‘Friends Of Historic Girard’ Host Little Blue Book Festival

Terri Harley of ‘Friends Of Girard” joins KRPS’s Morning Edition
Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, ca. 1923-24. From the Haldeman-Julius family collection. (This photograph also appeared in McClure’s in August, 1924.)

In these modern times it might be hard to believe that among the cornfields and mining widely seen throughout Southeast Kansas in 1919 that one of the countries most influential Socialist publishers settled in the area. Terri Harley with the group ‘Friends of Historic Girard‘ joined us on a Wednesday Morning Edition on KRPS to talk about the 100th Anniversary of the Little Blue Books and Emanuel Haldeman-Julius. The groups is hosting a two-day festival taking place on Friday July 19 and Saturday July 20 to remember Haldeman-Julius everlasting mark on Southeast Kansas history.

A Collection of Little Blue Books

Little Blues Books were introduced by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius a atheist-Jewish, socialist, newspaper publisher in 1919 after he purchased publishing house in Girard, Kansas. Haldeman-Julius was not a native Kansan. Far from it, as he was born to Jewish parents in 1889 who fled to the US from Odessa, which was then part of the Russian Empire to escape religious persecution. The Julius family would eventually settle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His Father was a book binder which lead to books always being around the Haldeman household and Emanuel becoming a heavy reader.

The Haldeman-Julius house is located at 310 N Sinnett Avenue in Girard

Haldeman-Julius got his start in publishing working for various newspapers on the East Coast but he rose to prominence during a 7-year stretch between 1915-1922 while editor at the socialist newspaper, ‘Appeal To Reason’. During Haldeman-Julius’s time at ‘Appeal’ he would purchase the newspapers printing operation in Girard in 1919 and the start the publication of what he would gone to be known for 100-years later. The early editions of the Little Blue Books costs 25-cents and where yellow or red in color. Similar to the colors of the State Flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. His Little Blue Books, which would go through many name changes throughout the decades would be published from 1919 until 1978.

With such a rich history in Southesast Kansas, ‘The Friends of Historical Girard’ are hosting a two-day event to celebrate the creation and publication of the Little Blue Books. The event is taking place on Friday July 19th at 4 pm and Saturday July 20 starting at 9 am. It is open to the public.

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