100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Socialist Publisher Commits Suicide In Missouri

Julius Wayland was born in Versailles, Indiana in April 1854. His father and four of his brothers and sisters died of cholera when he was 4 months old and his family lived in poverty. After 2 years schooling, Wayland was forced to find work. He eventually found work as a printer’s apprentice on the Versailles Gazette. By 1874 he owned the paper and turned it into a highly profitable periodical.

Wayland became a socialist and when his political views were expressed in his newspaper, he was forced to leave Indiana after threats of violence. He moved to Pueblo, Colorado where in 1893 Wayland began publishing THE COMING NATION. It became the most popular socialist newspaper in America. In 1895 he moved to Missouri and began publishing the socialist journal APPEAL TO REASON. Contributors included Jack London, Mary ‘Mother’ Jones, Upton Sinclair and Eugene Debs. The journal commissioned Sinclair to write a novel about immigrant workers in the Chicago meat packing houses. This was serialized in APPEAL TO REASON and eventually became the novel “The Jungle” . The novel was an immediate success and a best-seller all over world. In 1911 Appeal To Reason published a series of articles about corruption and homosexuality in Leavenworth Prison. Wayland was charged with sending “indecent, filthy, obscene, lewd and lascivious printed materials” through the post. Conservative papers like THE LOS ANGELES TIMES attacked Wayland and printed slanderous stories about alleged crimes of his family and that Wayland was guilty of seducing an orphaned girl of fourteen who had died during an abortion in Missouri.
On November 10, 1912 Wayland was depressed by the recent death of his wife and the continuing smear campaign against him. He committed suicide and left a note that read : “The struggle under the competitive system is not worth the effort.” His family plans to sue the publications that drove him to take his own life.

Julius Wayland


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