Little Blue Books showcased at Miners Hall Museum quarterly exhibit

Posted on behalf of Miners Hall Museum

FRANKLIN, Kan. – Miners Hall Museum in Franklin, KS is proud to announce the 2019 Fourth Quarterly Exhibit, a Spirit of the Little Balkans Series, “Little Blue Books 100 Years!” opening October 1 and continuing through December 28, 2019.

The exhibit is hosted by Linda Knoll. Linda is an educator, author, and local historian who researches and gives talks on the history of southeast Kansas coal mining and the Amazon Army.

This exhibit and programs will focus on the artifacts and stories of the “Titan of the Printing Industry” the” Voltaire of Kansas” Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, the history of the Little Blue Books, radical politics, and socialist roots in Girard, KS.

“Each Quarterly Exhibit highlights something special about our area’s history and it’s unique cultural heritage,” said Linda O’Nelio Knoll. “Past exhibits have highlighted the areas camp towns, ethnic cultures, mining histories, and the arts and crafts contributions of our southeast Kansas immigrant ancestors. Miners Hall Museum would like to end the year celebrating the monumental contributions of E. Haldeman-Julius to 20th Century publishing and the nationally known socialist figures connected to Haldeman-Julius and to the town of Girard and its socialist newspaper The Appeal to Reason as part of the Spirit of the Little Balkans series.”

The museum would like to express a special thank-you to Pittsburg State University, Leonard H. Axe Library, Special Collections; Friends of Historic Girard and Girard History Museum; Holly Reed, The Gunn Collection; J.T. & Linda Knoll, Little Blue Books Collection, and Humanities Kansas.

There will be special monthly programs during the quarter. These are open to the public and free to attend.

Programs held each month include:

  • October 20, Sunday 2:00 p.m.: “Girard – 150 years” Presented by Terri Harley & Nicki Neil, (Friends of Historic Girard & Girard History Museum foundation members). Mrs. Harley’s presentation will highlight the rich and colorful history of the town, the Crawford County seat, including why Girard was once considered the printing capital of the world. Mrs. Neil will share stories from local historian Gene DeGruson and her grandmother who worked for Marcet Haldeman-Julius, the wife of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, over the years about the Little Blue Books.
  • November 10, Sunday 2:00 p.m.: “An Unappreciated Skeptic: Emanuel Haldeman-Julius and Religion” Presented by Dr. Don Viney. Dr. Viney’s presentation will examine E. Haldeman-Julius’s history of skepticism about religion and how as a key figure of his time this was reflected in his work, writings, and Little Blue Book publications.
  • December 1, Sunday 2:00 p.m.: “The Gunn Family Legacy & Its Influence on the Little Blue Books” Presented by Holly Reed. The presentation by Ms. Reed explores Ben and John Gunn’s local newspaper publishing business, John’s work on Little Blue Books, his relationship with both Marcet and E. Haldeman-Julius, and the impact this had on the publishing of pocket size books.
  • December 15, Sunday 2:00 p.m.: “Red State: Socialism and the Free State Press” Presented by Matthew Thompson. The presentation by Mr. Thompson will discuss the rise and fall of the Socialist press in Kansas, as well as its causes, leaders, and detractors, and explore the role of the free press. Funded by Humanities Kansas.

For further information on the programs you can follow “Miners Hall Museum” on Facebook or Twitter or become a member of the museum.

If you have artifacts, photos, or stories relating to this exhibit and would like to donate or loan them for this exhibit or future display at the museum, please contact the museum to share this wonderful history.

The museum is open for viewing Monday through Saturday 10:00 am through 4:00 pm. Call 620-347-4220 to set up tours for large groups. Admission to the museum and the programs is free. Donations are accepted and appreciated. For questions about the museum call 620-347-4220 (

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