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Haldeman-Julius 'Little Blue Books' Collection

Identifier: MS-0124

Scope and Contents

The Haldeman-Julius Little Blue Books are arranged numerically by book number.


  • 1915-1976


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Historical Note

The Haldeman-Julius 'Little Blue Books' were published at the Girard Publishing Plant in Girard, Kansas from 1915-1975. Though they were at first covered in paper of differing colors, by mid-1921 the books were produced with a plain blue exterior from whence their name derives. They were printed in standardized lengths of 32, 64, 96, or 128 pages, in keeping with the limitations of the presses used in the Girard plant.

The series was aimed at "Mr. Average Man," and so the books were very reasonably priced from the outset, first costing $0.25, and later, when production was at its peak, only $0.05 per book. Both re-printed classics and original works were included, and were referred to as a "University in Print" by Haldeman-Julius. The series' creator, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, directed their production for 32 years, during which time 500 million Little Blue Books, representing more than two thousand different titles, were printed in his factory for distribution across the country. They were at the height of their popularity under his direction in the 1920s and 30s.

Emanuel Haldeman-Julius was born in Philadelphia in 1889, then named Emanuel Julius. In 1916 he married Marcet Haldeman, an enthusiastic women's rights supporter, and upon their marriage the couple decided to hyphenate their last name. Marcet Haldeman-Julius died in 1941, Emanuel in 1951, and so the couple's son, Henry, who by then had shortened his last name to "Haldeman," took control of the Blue Book business in 1954. He ran it with varying degrees of success for many years, but production volume and sales were never as great as they were in the 1920s, when "Little Blue Book" was a household phrase.


2.08 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Haldeman-Julius 'Little Blue Books' Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US