Seattle Socialist :
The Workingman’s Paper

(Seattle: 1900-1910)

Report by Gordon Black

Abstract: For ten years, this weekly newspaper was the strongest voice for socialism in the Pacific Northwest. Edited by Hermon Titus, The Socialist was acerbic, witty, and often sectarian. The Socialist Educational Union was incorporated in Washington on September 16, 1900 under the terms of Chapter 193 of the state’s codes governing “social, charitable and other associations.” Its main purpose was the publishing of The Socialist newspaper launched the previous month. One of the articles of incorporation specified that only members of the Social Democrat Party could serve on the board of the Socialist Educational Union. The newspaper came out weekly for most of its existence, (supplemented by occasional daily editions) and contained a mixture of articles explaining the nature of socialism, anti-capitalism rhetoric, platforms for local election races, news of socialism victories in the US and Europe, guest articles by well known socialists, such as Eugene Debs and Upton Sinclair, as well as essays on socialist virtues. The newspaper also frequently attacked its press rivals in Seattle, as well as political rivals within the socialism movement. It provided wide coverage of news of interest to its audience – strikes, free speech efforts and the famous Haywood trial in Idaho. Throughout its 10 years, The Socialist used cartoons to lampoon capitalism and issues it perceived as anathema to socialism. For a brief period, it even sub-titled itself as a “cartoon weekly.”  The educational union owned its own press operation, The Trustee Printing Company in Seattle, which it bought to avoid paying “capitalist printing companies.” A founding member of the educational union that published the newspaper was a physician, Hermon Titus. (See editorial staff.)

 

City of publication  Seattle (briefly Toledo, Ohio; Caldwell, Idaho)

Publisher                  Socialist Educational Union

Affiliation                  Social Democrat Party - Seattle

Publication dates   August 12, 1900 – August 20, 1910

Frequency                Weekly and special daily editions - 4 pages

Circulation               2000+

Cost                           Subscriptions 50 cents a year, 10 weeks for 10 cents or 2 cents per issue

Business address  220 Union St, Seattle; 114 Virginia St.; latterly 1620 Fourth Ave, Seattle. Also stated as 14 News Lane, Seattle.

Status                        Extensive but not complete set of newspapers microfilmed. University of Washington, Microform and Newspaper Collections: A2663

Editorial staff : None listed initially but beginning in 1907 when a masthead listing editorial staff appeared in the Seattle publication, Hermon Titus was the editor. (In a letter to the Post Office in 1902 Titus signed his name as “business manager.”) He stayed in the role of editor through the last existing issue of the newspaper in August, 1910. Titus was also listed in the masthead of The Socialist, published in Toledo, Ohio and during its time in Caldwell, Idaho (June, 1906 - November, 1908). According to historian Carlos Schwantes,  Radical Heritage, Titus moved The Socialist to Toledo because he regarded it as the “industrial center of the United States.” Since the Toledo operation was not successful, Titus used the pretext of the Haywood trial to move the paper again – to Caldwell. Titus had ambitions of converting Idaho into the “first socialist state.” Schwantes asserted that Titus remained in Idaho a mere three months. The paper itself remained in Caldwell much longer, though it is possible that Titus himself was in Seattle. From Seattle, Titus organized free-speech demonstrations in defiance of authorities. The issue became a kind of campaign carried extensively by The Socialist. Imprisonment of participants allowed the paper to also report on the squalid conditions in the Seattle city jail, which the newspaper described as “Seattle’s black hole.”

After 1910, the final year of The Socialist, Hermon Titus is listed in Polk’s Seattle Directory as the editor of Workingman’s Magazine (1911), and subsequently in 1912 as editor of The Four Hour Day. His wife, Hattie, is listed as the business agent for this publication. 

In later years, The Socialist listed separate editors for Oregon, Idaho and Washington, as well as special contributors on such areas as socialism and science; socialism and the farmer; socialism and the middle class. In 1909, from a list of 17 contributors and staff members, four were women: Bessy Fiset, assistant editor; Hattie Titus (wife of the editor), advertising manager; Mrs Floyd Hyde, contributor on socialism and the home; Lulu Ault, circulation manager.  Other listed staff included: Erwin Ault, managing editor; Arthur Jensen, assistant editor; Ryan Walker, cartoonist; John F. Hart, cartoonist; Richard Krueger, Washington State editor; Thomas Coonrod, Idaho State editor; Thomas Sladden, Oregon State editor. 

Lineage: In 1901, the banner indicated that The Socialist merged with The New Light, a Socialist weekly founded in 1899 in Port Angeles, Washington by EE Vail. 1905 and1906 editions of The Socialist appeared in the UW collection with a Toledo address, suggesting that Titus, the named editor and a founder of the Socialist Educational Union in Seattle, moved there for a period and kept the paper going from Ohio. Since not all numbered copies are within the UW collection, it is not clear if the Seattle-based Socialist published simultaneously with the Socialist in Toldeo. With issue 298 in June, 1906, the paper moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where it published through issue 319 (November 24, 1908). Editor Titus wrote then that the newspaper would henceforth be published in Seattle. Again, numbered issues, although not complete, are sequential from Seattle to Toledo to Caldwell and back to Seattle. Apparently, the last issue came out in August, 1910.

 

Summary

 

The Socialist – The Workingman’s Paper was produced by an arm of the Social Democrat Party in Seattle with the express purpose of educating workers on socialists issues and positions, and spreading news about socialism and labor union activities, especially strikes. In addition to its line of socialist propaganda, it provided news coverage of socialist candidates running (and their socialist platform) for office throughout Washington State, as well as school board races in Seattle. The level of coverage given Congressional and presidential races of 1900, 1902, 1904, 1906 and 1908 varied according to the number of socialist candidates taking part. The Socialist took seriously its claim that it was the paper for the working man, and often labeled stories of strikes as news that could not be seen in other, establishment newspapers.

Where it supported socialist goals or as a way to indicate the failures of capitalism, fiction was also used in the paper. Commentaries, penned by notable socialists, including novelists Upton Sinclair and Jack London, as well as translations of socialist writings from Europe (Karl Marx’s among them) did, on occasion, almost fill entire issues. Cartoons played a prominent role in the weekly four pages of The Socialist, dominating the front page on a number of occasions. The cartoons, which were mostly well executed, included both original drawings by Ryan Walker and John Hart and those published elsewhere. Certain cartoons were used in more than once.

The general tumult that accompanied socialist organizations in the US and Europe did not escape The Socialist. Over the years of its publication, it condemned anarchists, criticized the middle classes, and denounced the national Social Democrat Party. Routinely, it lambasted the Seattle Daily Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the local (pro-business, pro-establishment) dailies. 

The financial position of The Socialist was frequently tenuous. In several issues it made direct appeals for financial support through donations or subscriptions. It appeared to be on the brink of not publishing – or claimed to – and once apologized for having fewer pages than normal. Beginning in January, 1901, following its merger with The New Light, the paper began to run advertising from Seattle merchants. Among the advertisers were the Frederick and Nelson department store, Hotel Grand, several laundries and a bicycle manufacturer.

 

Selected extracts of coverage 

Elections 

The state of Washington has given a Socialist percentage much above the average in the United States, the equal of Massachusetts, twice that of New York and probably exceeding that of California. Comrades, shake! 

                                                                        The Socialist, November 25, 1900

 

 

As a newspaper propagating the position of the Social Democrat Party, The Socialist provided coverage of Social Democrats running for office at any level from city and county positions to Congress and President. Thus, in its first year of publication, it gave front page coverage to the campaign and platform of socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs as well as those running for local office[1]. It provided a full reporting of election returns from throughout Washington state, starting with the first year of publication. An estimated 3-percent of the voter turnout went to Socialists running for all state offices in 1900. A style of upbeat coverage of socialist candidates’ performance typified The Socialist’s writings of election results, even when showings at the polls were rather modest. When local results did not support the propaganda of The Socialist, it would use socialist victories from elsewhere in the US and even Europe to indicate that socialists could win elections. The socialist mayor of Haverhill, Mass., John Chase, was held as an example of what could be achieved. This was reported in the issues of November 25 and December 2, 1900.  Two local mayoral candidates, E. Lux, running in Whatcom (now known as Bellingham) and Everett hopeful H. P. Whartenby were given front-page billing with photographs in the Dec. 2,1900 issue.

            In November 7, 1905, The Socialist provided a detailed breakdown of election returns from throughout Washington, as well as Idaho, Oregon and key summaries from New York, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The front page included a personal note from Eugene Debs thanking everyone, and giving particular praise to the Red Special band, a musical group that accompanied him on a nationwide tour. “At many points it was just what was needed to kindle enthusiasm and round out the meeting and give it the power to stir the crowd into action,” he wrote.

Based on election returns in Washington for 1905, The Socialist predicted a total turnout for socialist candidates of 17,000 votes out of 200,000, compared to 10,000 in 1901. 

With the emergence of public education, and elections to school boards, The Socialist saw an opportunity to champion the end of child labor and provision of free education. In the 1901 Seattle School Board elections campaign, The Socialist published the following platform: 

1. Enough school buildings of moderate cost to be built immediately to accommodate all, instead of costly palaces for the few.

2. More teachers, and better paid.

3. Teachers tenure permanent during efficiency.

4. Free meals and free clothing, if needed, to keep children from the necessity of work.

5. Free kindergartens for all children between three and six.

6. Free medical inspection weekly.

7. Greatest attention to be paid to primary grades.

8. Compulsory attendance of all children under 15.

9. An all-around development, gymnastic, aesthetic and moral instead of mere intellectual “cramming.”

 

Note

The curious wording under point 9 may reflect some discomfort within the Socialist movement toward education by those who may have lacked formal schooling.

 

By way of supporting the two Socialist candidates for school board, including Socialist Educational Union co-founder Hermon Titus,The Socialist ran a picture of boys sweeping the street outside a Seattle department store. The newspaper asked: “Why do these 10-year-olds have to work from 7:30 to 6 every day?” If the socialist candidates get elected, promised the newspaper, those boys would be attending school – fed and clothed, if necessary. The newspaper further urged its readers to register to vote. In earlier coverage, The Socialist had pointed out the 6000 discrepancy between the census figures for school-age children in Seattle (17,500) and school enrollment (11,000).It concluded that the children of the poor must work. It suggested that by electing candidates Denny and Patterson, poor children would remain in “poverty and toil.”
 

Opposition to the established press

 In 1900, Seattle had a thriving and highly competitive press. According to Polk’s Seattle Directory of that year, 5 daily and 12 weekly English language newspapers were published within the city. The best funded were the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Daily Times, whose circulations The Socialist trailed. But that did not prevent it from taking frequent swipes at the bigger newspapers. It often lampooned the pro-business press of the city in cartoons, and editorials. Times’ publisher Colonel Alden Blethen was nicknamed “the kernel.”

The Socialist took particular glee in telling its own readers that certain stories were not reported by the big dailies. In the March 20, 1903 issue, it pointed out that neither of the two dominant dailies had covered a Socialist meeting attended by some 2000 people, which The Socialist described as the biggest meeting in the city in past six months. 

As an alternative to the pro-business writings of the large dailies, the Socialist also acted as a contrarian, challenging assumptions on a wide range of issues, including the role of women, public ownership of utilities; Chinese immigration limits and industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who bequeathed libraries to Seattle and Tacoma.

In an article titled, Good King Carnegie – But Under the Smoke and Chimneys What? The Socialist compared steel magnate Carngie to Napoleon Bonaparte.            

Where did the Pittsburg Iron Master get his power and wealth? By robbing the workingmen of America. Some of you say, no, he got it by honest means. We socialists say no to you, and we provide to you he got it by the sweat and blood of the men who working in his foundries. 

                                                           The Socialist, May 7, 1901

 

 Where the paper most significantly differed in covering news events was in its reporting of strikes. Since most newspapers were also business enterprises that succeeded or failed on the basis of profits, most newspaper proprietors saw labor organizations through the lens of business operators. Consequently, their coverage of labor and trade unions tended to reflect this in-built bias at the turn-of-century. The exact opposite held true for The Socialist –  it was not established as a profit-making business enterprise and it’s bias was to the workers and against the bosses. The Socialist provided a counterbalance (and admittedly, a self-serving one at that) to the dearth of coverage and anti-labor slant typically found in 1900-era newspapers.  

Labor issues

 

In 1903, the three major electric street railway companies on Puget Sound – The Tacoma Railway & Power Company, The Seattle Electric Company and the Interurban Company – were all owned by Boston-based Stone & Webster. Workers struck the Stone and Webster companies over union recognition and union negotiating power, according to The Socialist. Six hundred drivers, conductors and maintenance workers in Seattle alone were involved. The Socialist issued daily strike editions on March 27, 28, 29, 1903.  

“Workingmen unite,” is the Socialist motto now adopted by all unions. “The isolated laborer,” said Marx, “is powerless against the capitalist.” Capital knows that and will grant everything except recognition of the union. They must keep the right to hire scabs. Scabs are the death of unions. Therefore scabs must be cultivated.                                                                                    The Socialist, March 28, 1903

 

            The Seattle Street Railway Employees Union faced formidable opposition, not only from the company but from strike-breakers and the city establishment. A court order was issued forbidding street railway company employees from speaking to each other and Seattle’s mayor deputized 18 strike-breakers as special policemen, issuing them each with a badge and a gun, according to the March 28 issue. 

            The Socialist alluded to “violence, intimidation, hoodlums, riots” evidently reported by the other Seattle newspapers, and placed the blame for unspecified civil disturbance on the Mayor Humes for deputizing strike-breakers.

            “There was not a sign of riot in town until Humes appointed 18 scabs as special policemen and armed them with guns and a little brief authority. Every demonstration was wholly good natured. Nothing worse than a few eggs thrown. Everybody was laughing all the while. When suddenly the Times and P-I and even The Star begin to deprecate violence. . .people not on the scene believe those ‘violence’ and ‘intimidation’ – all sorts of things,” stated a front page article below a massive cartoon depicting the Seattle Electric Company as a “hog.” 

            In contrast to Seattle, the striking carmen in Tacoma did not break ranks. However, The Socialists reported that drivers and conductors were brought in from Seattle to operate the street cars in Tacoma. The strikers in Tacoma were also faced with a court injunction forbidden them to damage Tacoma Railway Co. property, intimidate workers, persuade customers from using the street cars and even from “confederating together.” The Socialist, which carried the full terms of the injunction, dismissed it as “harmless.” “Only forbids threats and violence anyway – nothing to be afraid of.”

            The strike lasted just four days. Although the terms of the strike’s settlement in Seattle and Tacoma were not laid out – as far as this researcher could find – a later article in The Socialist was critical of the settlement. Under a heading, Why Strikes Fail, it described the street railway workers of having “won everything except the strike.”

            “The company reserves the right to employ non-union men. This means the union has no power to enforce better conditions, higher wages or shorter hours.”

            The newspaper goes on to say that it was because “an army of unemployed” was willing to work under any conditions that undermined the strike and forced the union to accept the conditions of the company. The Socialist suggested that a fear of being among the unemployed caused the strikers to return to work.

            The newspaper also criticized labor leaders – especially Messrs Harmon and Rust of the Washington Federation of Labor and Seattle Central Labor Council respectively for not providing better guidance to the “inexperienced” street car workers who had put on a “magnificent” fight.

            Here, The Socialist is careful to praise the striking workers – who represented both their readers and the volume of voters needed to elect socialists candidates – while singling out labor leaders for not providing the kind of support (not specified) the strikers evidently deserved.

            In August, 1903, the newspaper carried a story of a wage claim (an increase from 23 cents to 30 cents an hour) being pressed by the street car workers. Most of the article rounded condemned a mayoral request to arbitrate the dispute, as well as chastising the company for not granting the increase. The Socialist converted the cost of paying the increase as $137,970, which it claimed was equivalent to paying 4-percent interest on $3 million dollars.            

“. . .that is, they can water their stock to that amount. They can distribute blocks of stock in hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to three million, where it will do the most good.

            “You see what you are up against, boys? BIG CAPITAL. The only way to lick big capital is at the Ballot Box  - and don’t you forget that.”

 The Socialist, August 23, 1903

 

The Haywood trial

             Nothing stirred the editorial pages of The Socialist quite like the story of the trial in Idaho of Western Federation of Miners leader, “Big Bill” Haywood. Along with Charles Moyer and George Pettibone, the state of Idaho kidnapped Haywood in Denver and brought him to Boise to face charges involving the bombing murder of Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg in 1905.

            Idaho’s mining districts had been the scene of much violent strife between miners and mine owners. Perhaps sensing the importance of Idaho as the source of socialist fervor, The Socialist relocated to Caldwell (near Boise) in 1906. Or maybe the move was because of the stature of Haywood and the sensational nature of the impending trial. Hermon Titus, who appeared in the masthead of The Socialist of Toledo as editor and who evidently had relocated there from Seattle after helping to form the Socialist Educational Union, became editor in Caldwell. 

            Throughout the trail, which started in 1907, The Socialist provided copious coverage, claiming to scoop the Seattle dailies when the not guilty verdict against Haywood was returned July 28. The newspaper issued two special “extras” to report the news and to reflect comment from the jury’s finding. In the August 3, 1907 issue datelined Seattle, a line drawing of Haywood appeared with a caption: “a future president of the United States.”

 

A Woman’s Place

 

The Socialist raised the debate on the issues of women in society throughout its period of publication. Although coverage of women’s did not appear with high frequency, it was visited with some regularity. In later issues of the paper, bylined articles by Bessy Fiset addressed suffrage and other issues related to women. On May 5,1901, a front page article entitled Woman, The Slave of the Wage Slave explored the concept of gender equality and economic independence for women and the right to vote. It even examined the sexism implicit among both genders towards expectation of the qualities of boys versus girls.

“As a rule, before a boy has himself issued from the petticoat stage he is made to realize what a crime it is against boyhood to be termed a girl. And girls are hampered by the unnatural limitations put upon them by their mothers, more than by their fathers, in order to properly or improperly fit them for Woman’s Sphere. They must play with dolls and learn to sew, while boys play out of door games and learn to smoke and chew and swear.”

The article, which supported a woman’s right to vote, made clear that a vote for a Socialist candidate would liberate women in other areas of their lives.

            By 1909, criticism of the capitalist system as enslaving women even more than it did enslave men had become a theme. In a front-page article laying out the Washington State Socialist Party’s manifesto for women (drawn up by the Woman’s State Executive Committee), The Socialist stated: 

Women of the working class can secure their emancipation only through the abolition of the wage system, which makes of them as wage earners, and as economic slaves of wage earners, worse slaves than the men themselves. 

The Socialist, April 17, 1909

 

The article called upon women to hold propaganda meetings, provide “revolutionary socialist” women for lectures, educate women in revolutionary socialism, spread propaganda and socialism clubs and organize “the children of the proletariat” and to educate them in class-consciousness. The article also asked: have you a woman’s stamp on your card? It’s not clear if this was addressed to men, or whether women could independently be members of the Socialist Party. 

Internal squabbles

 

            Although disputes between its various branches dogged the socialist movement in Washington and elsewhere in the United States during the 1900-1914 period, the pages of The Socialist are relatively free of articles on such disputes. As a paper supporting the Social Democrat Party of Washington it often blurred the distinction of “socialist” and “social democrat.” It appeared to give broad support to “socialist” candidates and “socialist” causes, without necessarily identifying if those candidates or causes fitted strictly within the goals of the Social Democrat Party. In this respect, The Socialist may have been less dogmatic than other socialist newspaper or simply was disinclined to involve itself in internal disputes of the kind that wracked other newspapers. (See citation for other newspapers on this Web site.)

            However, there were exceptions. Early on, the paper distanced itself from the anarchy movement by roundly condemning the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. In fact, the first issue after his death at the hands of a professed anarchist appeared with a black border. 

Despite this, it’s noticeable that “revolution” and “revolutionary” are still seen frequently in The Socialist in the years following the paper’s condemnation of the McKinley assassination. Although it never explained in its pages how the revolution would be achieved (by the ballot box is implied, given the coverage of election and socialist candidates), use of the term brought dissension that surfaced in the pages of the paper in the summer of 1909.         

            Following a state convention of the Socialist Party (the ninth annual), national committee member Emil Herman wrote a front-page article critical of the state party official who lead maneuvers to silence certain local chapters at the convention. It accused W. Waynick, temporary state secretary of the party, of being manipulated by “rank middle class opportunists” in silencing the representatives of 54 locals at the convention and “destroying the Revolutionary Socialist Party of this state.”

            A follow-up article the next week – upon publication of the convention minutes – further accused Waynick and others of gagging the revolutionary socialists and passing rule-changes that limited the existence of locals within cities. This, the article explained, was designed to get reformists back in power in Seattle. “Reformists,” it must be assumed, were of the middle-class stripe opposed by the newspaper.  

The Workingman’s Paper does not seek to form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties. It supports the UNION of Wage-Workers. . . the immediate aim of the Workingman’s paper is the same as that of all other really proletariat organs, namely: Formation of the proletariat into one class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat. 

The Workingman’s Paper, January 1910

 

The dispute continued for months in the pages of The Socialist, which in a September 25 issue carried articles representing both sides of the debate, though favoring its own writer (who represented its position) with considerably more space.

            On October 4, 1909, The Socialist proclaimed in a front-page article: Socialist Party Turns Populist. The article cited the recent decision by the national organization of the party to amend the wording of “general demands” laid out by the Socialist Party. Those included the collective ownership of railroads, telegraph, telephone and land. The national committee removed “land” from its list of demands, a move opposed by the Washington State delegation. 

            Further divisions opened up locally over the possible inclusion of bankers, ranchers, lawyers, college professors and others as members of the proletariat. The division between what was described as a “one-class party” versus a “two-class party” was covered in the October 9, 1909 Socialist.

            It’s clear that the newspaper – or at least its influential staff – identified with the industrial wage-earners as being the basis for revolutionary socialism. By October 30, the paper carried a resolution from the Local Seattle Socialist Party denouncing the national organization as “dominated and controlled by the middle classes” and therefore “unable to perform the mission of a working class party.”

            At the root of the dispute was a fight between editor Titus and Walter Thomas Mills, a college lecturer, journalist, minister, evangelist and defender of temperance. Certainly the intellectual equal of Titus, Mills used his writing skills to skewer Titus and his “bogus organization.” Mills was a reform socialist; Titus a revolutionary socialist.

            When both factions claimed to represent the party in Seattle, the national executive intervened to broker the dispute at the 1908 national convention. The bitter factional fight dragged on into 1909 and a state convention in Everett. Here, Titus, a college-educated physician, warned of the dangers of middle-class opportunists taking over the party. W.H. Waynick, a sawmill worker, held sway over a national executive committee-sanctioned referendum to decide which faction should rule Washington socialists. Titus lost.

The paper broke ranks with the Socialist Party locally and nationally by then carrying the manifesto of a new organization named The United Wage Workers of Washington. It was an opening salvo in a dispute that lead to the idea  of a new political party (a labor party) and the dropping of the name “socialist.” (A court case involving use of the name had been heard by King County Superior Court and the paper’s opponents, including Waynick, apparently won the right to use of the name.)

             By this point, the distancing from the Socialist Party structure was evident at the newspaper, which began appearing under the name, The Workingman’s Paper, with The Socialist in small letters below the main title.  The last known issue of the paper, which appeared in August, 1910 included an inside page article containing the manifesto of the Labor Party of Seattle.

 

Financial position

 

            “Ten weeks for 10 cents” was the launch offer of The Socialist in August, 1900. Over the years, the masthead price fluctuated – some issues appeared priced 50 cents, others two cents and five cents, which may reflected fund-raising efforts or a desire to impart the idea that there was a much higher value to the information than what the newspaper sold for. 

Under a heading, “No Private Profits – All for Socialism,” The Socialist carried the articles of incorporation of the Socialist Education Union, set up to oversee publication of the newspaper. The paper set an early goal of attaining a circulation of 2000. Frequent reminders were published to encourage subscription orders.

            For the first five months, The Socialist did not carry any advertising. But with the merging of The New Light in 1901, the paper did start carrying local advertising from Seattle merchants. This grew over the years to include advertising for national companies, such as Columbia Bicycles, and household appliances and furniture. Frederick and Nelson’s department store were among the Seattle companies whose ads ran on a regular basis.

            Even with advertising income The Socialist was not very solvent. Its ability to qualify for reduced rate mailing through categorization as a newspaper was sufficiently important to warrant extensive coverage of a dispute with Edwin Madden, third assistant Postmaster General in Seattle in 1901-02. 

            Madden contested The Socialist’s qualification for third-class postage rates, claiming in a letter that most of its subscriber base received the newspaper free. The issue became a rallying point for the paper, allowing it both to chastise Madden (and pillor him in cartoons), make the case that other newspapers seemed to have no difficulty qualifying and encouraging readers to send in proof of subscription and encourage others to buy the paper. On May 1, 1902, the paper proclaimed “2500 new subscribers for Madden.”

            In addition to seeking new subscriptions, The Socialist appealed to readers to raise the capital necessary to purchase its own press. It must be assumed that this effort was successful. Reports of the Trustee Printing Company appear in The Socialist.

            By summer, 1904 the financial plight of the newspaper had evidently continued to worsen. In a manner by then familiar to readers, The Socialist appealed for help. 

Now, comrades and friends, in spite of all our economies and sacrifices, we cannot pay our way and maintain the standard of the paper. Our arrears on current expenses up to date, not counting what the Editor has furnished, amount to about six hundred dollars. It does seem a great deal. But when you have not six hundred cents to pay with, it is as great as so many thousands.  

The Socialist, June 26, 1904

 

                       Other appeals for financial help followed at irregular intervals. By January, 1909 under a heading, WARNING! DANGER! The Socialist  reminded readers that “it has been a long time since the management of The Socialist has asked for aid.” The editorial went on to say that for months the publication had been surviving on job printing and advertising revenue but both of those incomes had recently declined. The paper asked its readers for $500 immediately to pay off “our most pressing obligations.”

                       The paper somehow managed to limp along, and used the impending special issue for Labor Day (May 1, 1909) to encourage readers to buy additional souvenir copies. In the same issue, The Socialist stated that it was still $300 short in its appeal for $500, but also proclaimed that but for the “interference of those who have claimed to be friends” would not be in any trouble. The paper ran a full list of accounts from its business manager (Edwin Ault) detailing all debts and income.

                       On May 1, the paper crowed that its status was “climbing,” having apparently met its debts. “Once more The Socialist can announce to its anxious friends and to its still more anxious enemies that it will appear regularly and on time each week and continue to be the fighting champion of Proleterian Socialism.”

                       No other appeals for cash appear in the final year of the paper. The last issue in the collection, dated August 20, 1910 neither describes itself as the last issue nor mentions any impending financial problem. It is possible that other issues appeared beyond those in the University of Washington collection but given the rift between editor Titus and the reformist faction with the Socialist Party he may well have decided to simply fold the paper, which had begun appearing under the title The Workingman’s Paper.

 

Quick Index    This research paper includes information on the following people, events and items.

 

People

Hermon Titus, physician and editor, The Socialist (Seattle, Toledo, Ohio and Caldwell, Idaho).

Hattie Titus, business manager The Socialist; wife of Hermon Titus. (Seattle)

“Big Bill” Haywood, Western Federation of Miners, trial of in 1906.(Caldwell, Id.)

Walter Thomas Mills, lecturer, temperance leader, writer, reform socialist. (Seattle).

Colonel Alden Blethen, publisher, Seattle Daily Times.

Bissy Fiset, writer, socialist, woman’s suffrage advocate. (Seattle).

Edwin Madden, third assistant postmaster general, Seattle.

 

Events

Seattle Street Railway Strike (March, 1903).

Tacoma Street Railway Strike (March, 1903).

Haywood, Pettibone trial, Caldwell, Idaho (June-July, 1907-08).

 

Other items

The Socialist, weekly newspaper, Seattle, et al (1900-1910).

Socialist Education Union, incorporated, Seattle 1900.

Trustee Printing Company, (Socialist-owned printing press) Seattle.

The Workingman’s Paper (formerly The Socialist), 1909.

Social Democrat Party (Seattle).

Revolutionary Socialists (Seattle).

Seattle Street Railway Employees Union, 1903.

The New Light, (Socialist newspaper, Port Angeles, Wa.) 1899-1900.

Seattle Daily Times (daily newspaper, Seattle).

Seattle Post-Intelligencer (daily newspaper, Seattle).

  

Click to enlarge


(May 24, 1911. p.1)


(March 27, 1909, p.1)

    


(August 12, 1900)

 


 


Seattle News

The Socialist contained many articles about issues affecting laborers living in Seattle and Washington, such as the city's education system and Free Speech Fight in Spokane.


(November 24, 1906, p.1)


(February 12, 1910, p.1)


National Labor News

The Socialist also reported on national labor news.  The arrest and trial of Western Federation of Miners leaders for allegedly murdering the former governor of Idaho prompted many articles in the paper as well as special editions.


(August 18, 1906, p.1)


(July 28, 1906, p.1)


Theory

The paper ran frequent articles about socialist theory, from reprinting experts from famous authors' works, to advocating their own views of scientific socialism.


(February 12, 1910, p.2)


(July 3, 1909, p.1)


(November 18, 1909, p.2)


(June 11, 1910, p.3)


(April 17, 1909, p.1)

 

 

copyright (c) by Gordon Black 2001