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About this collection

In 1919, socialist newspaperman Emanuel Haldeman-Julius purchased the Appeal to Reason, which had been the nation’s leading socialist newspaper in the early 20th century.  He quickly renamed the paper The Haldeman-Julius Weekly, and used the Girard, Kansas location to build his own publishing empire.  His many publications would include his most popular and best-known, the “Little Blue Books.”  These were small, pocket sized pamphlets on myriad subjects, many written by professionals in their fields.  These would sell for five cents each, and the majority of them were printed in the 1920s and 1930s.  In all, nearly 2000 different titles were published.  The success of the “Little Blue Books” led Haldeman-Julius to start another series, called the “Big Blue Books.”  These were larger than the “Little Blue Books,” and would also cover a variety of subjects.  Haldeman-Julius was ahead of his time by printing material deemed at the time lewd (sex education, birth control), anarchistic, socialism, and atheistic. Over one thousand different titles of the “Big Blue Books” were released during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.  Frequently in the crosshairs of the government, Haldeman-Julius was convicted of tax evasion in the early 1950s but died at his Girard, Kansas home before serving his sentence. The digital exhibit features covers and title pages of a sampling of “Big Blue Books” published by Haldeman-Julius. 

 
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