E. Haldeman-Julius (né Emanuel Julius) (July 30, 1889 – July 31, 1951) was a Jewish-American socialist writer, atheist thinker, social reformer and publisher. He is best remembered as the head of Haldeman-Julius Publications, the creator of a series of pamphlets known as "Little Blue Books," total sales of which ran into the hundreds of millions of copies.
As a boy, Emanuel read voraciously. Because literature and pamphlets produced by the socialists were inexpensive, Julius read them and became convinced of their truth. He joined the Socialist Party before World War I.
Haldeman-Julius rose to prominence as an editor (1915 - 1922), of "Appeal to Reason" a socialist newspaper with a large but declining national circulation. Along with his first wife, Marcet Haldeman (whose last name he adopted in hyphenate), after purchasing the "Appeal"'s printing operation in Girard, Kansas, Haldeman-Julius began printing 3.5" x 5" pocket books on cheap pulp paper (similar to that used in pulp magazines), stapled in paper cover. They were first were called The Appeal's Pocket Series and sold in 1919 for 25 cents. The covers were either red or yellow. Over the next several years Haldeman-Julius changed the name successively to The People's Pocket Series, Appeal Pocket Series, Ten Cent Pocket Series, Five Cent Pocket Series, Pocket Series and finally in 1923, Little Blue Books. The five cent price of the books remained in place for many years. Many titles of classic literature were given lurid titles in order to increase sales. Eventually, millions of copies per year were sold in the late 1920s.
The couple had two children: Alice Haldeman-Julius Deloach (b. 1917 - d. 1991) and Henry Haldeman-Julius (b. 1919) (who later changed his name to Henry Julius Haldeman). They adopted Josephine Haldeman-Julius Roselle (b. 1910). Marcet and Emanuel legally separated in 1934. Marcet died in 1941, and a year later Haldeman-Julius married Susan Haney, an employee.
Death and legacy
In 1948 the FBI questioned Haldeman-Julius after his publication of The FBI - The Basis of an American Police State: The Alarming Methods of J. Edgar Hoover. In June 1951 Haldeman-Julius was found guilty of income tax evasion by a Federal grand jury and sentenced to six months in Federal prison and fined $12,500. The next month he drowned in his swimming pool. His son Henry took over his father's publishing efforts, and the books continued to be sold until the printing house burned down on July 4, 1978.
- The Militant Agnostic. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995. (Orig. pub. 1926.)
- My First Twenty-Five Years. Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1949.
- My Second Twenty-Five Years. Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1949.
- The World of Haldeman-Julius. Compiled by Albert Mordell. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1960.
- Susan Jacoby, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004; pg. 264.
- Marcet and Emanuel Haldeman-Julius - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical Society
- Haldeman-Julius Historical Notes: Chronology of Important Events
- Burnett, Betty. "Haldeman-Julius, Emanuel." American National Biography. Ed. John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
- Tim Davenport, "The Appeal to Reason: Forerunner of Haldeman-Julius Publications", Big Blue Newsletter No. 3 (2004). Retrieved November 16, 2009.
- Rolf Potts, "The Henry Ford Of Literature", The Believer, September, 2008.
- Works by E. Haldeman-Julius at Project Gutenberg
- More on Haldeman-Julius from the Axe Library
- Haldeman-Julius Family Tree on haldeman-julius.org
- Rolf Potts, "The Henry Ford of Literature," The Believer, September 2008.