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

Resources for Collectors: Author Profile of Clement Wood

Haldeman-Julius.org is indebted to Faye Landskov for allowing us to republish this biography, originally published in Big Blue Newsletter No. 3 (2004 Q-III). All credit, rights and copyright belong to her. You have our thanks, Faye.

By Faye Landskov

Portrait of Clement Wood. One of the many in a stable of writers for the Little Blue Book series was Clement Wood. Wood was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1888 and following the lead of his father, became a lawyer. He held several legal positions from 1912-1913, including assistant city attorney and chief presiding magistrate of the Central Recorder's Court in Birmingham. Shortly thereafter, he took off for New York in search of adventure. He moved into Greenwich Village and earned a living successively as a waiter, staff to a vice commission and secretary to Upton Sinclair.

Emanuel Julius first met Wood while working on the staff of the Socialist daily The New York Call in 1915. Wood was writing a humor column at the time and impressed Julius as "the superior southern boy who was out to make good in the big, wicked north." In his later life as a publisher, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius hired Wood to write 57 of the Little Blue Books under various titles.

According to Haldeman-Julius, Wood was a prolific writer and could churn out manuscripts nearly on demand. He ghostwrote novels at the pace of 80,000 words in 30 days, earning the sum of $2,500 per manuscript - more than fair money in the 1920s. He also wrote numerous books under his own name, beginning with a 1917 poetry collection, Glad of Earth.

In his memoirs, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius tries to downplay the sales success of Wood's Little Blue Books by claiming that a great number of the titles would have sold well under any pen name because they dealt with sex. Even so, because of the pornography laws of the time, Haldeman-Julius Publications could not openly advertise these books as he did his University in Print. If allowed to advertise the following, one would imagine he could have sold many more.

Sex in Psychoanalysis sold 118,500 copies, Modern Sexual Morality sold 164,500, and The Art of Kissing sold 257,500 while titles like How to Talk and Debate sold 146,500 and The Best Negro Jokes sold 133,000. Not too shabby a showing overall.

The breadth of Wood's work spans from love, sex, and kissing to descriptions of life in Greenwich Village, nursery rhymes, and the history of religions - old testament to new. He was a man of wide interests and enough talent to flit from one topic to the next.

Clement Wood was not only a newspaper columnist and a writer of Little Blue Books, but like his grandfather and an aunt who were the unofficial poet laureates of Alabama, he too penned poetry. To his credit are the lyrics to the "Shortenin' Bread" song and "The Road to Mandalay." Lists of his works can be found on the internet on many different sites.

Wood died in 1950, having in his 62 years, been a lawyer, a schoolteacher, a schoolmaster, a novelist and a poet. He was married to Gloria Goddard who was another of the LBB writers and with whom he co-authored several of the pocket tomes. Interestingly, one of Clement Wood's Little Blue Book manuscripts remains in print and is used by students of poetry today - The Complete Rhyming Dictionary.

Clement Wood : Bibliography of Little Blue Books

For more information on Little Blue Book authors, and biographic data on specific writers/contributors, please see our article Torch Bearers in the War on Ignorance!.