Emanuel Haldeman-Julius : Pocket Series and the Little Blue Books

Haldeman-Julius : Pocket Series and the Little Blue Books

This site is devoted to the history, identification and collecting of the various 3½ × 5 inch volumes published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (and his son) via Appeal to Reason, Appeal Publishing Company, Haldeman-Julius Company, Haldeman-Julius Publications, and The Little Blue Book Company. These series include: The Appeal's Pocket Series, People's Pocket Series, Appeal Pocket Series, Ten Cent Pocket Series, Five Cent Pocket Series, Pocket Series, and the most popular and prolific series title, the Little Blue Book.

Portrait of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, taken from one of the Little Blue Books
At the close of the 20th Century some flea-bitten, sun-bleached, fly-specked, rat-gnawed, dandruff- sprinkled professor of literature is going to write a five-volume history of the books of our century. In it a chapter will be devoted to publishers and editors of books, and in that chapter perhaps a footnote will be given to me. > Emanuel Haldeman-Julius

Recent News

We're very pleased to announce some new site features:

In the Works

Expanding and enhancing our Database of Haldeman-Julius Pocket Series and Little Blue Book Titles and Gallery of Haldeman-Julius Pocket Series and Little Blue Book Wrappers remains our primary focus, but a variety of other things are also afoot: Digitizing information from old Haldeman-Julius periodicals like Questions & Answers; additional Little Blue Book author biographies; and much more. Check back soon!

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Who Was Emanuel Haldeman-Julius?

Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (1889-1951) was an American publisher, editor, author, and social reformer. In his mid-twenties he joined the editorial staff at the infamous socialist press Appeal to Reason in Girard, Kansas. In early 1919, he and his wife Marcet purchased controlling interest in the Appeal to Reason, eventually retiring the venerable newspaper in favour of publishing their own periodicals, journals, and booklets. Over the years these would include Haldeman-Julius Weekly, Haldeman-Julius Monthly, Haldeman-Julius Quarterly, Freethinker's Library, Black International, Big Blue Books, and the series of cheap pocket books that would bring Emanuel Haldeman-Julius the greatest notoriety, the Little Blue Books.

Want to learn more about Emanuel Haldeman-Julius? Check out our Chronology of Important Events, Haldeman-Julius Family Tree, Scrapbook of Historic Curio and much more in the Historical Notes section.

What are Little Blue Books?

The Little Blue Books were a series of popular 3½ × 5 inch volumes, designed to be affordable, approachable, and convenient for all readers. The enterprise began in 1919 with a series entitled The Appeal's Pocket Series, copies of which sold for 25 cents. As mass-production techniques improved, the series grew, changed names, dropped prices, and eventually emerged as the Little Blue Books in 1923, with copies going for 5 cents a piece. Promoted as a "University in Print," the Little Blue Books covered a vast range of subjects including literature, politics, religion, history, sexuality, economics, self-help, and fine arts. As the popularity of the Little Blue Books grew, so did the scope of material, eventually bringing in to the fold volumes on cooking, stock prices, and contemporary humour, to name but a few.

At the time of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius' death on July 31, 1951, the Little Blue Book series boasted an inventory of over 1,800 booklets, and had seen some 2,300 unique titles grace the ranks. Responsibility for the Little Blue Book enterprise then passed to Emanuel Haldeman-Julius' son, Henry, who would shepherd the series until 1978, when the Little Blue Book publishing plant in Girard, Kansas, was destroyed by fire.

Want to learn more about the Little Blue Books? Check out our Haldeman-Julius Series Identification Guide, Database of Haldeman-Julius Pocket Series and Little Blue Book Titles, Gallery of Haldeman-Julius Pocket Series and Little Blue Book Wrappers or any of the articles in the Collector Resources section.