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Haldeman-Julius, E. (Emanuel), 1888-1951 (1889-1951) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Haldeman-Julius, E. (Emanuel), 1888-1951 (1889-1951)


Historical Note:

Emanuel Julius was born July 30,1889 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian immigrants and upon arriving in the United States had to change their surname from Zalujetzski to Julius, which was easier to pronounce. Emanuel's father was a book binder but was unable to provide enough for the family thus, at age 13, Emanuel was forced to quit school in order to work. After he quit school Emanuel worked in a toy factory (a sweat shop) making only three dollars a week. After that he held many odd jobs including: usher in a theater; bellhop in a private school for girls in Terrytown, New York; and, occasionally, boxing.

Emanuel enjoyed school and he decided to enroll in night classes at Brown Prep School while working. However, due to trouble with algebra and Latin, he quit Brown and enrolled in night school at a local high school. Emanuel soon decided he wanted to publish books that were affordable for most people. This interest lead to jobs in the journalism industry. He worked for the Milwaukee Leader; Philadelphia Daily as a copy reader; Daily Leader as a feature writer and City Hall reporter in Milwaukee; Chicago Evening World as courtroom and police reporter until 1912; Western Comrade in Los Angeles as a copy writer; New York Call as Sunday editor and dramatic critic from 1914-1915; and Appeal to Reason as editor in 1918.

Emanuel's first publication, "Mark Twain-Radical," appeared in The International Social Review. He also had his own monthly publication called American Freedom as well as his own magazine, Life and Letters. He wrote two autobiographies, My First 25 Years (published in 1949), and My Second 25 Years (also published in 1949). On June 1, 1916, Emanuel married his first wife, Marcet Haldeman, and the two decided to legally combine their names to Haldeman-Julius, the name that Emanuel became famous under. The two bought the Appeal's printing factory and together their publishing industry flourished and many pieces they wrote were published by their company. Emanuel became famous for the books that he published. First called the "Appeal Pocket Series", then the "People's Pocket Series" and, finally, the "Little Blue Books", the name for which they are best known.

These books sold for five to twenty-five cents and were considered a university in writing owing to the classical literature printed within the pages of these pocket books. They enabled those with little money to afford such classics as Shakespeare and Voltaire which they might otherwise have not been able to read. The title of the first publication in the blue book series,"The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" was published in 1919. Emanuel's dream had been realized and, not only were these books popular in the United States, they had appeal throughout the world.

Emanuel died July 31, 1951 at his home in Girard, Kansas. He was found drowned in his own swimming pool by his second wife of nine years, Sue Haldeman-Julius. Suspicion surrounded his death and rumors of involvement by J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I. spread because of Emanuel's socialist beliefs and his dislike for Hoover and his "tyrannical tactics against perceived enemies". Biographical Information for this sketch was compiled from several Internet sources and the contents of this collection.




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