FRANKLIN — Following the close of its World War I-themed “War to End All Wars” exhibit in late September, Miners Hall Museum in Franklin will open its fourth quarterly exhibit, “Little Blue Books 100 Years!” on Oct. 1. The exhibit will continue through Dec. 28.
The exhibit is hosted by Linda Knoll, 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, Kansas.
“Each Quarterly Exhibit highlights something special about our area’s history and it’s unique cultural heritage,” Knoll said in a release. “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.”
Miners Hall is grateful 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 throughout the quarter. We hope you will join us for these free and interesting programs. These include “Girard - 150 years” on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m., presented by Friends of Historic Girard and Girard History Museum foundation members Terri Harley and Nicki Neil. 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.
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.
On Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. Miners Hall will feature the presentation “An Unappreciated Skeptic: Emanuel Haldeman-Julius and Religion,” by Dr. Don Viney, which 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.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, Miners Hall will feature “The Gunn Family Legacy & Its Influence on the Little Blue Books,” presented by Holly Reed. The presentation will explore 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.
On Dec. 15, again at 2 p.m., Miners Hall will feature “Red State: Socialism and the Free State Press,” presented by Matthew Thompson. The presentation 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. The presentation is funded by Humanities Kansas.
Anyone with artifacts, photos, or stories relating to the history of the Little Blue Books who would like to donate or loan them for this exhibit or future display at the museum is encouraged to contact the museum at 620-347-4220.
The museum is open for viewing Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call to set up tours for large groups. Admission to the museum and the programs is free. Donations are accepted and appreciated. For further information on Miners Hall’s programs you can follow “Miners Hall Museum” on Facebook or Twitter or become a member of the museum.