No -- John Hanson Beadle (1840-1897) was not a Mormon-hating purveyor of lurid 19th century penny dreadfuls. And, no, he was not "the dime novelist whose works have filled the minds of so many youths throughout the country with those soul-destroying sentiments, that cause them to blossom in the sphere of villainy." -- Such fraudulent fluff may have helped to sooth the apprehensions of Deseret News patrons who in 1883 belatedly turned to LDS Apostle George Q. Cannon (the executive director of the newspaper's editorial column) for reassuring counsel, after hearing talk of some Gentile's publication of the "Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism." Such an editorial hit job on a prominent national journalist may have played well in Utah Territory and in her adjacent satellite colonies. But it served no purpose in honestly identifying Mr. Beadle or in properly responding to his many published statements regarding that territory's people and their leaders.
Again, the Mr. Beadle cited by the Deseret News on Dec. 5, 1883 was not one of the New York Beadle brothers who published popular fiction throughout the late 19th century. The garish masthead placed atop this page is there for a different reason -- to draw attention to the longstanding equivocal nature of Mr. Beadle's reputation as a reporter living and writing among the Mormons. Was Beadle, as historian Orson F. Whitney said in 1893 (and again in 1916) characterized as a "notorious dime-novel romancer" and a writer "of dime novel notoriety" anywhere outside of the Mormon community? Or was that sectarian disparagement something unique to Latter Day Saint polemicists and apologists?
This set of web pages is devoted a better understanding of the life and times of John Hanson Beadle. Through the information thus provided an attempt will be made to offer some alternative views of the man and his work. Hopefully a composite picture, developed from dozens of diverse historical sources, can thus be obtained, providing a more accurate view than the portrayals published by Apostle Cannon and Historian Whitney.
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