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Haldeman-Julius and "Little Blue Books"

Emanuel Julius was born in Philadelphia on July 30th, 1889 to Russian-Jewish parents.  As a young man, Emanuel worked for various newspapers and in 1915 was invited to work for “The Appeal to Reason” in Girard, Kansas.  There he married Marcet Haldeman, and in 1919 they purchased “The Appeal to Reason,” whose circulation was declining.  After purchasing the newspaper, they decided to instead print 3.5 x 5-inch pocket books on cheap pulp paper.  These were eventually named “The Little Blue Books.”  They sold for 5 to 10 cents each and by the late 1920s sold millions of copies in book stores, toy shops, drug stores, and from vending machines in bus and railway stations.  300 to 500 million copies were sold in the series' lifetime earning Haldeman-Julius the title “the Henry Ford of Literature.”  The books covered Western and American classics, how-to manuals, advice, history, and art, but also pushed the limits of societal norms by including more controversial topics such as sex, homosexuality, socialism, and agnostic and atheistic viewpoints.  This led to investigations and harassment by the FBI, and Julius’ eventual suicide in 1951.

Marcet Haldeman and Emanuel Julius

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