Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

Welcome to the Hess collection

The Hess Collection holds primarily inexpensive, popular literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as story papers, dime novels, series books, Big Little Books, pulps, and comic books. Some popular items include Beadle’s Dime Novels, The Boys of New York, The Seaside Library, and Alger series books. Housed as part of Archives and Special Collections within the Children's Literature Research Collections (CLRC) at the University of Minnesota Libraries, items from the Hess Collection are non-circulating. However, arrangements can be made for duplication. Many of the collection items are in the public domain.

The Hess Collection interests students, scholars, and collectors engaged in a wide range of historical and literary research. The collection is cataloged and its contents are searchable via the University of Minnesota's online catalog. Items in the Hess Collection display as "TC Andersen Children's Lit (Hess) Non-Circulating." The Hess Collection contains approximately 100,000 items, making it one of the largest pulp collections in North America.

George Hess (1873-1954) grew up reading dime novels, but discarded them when he grew older. As an adult his interest was rekindled in 19th and 20th century popular fiction and he began collecting. Hess always hoped to find one of the dime novels he had owned and inscribed as a child, but he never did. George Hess did manage to amass an amazing collection of more than 50,000 items including dime novels, story papers, series books, pulps and comic books. The Hess Collection was given to the University of Minnesota following Hess' death in 1954.

For more information on the types of materials in the Hess collection, including research resources, visit our LibGuide on dime novels, story papers, series books, and pulps.




 (Norman L. Munro & Co., 1875-1894)

Boys of New York: (Norman L. Munro & Co., 1875-1894)

 (Cupples & Leon Co., 1917)

Ruth Fielding at College: (Cupples & Leon Co., 1917)

 (Amalgamated Press, 1935)

The Man with Two Souls: (Amalgamated Press, 1935)