novel Round-Up...”

J. Edward Leithead wrote eleven superbly illustrated articles for The American Book Collector, Arlington Heights, Illinois (1950 to - ?) beginning with “Legendary Heroes and the Dime Novels” Vol. 18, No. 7, 1963. At the end of the tenth article it is reported that Leithead died of a heart attack leaving one article of his left to be published. The last article appeared in the next issue titled “The Klondike Stampede in Dime Novels.”

The Eleven articles in the series are:

“Legendary Heroes and the Dime Novels"”

“The Saga of Young Wild West”

“The Revolutionary War in Dime Novels”

“Tanbark and Spangles in Dime Novels”

“Buffalo Bill Multi-Storied Scout and Plainsman”

“The Outlaws Rode Hard In Dime Novel Days”

“The Diamond Dicks: Frontier Lawmen”

“The Great Detective Team: Old and Young King Brady”

“The Matchless Nick Carter”

“The Civil War in Dime Novels”

“The Klondike Stampede in Dime Novels”

*Stanford has 112 cover images of The Liberty Boys of ’76 HERE

*Project Gutenberg has the etext of The Liberty Boys of ’76 Running the Blockade HERE


  1. 11-12-2012 ~ As a seller on Ebay i want to thank everyone that has shared bits and pieces of the Liberty Yoys of 76 history.. I recently acquired an estate box of these dime novels (that even included the first eidition ) and all the information has been so helpful . thanks for the input . XO Sparkles AKA SPARKLES2NDTIMEAROUND

  2. Demian Katz commented on "The Liberty Boys of ’76" (Sorry, Demian, I accidentally deleted your comment):

    Villanova University has just digitized issue #138 (The Liberty Boys and the Traitor; or, How They Handled Him) here:

    More to come!