Julius Wayland

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Julius Wayland

Julius Augustus Wayland (1854–1912) was a Mid-Western US socialist during the Progressive Era. He is most noted for publishing Appeal to Reason, a socialist publication often deemed to be the most important socialist periodical of the time.[1][2]


Julius Wayland was born in Versailles, Indiana 26 April 1854, but as an infant his father and four of his siblings died in a cholera epidemic. His early years were spent in abject poverty and he was forced to find work after only two years of schooling. He then apprenticed to a printer in his home town, rising to become owner of the Versailles Gazette in 1874. As a result of reading books such as Laurence Gronlund's The Cooperative Commonwealth and Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, Wayland became a socialist. His writings created tensions with home-town conservatives, and he fled Versailles to avoid lynching.[1]

Moving to Pueblo, Colorado in 1893, Wayland started a radical periodical, The Coming Nation, which quickly became the most popular socialist newspaper in America. At this point he helped found a utopian settlement, the Ruskin Colony in Dickson County, Tennessee. In July, 1895, he left Ruskin and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where in August, 1895 he started another socialist journal, Appeal to Reason. Then, in 1897, he moved to Girard, Kansas. At first a mixture of articles and extracts from works by well-known socialists and radicals, Appeal to Reason began to publish writings by many of the prominent young socialists and reformers of the era, including Jack London, "Mother" Jones, Upton Sinclair and Eugene Debs. Circulation soared, reaching 150,000 in 1902. In 1904 Appeal to Reason commissioned Upton Sinclair to write a novel about immigrant workers in the Chicago meat packing houses. Sinclair's novel, titled The Jungle, appeared in 1905 as a serial in Appeal to Reason.[1]

The success of Appeal to Reason led again to personal attacks on Wayland in the conservative press, particularly The Los Angeles Times. His offices were repeatedly broken into in an unsuccessful effort to find evidence of criminal activity.

Wayland committed suicide on November 10, 1912. He had been depressed by the recent death of his wife, his failure to convince a majority of Americans of the merits of socialism, and the smear campaign mounted against him by the conservative press. Afterward, his children and Appeal to Reason editor Fred Warren successfully sued for damages from newspapers that had published libelous material about Wayland.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Julius Wayland. Spartacus Educational, May 12, 2007.
  2. ^ Murrin, John M. & Johnson, Paul E. & McPherson, James M. & Gerstle, Gary & Rosenberg, Emily S. & Rosenberg, Norman L. Liberty Equality Power: A History of the American People Fourth Edition Wadsworth: Thomson Learning. 2005.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tim Davenport, "The Appeal to Reason: Forerunner of Haldeman-Julius Publications," Corvallis, OR: Big Blue Newsletter, No. 3 (2004 Q-III).
  • George Allen England, The Story of the Appeal. Girard, KS: Appeal to Reason, 1913.
  • Howard H. Quint, "Julius A. Wayland, Pioneer Socialist Propagandist," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 35, no. 4 (March 1949), pp. 585-606. In JSTOR