Line of March (17-06)

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I am a notorious procrastinator — my academic years were littered with a series of term papers slammed together in the last 10 days or week or 48 hours before deadline, capped, of course, by the inevitable red wine or beer-laced all nighter. One of my less successful efforts was a paper I wrote for a US History class against the clock that ended with the immortal words, “…and the rest is history.” That went over poorly, but I could always write well enough to avoid serious repercussions and I dodged that dumb-dumb bullet, too.

Suffice it to say that no such last minute cramming and slamming will be possible with Mr. Debs. With a hard deadline of October 15 in the distance, I am looking to get finished with the first phase of work — identifying the best stuff and converting it to editable type — by the end of June. That’s a real deadline for me, mentally. And so I blast onward through the galaxy of Debs writings.

My target is to commit 500,000 words to editable type for Volume 1 — a book with a 260,000 word “hole.” That gives me essentially 14 Saturdays after this one to get another 200,000 or so words in the can. Then David and I can slice and dice the material to fit, snipping material that duplicates and honing the explanatory footnotes on the stuff that makes the cut. Material not making the book will be available through another channel, be it digital files or a pdf ebook.

August will be the month to write, with a 10,000 word “hole” set aside for an introductory essay. The tough task will be condensing so much biographical and historical material to fit — one could quite literally fill an entire thick volume with the story of Debs’ life and the history of his activities through 1896. Remember, he would have been 41 years old in that year, more than half his life was over. It will prove a challenge, for sure.

If everything goes super smoothly, I’d like to send in the first manuscript on September 1 and to start turning my attention to the next volume before I have to start reading proof on the first.

           The best laid schemes o’mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley….

I found a batch of Pearson’s Magazine on eBay with dates running from 1917 to 1924. The magazine was social democratic in orientation, vaguely like The Liberator (minus the fantastic art), with novelist Frank Harris playing Max Eastman’s role as editor-in-chief. Price was beautiful, like two bucks a copy for a stack of 40 different — compare and contrast to The Liberator of the same vintage, which can bring $75 to $100 or more per copy. Suffice it to say I was tickled to make the buy. More so when one of the first articles I saw was a piece by EVD called “Susan B. Anthony: Pioneer of Freedom.” Ah, I’ve seen that before, I sighed, but I was still stoked to have hardcopy that I could scan up and run through OCR — beats the hell out of typing.

37-newmassesUpon further review — much to my surprise — I found that this was an entirely different article than the piece I thought it was, a 1909 bit written for Socialist Woman and republished in the 1916 collection, Labor and Freedom. Very cool, very cool. I spent some time and got a good clean scan of he rotten, brown paper — feel free to download the piece and have a read: “Susan B. Anthony: Pioneer of Freedom”

 More microfilm rolling in includes North American Review (1885-1936) and the first iteration of Life magazine (1885-1924-1936). Missing a couple reels but I’ve got the key dates in hand.

 Biggest addition to my library this month are some very well-preserved bound copies of The New Masses, the CPUSA’s literary-artistic-political weekly, for the years 1937, 1938, and the first half of 1939. Not really what I was intending to spend money on, but the guy who SHOULD have pulled the trigger wussed out and somebody had to step up or risk that stuff going lost. There’s an ongoing project to scan the magazine, which has never been properly microfilmed and which was printed on ultra-crappy high acid paper.

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do sometimes…

NewFiles

• “Railroad Managers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen” — Sept. 1884 article — 1,300 words

• “Employer and Employed” — Oct. 1884 article — 1,325 words

 “Tramps and Tramping” — Oct. 1884 article — 865 words

• “What is Success” — Oct. 1884 article — 750 words

• “Labor and Law” — Nov. 1884 article — 1,100 words

• “Enthusism” — Dec. 1884 article — 440 words

• “Capital and Labor” — Feb. 1885 article — 800 words

• “The Lessons of Elections” — Feb. 1885 article — 1,325 words

• “Progress and Poverty” — Feb. 1885 article — 670 words

• “The Attempted Blacklist Degradation of Employees” — March 1885 article — 875 words

“Education” — March 1885 article — 850 words

“Robert G. Ingersoll” — Feb. 1893 article — 1,675 words

Fix to “Keynote Address to 1st Convention of ARU” — June 1894 speech — (+200 words)

Fix to “Proclamation to the ARU” — June 1895 article — (+75 words)

“Cooperation Not Competition” — June 1895 interview — 1,325 words

“Let Labor Be Organized” — Oct. 1895 article — 800 words

“The Mind’s Workshop” — Oct. 1895 article — 1,425 words

“Statement to the AP on the Great Northern Situation” — Nov. 1895 statement — 625 words

“Shall the Standing Army of the United States Be Increased?” — Dec. 1895 statement — 2,025 words

“Consolidation” — Jan. 1896 article — 1,175 words

“The Coming Election” — Sept. 1896 article — 1,725 words

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” — Sept. 1896 article — 1,075 words

“An Uprising of the People” — Oct. 1896 speech — 2,870 words

….Word count =  282,180 words + 24,295 this week = 306,475 words

And one that I’m banking for Volume 4:

• “Susan B. Anthony: Pioneer of Freedom” — July 1917 article — 4,000 words

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