Little Blue Books are a series of small staple-bound books published by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company of Girard, Kansas, beginning in 1919. They were extremely popular, and achieved a total of 300-500 million booklets sold over the series' lifetime. Most were sold by mail order and promoted through sensationalistic advertisements (e.g. “At last! Books are cheaper than hamburgers!”) in newspapers and magazines. To save ad space, only the book titles were listed, organized by topic headings such as “Philosophy,” “How-To,” or “Sex.” Many classics were cut down to fit the publishing requirements, which Haldeman-Julius justified as "boring text", pioneering the concept later used by Reader's Digest. The works covered were frequently classics of Western literature. Goethe and Shakespeare were well represented, as were the works of the Ancient Greeks, and more modern writers like Voltaire, Émile Zola, H. G. Wells. Some of the topics the Little Blue Books covered were on the cutting edge of societal norms. Alongside books on making candy and classic literature were ones exploring homosexuality and agnostic viewpoints. Demand for existing titles remained steady throughout the Depression although only about 300 new titles would be released during the 1930s, the bulk appearing prior to 1932. Following World War II, the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover viewed the Little Blue Books' inclusion of such subjects as socialism, atheism, and frank treatment of sexuality as a threat and put Haldeman-Julius on their enemies list, getting him convicted of income tax evasion. This persecution caused a rapid decline in the number of bookstores carrying the Little Blue Books, and they slowly sank into obscurity by the 1950s.
This selection of Little Blue Books includes a variety of titles with a wide range in subject matter from the salacious to the Biblical. Additionally, there is an undated catalog of 1015 Little Blue Books currently available.
Undated - Title #'s 33, 76, 143, and 637
1923 - Title #'s 300 and 340
1924 - Title #'s 163, 521, 602, and 717
1925 - Title #'s 286 and 872
1926 - Title #'s 1008 and 1072
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