- E. Haldeman-Julius
He was born in
Philadelphiathe son of a bookbinder. His parents were Jewish emigrants who fled Russiaand immigrated to America to escape religious persecution. Susan Jacoby, "Freethinkers: a history of American secularism" (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004), 264. ISBN 0-8050-7776-6.]
As a boy, Emanuel, too, was harassed for being Jewish, resulting in a disdain for all religion as an adult. After leaving school at the age of 15, he worked at a variety of menial jobs. All the while, he read voraciously. Because literature and pamphlets produced by the socialists were inexpensive, Julius read them and became convinced of their truth. [ [http://www.kshs.org/portraits/haldeman_julius_marcet_and_emanuel.htm] ] He joined the
Socialist Partybefore World War I.
Haldeman-Julius is most noted as the editor of "
Appeal to Reason", a socialist newspaperwith a large national circulation that was mentioned, among other places, in the Jack Londonnovel " The Iron Heel", and later for publishing the Little Blue Books(mentioned by Louis L'Amourin his autobiography "Education of a Wandering Man").
Along with his wife, Marcet (whose last name he adopted in hyphenate), Julius was an activist who published
muckrakingnewspapers until he came upon the idea of publishing cheaply-printed classic literature for the masses. He opened a printing house in Girard, Kansas, and printed these books on cheap pulp paper (similar to that used in pulp magazines), stapled and bound with a plain (usually) yellow paper cover. They were first sold in 1919 for as little as 5 cents. Many titles of classic literature were given lurid titles in order to increase sales. Eventually, many thousands of copies per year were sold and were popular with the so-called "drifters" of the 1920s to the 1950s. Haldeman-Julius and his wife became wealthy from the venture but later divorced.
E. Haldeman-Julius drowned in his
swimming poolin 1951. The books continued to be sold from existing stock until the printing house burned down in 1978.
* Haldeman-Julius, E. "The Militant Agnostic". Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995. (Orig. pub. 1926.)
* Haldeman-Julius, Emanuel. "The World of Haldeman-Julius". Compiled by Albert Mordell. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1960.
* Burnett, Betty. "Haldeman-Julius, Emanuel." "American National Biography". Ed. John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
* [http://www.believermag.com/issues/200809/?read=article_potts] Rolf Potts on E. Haldeman-Julius in The Believer
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