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

Was Haldeman-Julius a bitter millionaire?

The following is a reproduction of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius' reply to a question submitted by a reader, as published in Questions & Answers, 4th series, 1936, pp. 106-107. Emanuel Haldeman-Julius answers a reader's question regarding his wealth, and reveals interesting details about the Little Blue Book publishing plant in the process.

The other night I had an argument with a former reader of yours, who claims he quit reading you because you had become too prejudiced and bitter and because you are a millionaire. Of course, I grew indignant and asked him what was the basis of his claim. He wouldn't tell me, but stupidly kept asserting that you are rich and derisively suggested that I write and ask you.

Cover of Questions & Answers, 4th series.I wish your friend had the right dope when he described me as a millionaire, for that would mean the end of worry about subscriptions, book sales, wages, taxes, and the other problems of a hard-pressed printer.

It is true that I live in a nice home out in the country, drive a new Ford V-8, smoke a number of 5¢ cigars daily, and never fail to buy a ticket for some movie or concert I think will interest me.

Then there's the printing plant - and a right nice institution it is, without a mortgage against it. The main plant is two stories and basement, and contains a large rotary press, four fine cylinder presses, four jobbers, a stereotyping outfit, eight folding machines, two large stitchers, two cutters, two linotypes, about 20 tons of linotype metal, a good assortment of type, 23 typewriters, five adding machines, two large fire-proof vaults filled with book plates, and the necessary line of desks and other office tools. Then there are two large warehouses - one filled with a car of waste-paper and two cars of good book paper (all paid for) ; the other filled with about 10,000,000 finished little and big books.

Against all these substantial assets stand only about $10,000 of unsecured notes and $2,000 of bills payable. This substantial position was made possible by the public of the entire world which, during the past 10 years, bought 200,000,000 small books and 50,000,000 larger volumes.

The only weak spot in this line-up is the woefully meager bank balance; because of the public's inability to buy as many books as it should. However, this financial stringency isn't as bad as it sounds, for I keep this business strictly within its income. If all this makes me a millionaire then I'm afraid I'm guilty and should be sent to perdition pronto.

Personally, I live simply, preferring constructive work and instructive writing to conspicuous display. Had I wanted to grow rich, I could have used this plant to support the conservative, orthodox side of all political, economic and religious subjects, but, like a fool, I have preferred to publish the kind of material I think will do the most good, never hesitating to take the unpopular and unprofitable side of many issues.

As for my being prejudiced, I leave that to my readers. My intellectual enemies may think so, because I present a view point which doesn't appeal to them. However, I don't rest my case on prejudice but on facts, verifiable data, science, philosophy and history. This is not only true of my own work but that of my contributors, men like Joseph McCabe, Isaac Goldberg, etc.

As for being bitter, I don't think that's quite the accurate word. Anyone who follows my work month after month must admit that bitterness never enters my method of expression. If anything, I'm given to too much levity, if some of my correspondents are to be believed. It may be that your friend thinks that because I'm hot for my subjects and relentless in attacking what I consider to be social and cultural evils it must follow that I'm bitter, but it isn't so. Instead of being bitter, I work constructively and patiently as an instructor of my readers, showing them what I consider to be the right position on numerous important ideas and developments. I've never lost hope in the strength of education, and anyone who has that hope never permits himself to be poisoned by cynicism or bitterness.

The material above has been republished with the understanding that the Haldeman-Julius Company's associated copyright is no longer being enforced. All official petitions to the contrary will be acknowledged and adhered to at the request of any surviving copyright owner; just contact us.