Publisher for the Masses, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius


Publisher for the Masses, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius

R. Alton Lee

280 pages
9 photographs, 1 appendix, index


February 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

February 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

February 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

His admirers called him the “Barnum of Books” and the “Voltaire of Kansas” because of his ability to bring culture and education to the people.

R. Alton Lee brings to life Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (1889–1951), a writer-publisher-entrepreneur who was one of America’s most significant publishers and editorialists of the twentieth century. His company published a record 500,000,000 copies of 2,580 titles and was second only to the U.S. Government Printing Office in the quantity of publications it produced. Lee details Haldeman-Julius’s family origins in Russia and his formative years in Philadelphia, where he learned the book trade. As a writer and editor for the Social Democrat, Sunday Call, and Western Comrade, Haldeman-Julius was already well known by the time he launched his own publishing company. Haldeman-Julius knew, was nurtured by, and published writers such as Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Jane Addams, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Carl Sandburg, Eugene V. Debs, Clarence Darrow, Job Harriman, Will Durant, and Bertrand Russell, among others.

Based in Girard, Kansas, his company, Haldeman-Julius Publications, covered socialist politics, the philosophy of free thought, and both new and classic books marketed to ordinary Americans, including the Little Blue Book series of classics in Western thought and literature.         

This biography of the enigmatic and energetic Haldeman-Julius opens a window into the fascinating world of early twentieth-century radical politics and publishing.

Author Bio

R. Alton Lee is a professor emeritus of history at the University of South Dakota. He is the author of several books, including Sunflower Justice: A New History of the Kansas Supreme Court (Nebraska, 2014), From Snake Oil to Medicine: Pioneering Public Health, and Farmers vs. Wage Earners: Organized Labor in Kansas, 1860–1960 (Nebraska, 2006).


"R. Alton Lee has done Kansas and American literature a great service with a well-written, thorough biography of a man whose story should be more widely known."—Fred Whitehead, Kansas History

"Lee’s primary scholarly contribution lies in bringing this remarkable and largely overlooked publishing history to our attention. Haldeman- Julius made Girard, Kansas, into an important and distinctive center of American publishing."—James J. Connolly, Middle West Review

"Lee has called out for Haldeman-Julius's recognition, preserving his memory in both narrative detail and an easily referenced guide. Emanuel Haldeman-Julius's legacy should not be lost to history; Lee's biography is a valuable tribute to assure this does not occur."—Brianna Panzica, Publishing Research Quarterly

"Lee's work shines a light on a little-known yet prolific radical American publisher whose career flourished in the first half of the twentieth century in the unlikeliest of places."—Landry Brewer, Chronicles of Oklahoma

“Emanuel Haldeman-Julius was acquainted with an extraordinary number of important American writers and activists, and his life offers an interesting window into the world of early twentieth-century radical politics and publishing. . . . This book makes America during that period, at least on the socialist end of the political spectrum, seem like a small village.”—Peter Richardson, author of A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of “Ramparts” Magazine Changed America

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: Odessa to Fin de Siecle Philadelphia 
1. Forces That Shaped Him
2. The Beckoning World
3. Girard, Kansas
4. Little Blue Books
5. A Cornucopia of Books and Events
6. The Great Depression
7. Resurrection

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