I was going to spend this week’s blog on The Mystery of 1909. Something really changed in that year for Gene Debs, a “blank space” between the gut punch 1908 election result — in which the Socialist Party’s nearly perfect campaign, during which hundreds of fervently-applauded Debs campaign speeches were delivered, only to be rewarded (?!?) with a paltry 20,000 votes bump up from the previous race — and a documentable 1910 touring frenzy.
While I’ve certainly got my theories about the 9-1/2 month void of public speeches and weak journalistic output, it’s not time yet to explore that in depth. I have instead spent the entire week working on an entirely different year — the road mania of 1910.
• • • • •
In 1907 Debs stopped working as an entrepreneurial touring lecturer in the vein of his idol, Col. Robert Ingersoll, and instead took his place as an apparently well-compensated employee of the Appeal to Reason — the largest socialist newspaper in the country. Recovering from throat surgery, Debs stopped public speaking and jumped into journalism, becoming intimately involved in the Haywood-Moyer-Pettibone affair and writing copiously on that topic. He moved to Girard and worked from a desk in the Appeal to Reason office, occasionally reporting from the road and making a few short trips home to his more or less abandoned wife in Terre Haute.
This period of intensive journalism continued through the end of August 1908. I already have a total of 57 articles typed up and “in the can” for this interval, with dozens of others failing to make the cut. It was a strong period for written journalism. On the other hand, I count only about 20 speeches he made during this same interval — an average of fewer than one per month. I may have missed a few, but not many. Writer? Yes. Speaker? Barely. A big change for the touring lecturer Debs…
Then from August 30 through November 2, 1908, was the period of the Red Special, when he made literally hundreds of election campaign speeches: a handful of ten or fifteen minute whistle-stop appeals at scheduled railroad stations each day, followed by large lecture hall speeches in the evening. This was election fare, and Debs went at it hard.
Then came the actual vote and the bad result.
Something went haywire in 1909. Depression? Perhaps. Alcoholism? Not out of the question. There are few tea leaves, but there is a big hole in the Debs body of work, both written and spoken. Outside of one “guest edited” issue of the Appeal to Reason, March 6, 1909, there are fewer than 40 total pieces attributed to Debs for the year, many of which are reprints of previously published material — epigrams and excerpts. His count of speeches for 1909? Zero through August 21. Then a short tour, perhaps 20 dates to the end of the year in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.
There is, in short, a big activity hole between November 1908 and August 1909.
Then in 1910, came a return to full-fledged touring frenzy, this time under the auspices of the Appeal to Reason.
Here is how the deal went:
Debs and Warren Meetings
by George D. Brewer
Chicago is planning a gigantic Debs-Warren meeting for October 5th, at which both of these noted working class champions will participate. Debs, with his wonderful eloquence and thorough knowledge of the labor movement, and Warren, with his splendid and unsurpassed logic and conclusive arguments on the rights of free press, speech, and assemblage, will give the winding city a shaking up that will be felt from center to circumference. It is planned to make this the biggest meeting of this kind ever pulled off on American soil.
From Chicago…Debs will pursue a western course. On October 6th, Debs will speak in Milwaukee, thence through Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon for from two to four dates each and wind up the last two weeks before election in a whirlwind campaign through California.
Locals in the states named above desiring a Debs-Appeal meeting should make application at once to their state secretary. There are still a few dates open and if you act act promptly you may be able to secure one.
There isn’t a city in the United States with a population of ten or more thousand, with a good working local, that cannot make of one of these meetings a huge success.
Listen! Eugene V. Debs is the greatest living socialist orator.
The Appeal to Reason is the most powerful socialist paper in the world.
You get them both for less than the price of one.
Guarantee a thousand subscribers to the Appeal and get a Debs lecture free.
Any local can accomplish more for socialism in three or four weeks working up one of these meetings, than in a whole year of ordinary propaganda effort.
We have now held over 100 of these meetings and not a single local has ever in the slightest degree complained or expressed regret after everything was over and settlement made, but have universally congratulated themselves on taking advantage of the opportunity to secure Debs and add a thousand or more new readers to the Appeal in their locality on terms so entirely satisfactory.
Kansas City, Missouri, cleared over $400 on their meeting for the local; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, in Ohio; Pittsburgh and Reading, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan and several others approximately $200, while more than half of all the meetings held had a surplus of from $25 to $150 after the smoke had cleared away and settlement for all expense had been made. In many of the cities where the largest and most successful meetings were held the locals paid as high as $300 for the hall.
Locals in line with the itinerary now being arranged that secure one of these meetings will be enabled to strike the most effective blow for socialism it has ever been able to deliver.
We recommend that you write to your state secretary or direct to the Appeal office for definite terms. (Appeal to Reason, whole no. 766 (Aug. 6, 1910), p. 4)
• • • • •
J.E. Snyder handled the booking through the Appeal office in Girard, with Brewer traveling with Debs and delivering warm-up speeches and introducing Debs as necessary. Any Socialist Party local promising to purchase 1,000 forty-week Appeal subscriptions at approximately 20 cents per subscription ($200) would receive not just the newspapers but an appearance by Debs. Sale of tickets at 25 cents a seat (or more) and sale of literature at the event would cover these costs.
The Appeal paid Debs, the paper gained subscribers, and the Socialist locals almost invariably seemed to have covered their costs, frequently netting surpluses of from $100 to $400 for their trouble.
Win – win.
And so, without further ado, have a look at the itinerary of Debs’s rather murderous 1910 Appeal to Reason tours. Those listed “scheduled” were publicly announced but not 100% confirmed to have been filled.
• • • • •
1910 TOUR NUMBER 1 — IOWA, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA — 34 DATES
• Jan. 13, 1910 (H) — CHICAGO at Orchestra Hall (168 Michigan Ave., between Adams St. and Jackson Blvd), 8pm.
• Jan. 16 (Su) — SPRINGFIELD, MO scheduled at Landers Theater, 2 pm.
• Jan. 17 (M) — JOPLIN, MO scheduled at Auditorium, 8 pm.
• Jan. 20 (H) — OMAHA, NE scheduled at Washington Hall (18th & Harney St.), 8 pm.
• Jan. 22, 1910. (Sa) — INDIANAPOLIS, IN. Speech to the national convention of the United Mine Workers of America.
• Jan. 24. (M) — SIOUX CITY, IA scheduled at Auditorium, 8 pm.
• Jan. 25. (U) — OTTUMWA, IA scheduled at Armorg Hall, 8 pm.
• Jan. 26. — DES MOINES, IA scheduled at YMCA Auditorium, 8 pm
• Jan. 27 (H) presumed — ASHLAND, OH at the opera house. Hometown of Grosscup, a cold start for the first 20 minutes. Then he unleashed on Grosscup and was warmly received. Brought the house down with the line “You know his record here as a citizen and I know his record in Chicago as a judge.” (Grosscup was the perpetrator of a sexual impropriety scandal with a married woman.)
• Jan. 28. (F) — JACKSON, MI scheduled at Masonic Temple, 8 pm
• Jan. 30. (Su) — AKRON, OH at Grand Opera House, 3 pm. Packed to the rafters, with 500 turned away. Debs spoke for two hours.
• Feb. 2. — FINDLAY, OH scheduled at Gillette Opera House, 8 pm
• Feb. 3. (H) — SPRINGFIELD, OH scheduled Springfield City Hall, 8 pm
• Feb. 4 (F) — CAMBRIDGE, OH scheduled at City Hall, 8 pm
• Feb. 5. (Sa) — HAMILTON, OH scheduled at Coliseum, 8 pm
• Feb. 6 (Su) — DAYTON, OH at National Theater, 2:30 pm to a full house. With a socialist band.
• Feb. 7 (M) — COLUMBUS, OH at Memorial Hall, 8 pm
• Feb. 8 (U) — CANTON, OH at Auditorium, 8 pm. Venue said to be the “finest and largest in the State of Ohio” (Appeal 100219p2).
• Feb. 9 — MANSFIELD, OH scheduled at Memorial Hall, 8 pm
• Feb. 10 (H) — CINCINNATI, OH at Music Hall, 8 pm
• Feb. 11 (F) — PORTSMOUTH, OH scheduled Kendall Hall, 8 pm. Big snow storm though.
• Feb. 12 (Sa) — CLEVELAND, OH spoke at Gray’s Armory, 8 pm
• Feb. 13 (Su) — EAST LIVERPOOL, OH scheduled at Ceramic Theater, 2:30 pm
• Feb. 13 (Su) — STEUBENVILLE, OH scheduled Grand Opera House, 8 pm
• Feb. 14 (M) — YOUNGSTOWN, OH, Auditorium, 8pm
• Feb. 15. (U) — NEW CASTLE, PA, Emmanuel Baptist Church
• Feb. 16 — ROCHESTER, PA scheduled at Grand Opera House, 8 pm
• Feb. 17 (H) — UNIONTOWN, PA to packed house despite bad weather at Grand Opera House, 8 pm
• Feb. 18 (F) — GREENSBURG, PA scheduled at St. Clair Theater, 8 pm
• Feb. 19 (Sa) — PITTSBURGH, PA at Carnegie Music Hall, 8 pm
• Feb. 20 (Su) — DU BOIS, PA spoke at at Avenue Theater, 2:30 pm; admission 25 cents
• Feb. 21 (M) — READING, PA scheduled at Auditorium, 8 pm
• Feb. 22 (U) — POTTSVILLE, PA scheduled at Union Hall, 8:15 pm
• Feb. 23 — PHILADELPHIA, PA spoke to 2,000 at Labor Lyceum Hall (headquarters of the German building trades union), 8 pm. Streetcar strike was on. Plainclothes detectives in audience.
• • • • •
1910 TOUR NUMBER 2 — WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK — 21 DATES
• March 13 (Su) — WHEELING, WV to more than 1,000 at Victoria Theater, 2:30 pm. SPOKE A SECOND TIME IN THE EVENING, also to a packed house. National Organizer George Goebel was able to route in and served as chairman of the meetings. Collection took in about $80.
• March 14 (M) — CUMBERLAND, MD scheduled BUT CANCELLED, Academy of Music, 8 pm. Hall was burned to the ground a few hours before the meeting, cause unknown. As the hall was on the second floor it would have been a massive catastrophe if it had occurred a few hours later. See: Appeal, 100326p2.
• March 15 (U) — HAGERSTOWN, MD, First Hose Hall, 8 pm. Big rainstorm did not deter turnout, which exceeded capacity of the hall.
• March 16 — WASHINGTON, DC, National Rifles Armory, 8 pm. Professor Coleman, a former abolitionist now active in the local socialist movement, presided.
• March 17 (H) — BALTIMORE, MD scheduled, Albaugh’s Theater (Charles and Preston Sts.), 8 pm.
• March 19 (Sa) — Afternoon: PHILADELPHIA, PA at Labor Lyceum Hall. An estimated 10,000 could not gain admission to the hall. A riot against the police outside.
Night: CAMDEN, NJ at Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall, 8 pm
• March 20 (Su) — ELIZABETH, NJ, Proctor’s Theater, 2:30 pm. Introduced by Rev. Alexander Irvine of NYC.
• March 22 (U) — NEWARK, NJ spoke at Wever’s Coliseum, 8 pm.
• March 23 — JERSEY CITY to 2,000 people at the Grand View Casino (Ogden & Franklin Sts.). Went on late, after 9 pm, and was greeted by an ovation lasting 5 minutes. Speaks for more than 90 minutes. Coverage in NY Call, 3/24/10.
March 24 (H) — BROOKLYN, NY, Lecture at Brooklyn Labor Lyceum, 949 Willoughby. Tickets sold for 25 cents general, 50 cents reserved, with every ticket entitling the holder to a 40 week subscription to the Appeal to Reason. Introduced by Dr. Furman. Walked on to an ovation lasting over five minutes. Debs had a slight cold. Crowd rushed the platform afterwards “eager to press his hand, or even touch his garments. It was with extreme difficulty that they managed to get him away from the enthusiastic crowd.”
• March 25 (F) — CUMBERLAND, MD MAKE UP DATE for the event cancelled by fire, scheduled for the Maryland Opera House. First ever speech in that city by Debs.
• March 27 (Su) — JOHNSTOWN, NY spoke at Grand Opera House, 8 pm. First ever speech in that city by Debs. Crowd seeking admission exceeded capacity.
• March 29 (U) — SYRACUSE, NY at Turn Hall, 8 pm. Venue was “totally inadequate” for the crowd seeking admission. (Appeal 100409p2)
• March 30 — WATERTOWN, NY spoke at State Armory, 8 pm. Every available seat filled. First ever speech in that city by Debs.
• April 1 (F) — AUBURN, NY spoke at Burtis Auditorium, 8 pm.
• April 3 (Su) — ROCHESTER, NY spoke at Cook’s Opera House.
• April 4 (M) — BUFFALO, NY spoke at Walker’s Dancing Academy, 8 pm.
• April 5 (U) — JAMESTOWN, NY spoke at City Hall, 8 pm
• April 6 — UTICA, NY spoke at Manchester Hall, 8 pm
• April 7 (H) — Afternoon? NEW YORK CITY closing meeting at Columbia College, Horace Mann Auditorium. Debs spoke for 90 minutes to a non-socialist student crowd.
Night: NEW YORK CITY at Cooper Union on “The Warren Case Before the Courts.” Tickets 25 cents, platform 50 cents. Tickets good for 40 week subscription to Appeal. Introductory remarks by Lucien Sanial. Charles Edward Russell served as chairman of the meeting, with Debs coming on at 8:40 after a 10 minute introduction. Full and enthusiastic meeting. About 200 copies of the Appeal’s Writings of Debs sold.
• • • • •
1910 TOUR NUMBER 3 — MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, ARKANSAS — 9 DATES
• April 27 — BRAINARD, MN at Gardner’s Hall, 8 pm. Met at the train station by mayor O. Osdahl and three members of the city council, all Socialists.
• April 28 (H) — DULUTH, MN at Lyceum Theater, 8 pm.
• April 29 (F) — HIBBING, MN at Workers’ Hall, a building constructed by the Finnish Socialist Federation, 8 pm.
• April 30 (Sa) — SUPERIOR, WI to a full house at the Grand Opera House, 8 pm
• MAY DAY (Su)— Afternoon: MINNEAPOLIS, MN to a full house at the Auditorium, 3 pm. Introduced by C.F. Dight. Audience estimated at 4,000.
• Night: ST. PAUL, MN scheduled for St. Paul Auditorium, 8 pm.
• May 3 (U) — KANSAS CITY, MO scheduled Convention Hall, 8 pm.
• May 7 (Sa) — FORT SMITH, AR spoke to 2,000 paid admission Electric Park Auditorium, 7:30 pm
• May 9 (M) — TEXARKANA, AR at Grand Opera House, 9:45-11:30 pm [originally scheduled for a temporary structure erected for a revival meeting but cancelled at last minute.] Preceded by a spontaneous street meeting from 7:30 to 9:30.
• • • • •
1910 TOUR NUMBER 4 — KENTUCKY, INDIANA, TENNESSEE, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, CONNECTICUT, NEW JERSEY, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN — 23 DATES
• May 21 (Sa) — LOUISVILLE, KY at Masonic Theater, 8 pm.
• May 22 (Su) — EVANSVILLE, IN to a full house at Evans Hall, 8 pm.
• May 23 (M) — PADUCAH, KY scheduled Auditorium Skating Rink, 8 pm
• May 24 (U) — MEMPHIS, TN to full house at Bijou Theater, 8 pm
• May 25 — NASHVILLE, TN at Ryman Auditorium, 8 pm
• May 26 (H) — ELWOOD, IN at Wigwam Hill, 8 pm Had to travel nearly all night and all day to reach the town, which was home to a number of striking steel workers.
• May 27 (F) — MUNCIE, IN scheduled Wysor Grand Opera House, 7:30 pm
• May 28 (Sa) — CAMBRIDGE, OH scheduled Colonial Theater, 8 pm
• May 30 (M) — Afternoon: HARRISBURG, PA scheduled Furtang Park, 4 pm
Evening: HARRISBURG scheduled Board of Trade Auditorium, 8 pm
• May 31 (U) — SCRANTON, PA scheduled Columbia Theater, 8 pm
• June 2 (H) — WATERBURY, CT scheduled Buckingham Hall, 8 pm
• June 3 (F) — HARTFORD, CT scheduled Foot Guard Hall, 8 pm
• June 4 (Sa) — PASSAIC, NJ scheduled Passaic Theater, 8 pm.
• June 5 (Su) — BRIDGEPORT, CT scheduled Fells Theater, 3 pm
• June 6 (M) — BROCKTON, MA scheduled Carter Hall, 7:30 pm
• June 7 (U) — FITCHBURG, MA scheduled Fitchburg City Hall, 8 pm
• June 10 (F) — DETROIT, MI scheduled Light Guard Armory, 8 pm
• June 11 (Sa) — PORT HURON, MI scheduled Auditorium, 8 pm
• June 12 (Su) — KALAMAZOO, MI scheduled Majestic Theater, 3 pm
• June 13 (M) — GRAND RAPIDS, MI scheduled Powell’s Opera House, 8 pm
• June14 (U) — SAGINAW, MI scheduled Auditorium 8 pm
• June 15 — GREEN BAY, WI scheduled Green Bay Theater, 8 pm
• • • • •
A ONE OFF APPEARANCE?
• June 25, 1910 — SCHENECTADY, NY spoke to a full house at the Opera House. Spoke until 10 pm. There is a June 26 letter in Constantine, v. 1, pp. 364-365 documenting this but the date is provided by Constantine; not sure myself. Debs does mention going to the Mayo brothers at Rochester for surgery.
Debs had surgery of some sort at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, during the last week of July 1910. In his Debs biography Ray Ginger indicates (with zero documentary evidence presented) that it was a second throat surgery. My best guess is that it was actually back surgery, based on evidence he suffered from sciatica and a letter of his wife saying that EVD was in pain and unable to get comfortable to sleep after surgery.
• • • • •
1910 TOUR NUMBER 5 — OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, CONNECTICUT, NEW HAMPSHIRE, VERMONT, MASSACHUSETTS, RHODE ISLAND, ILLINOIS — 15 or 16 DATES
• Sept. 1, 1910 (H) — FORT WAYNE, IN spoke at Temple Theater, 8 pm
• Sept. 2 (F) — ST. MARYS, OH spoke at Grand Opera House, 8 pm
• Sept. 3 (Sa) — MEADVILLE, PA spoke at EXPOSITION PARK, 3pm, 11 miles outside of town. The auditorium was inadequate to hold the crowd that assembled, so the event was held outdoors at the Race Track Grandstand. In addition to the 1,000 subs delivered to the Appeal, the local made $100 on the appearance.
• Sept. 4 (Su) — WILKES BARRE, PA was initially scheduled but seems to have been cancelled[???]
• Sept. 5 (M) — LABOR DAY MERIDEN, CT spoke at Town Hall, 8 pm. The day began with a picnic at an adjacent park sponsored by the city’s labor unions.
• Sept. 6 (U) — MANCHESTER, NH spoke at Park Theater, 8 pm. Rain reduced attendance, but the local nevertheless came out in the black after paying for their 1,000 Appeal subscriptions. Event was coordinated by a Comrade Henning. Meeting was addressed by Warren Drew, Socialist candidate for governor of NH.
• Sept. 7 — CONCORD, NH spoke at Phoenix Hall, 8 pm. Meeting was addressed by Warren Drew, Socialist candidate for governor of NH.
• Sept. 8 (H) — BARRE, VT spoke at Howland Hall, 8pm. Attended by a considerable number of foreign-born workers.
• Sept. 9 (F) — FRANKLIN, NH spoke at Opera House, 8 pm. Event was coordinated by C.D.J.P. Burke, state organizer of NH.
• Sept. 10 (Sa) — LACONIA, NH spoke at Armory, 8 pm. First Debs appearance in this town. E.B. Young was the event coordinator. Armory “almost filled to capacity.”
• Sept. 12 (M) — SALEM, MA spoke at North Street Skating Rink, 8 pm. W.R. Eldridge was chairman of the meeting.
• Sept. 13 (U) — LYNN, MA spoke at Odd Fellows’ Hall, 8 pm. Harrie Deorsy and Comrade Henry were singled out as the leading Socialists in town. Sixty dollars worth of literature sold.
• Sept. 14 — GLOUCHESTER, MA spoke at City Hall, 8 pm. The local there had less than 10 members, headed by Com. Asharpe and Com. Peabody.
• Sept. 15 (H) — PROVIDENCE, RI [might have been F 16th], spoke to 3,000, tickets were 25 and 35 cents. Debs received a standing ovation lasting several minutes at the start. Fred Hurst, state secretary, was the organizer of the meeting.
• Sept. 17 (Sa) — PIQUA, OH spoke at Opera House, 8 pm. Said to be one of the largest in the history of the town. Several hundred people traveled in from Dayton and other neighboring towns. Com. Robert Johnson was chief organizer. Meeting was preceded by a parade winding through the downtown to the meeting place. Comrade Lentz was chairman of the meeting.
• Sept. 18 (Su) — CHICAGO, IL at Riverfront Park, attended by an estimated 12,000. Red bunting in abundance. Meeting opened by Seymour Stedman, who made a 15 minute speech before introducing George Brewer. Then Winfield Gaylord spoke for 30 minutes on Milwaukee affairs. The appearance of Debs brought a mighty roar. Debs spoke for almost two hours, then left for home aboard a C&EI train.
• • • • •
1910 TOUR NUMBER 7 — ILLINOIS, WISCONSIN, NORTH DAKOTA, MONTANA, WASHINGTON, OREGON, IDAHO, WYOMING, COLORADO — 33 DATES
• Oct. 1, 1910 (Sa) — BELLEVILLE, IL spoke at Lyric Theater, 8 pm. Meeting was preceded by a 20-piece marching band leading a “monster parade” through the center of town. Adolph Germer opened the meeting at 8, delivering a brief and eloquent speech introducing James H. Brower, who spoke for 15 minutes. Active organizers were Com. John Wachter and Andrew Wilson.
• Oct. 3 (M) — MOLINE, IL spoke at at Barrymore Theater, 8 pm. Organizer was Com. Moxell.
• Oct. 4 (U) — BLOOMINGTON, IL spoke at Coliseum, 8 pm. Weaker attendance than previous two Illinois dates. New secretary Gu Edberg was organizer. Chairman was Eugene Brais, secretary of the Journeymen Tailor’s Union of America.
• Oct. 5 — ROCKFORD, IL spoke at Armory Hall, 8pm, to a packed house, with more than 1600 paid admissions.Chairman Oscar Agren was a Socialist member of the city council. Congressional candidate Thomas Streator delivered the preliminary speech. A dozen girls and young women in red sashes acted as ushers. Arvid Gustafson was organizer of the event.
• Oct. 6 (H) — MILWAUKEE, WI scheduled at Grand Avenue Congregational Church, 8 pm
• Oct. 8 (Sa) — FARGO, ND scheduled at Opera House, 8 pm.
• Oct. 9 (Su) — GRAND FORKS, ND scheduled at Auditorium, 3 pm
• Oct. 10 (M) — DEVIL’S LAKE, ND spoke to large crowd at Grand Opera House, 8:30 pm. The local reported a surplus of $400 from the appearance.
• Oct. 11 (U) — MINOT, ND scheduled at Spring Lake Park Auditorium, 8 pm
• Oct. 13 (H) — GREAT FALLS, MT spoke at Grand Opera House to a full house.
• Oct. 14 (F) — HELENA, MT spoke. Organized at last second by the local there due to open date on the itinerary. Com. Dr. Willet the moving force. Small meeting.
• Oct. 15 (Sa) — BUTTE, MT spoke at Broadway Theater, 8 pm. State Sec. L.J. Duncan was chief organizer and served as chairman.
• Oct. 17 (M) — MOSCOW, ID spoke at Eggan’s Hall, 8 pm. Packed house, said to be the largest political gathering in the history of the city. Com. Henry McGregor chair. A train came in from Colfax, WA with 200 people.
• Oct. 18 (U) — LEWISTON, ID spoke at Temple Theater, 8 pm. Ernest Untermann, then living in Clearwater, ID, gave a “spicy ten-minute speech” to open.
• Oct. 19 — SPOKANE, WA spoke at State Armory, 2nd and McClellan St., 8 pm. Crowd of 3,000 in attendance, with Com. Dave Coates in the chair. Local reported a surplus of about $300.
• Oct. 20 (H) — EVERETT, WA to 2,000 people at Big Coliseum Auditorium. Arrived late at 8:30, said to be a usual occurrence for that leg of the trip. Debs spoke for 1:45.
• Oct. 21 (F) — SEATTLE, WA spoke at Dreamland Rink, 8 pm. Crowd was between 3,000 and 4,000. Hulet M. Wells, recently fired by the post office for political activity, was in the chair and delivered a 15 minute speech to open. The meeting was said to clear a net of $400 for the local.
• Oct. 22 (Sa) — PORTLAND, OR spoke at Armory, 8pm to a crowd of 3,500. Tom Lewis’ daughter Mildred Lewis sang “The Red Flag” in the preliminaries. Tom Lewis was cin he chair and delivered the introductory speech. Local reported a surplus of about $300.
• Oct. 23 (Su) — MEDFORD, OR spoke at Natatorium Hall, 3:30 pm Com. Sherman and Miller organized the Medford and Salem events.
• Oct 24 (M) — SALEM, OR spoke at Methodist Episcopal Church Tabernacle, 2 pm and a second meeting hastily organized for the evening to accommodate demand.
• Oct. 25 (U) — TACOMA, WA spoke Germania Hall, 8:15 pm to 2,000. Leslie Aller, SPA candidate for Congress, was in the chair, with P.A. Johnson of the Swedish local coordinating ticket sales and handling finances.
• Oct. 26 — ABERDEEN, WA scheduled Grand Theater, 8:15 pm
• Oct. 27 (H) — BELLINGHAM, WA spoke at Fairyland Rink, 8 pm to a full house. Com. Charles S. Wallace in the hair.
• Oct. 28 (F) — SEDRO-WOOLLEY, WA spoke at Grand Opera House, 8 pm
• Oct. 30 (Su) —BAKER CITY, OR scheduled Baker Opera House, 2 pm
• Oct. 31 (M) — NAMPA, ID spoke at Opera House, 8:30 pm. Com. Frank Steward, leader of the Red Special Band, was a chief organizer, together with Coms. Mr. & Mrs. Cory of the successful meeting.
• Nov. 1 (U) — BOISE spoke to an overflow crowd of about 2,500 at the Pinney Theater, 8 pm
• Nov. 2 — POCATELLO, ID scheduled at Auditorium, 8 pm
• Nov. 3 (H) — SALT LAKE CITY, UT spoke to a full house at the Salt Lake Theater, 8 pm. Com. Lawrence in the chair. Hundreds of others were outside, unable to gain admission. Com. Sorenson handled the financials.
• Nov. 4 (F) — PROVO, UT spoke at Mozart Hall, 8 pm, traveling by auto round trip from SLC. William Thurston Brown made the preliminary speech.
• Nov. 5 (Sa) — ROCK SPRINGS, WY spoke at Finn Hall, 8 pm at meeting organized by State Secretary Paul J. Paulson of that town.
• Nov. 6 (Su) — RAWLINS, WY spoke at Masonic Hall, 8 pm. The town had a 3,000 population; the largest hall seated 500. Nevertheless, the amount for 1,000 Appeal subscriptions was raised, with Com. Charles Seith handling organizing task. A coal camp at Hanna, located 40 miles away, provided $100 of the necessary amount. House was SRO. This was the only meeting on the tour where expenses exceeded revenue.
• Nov. 7 (M) — DENVER, CO spoke at First Baptist Church, 8 pm on the night before the election. Largest church in the city filled and several hundred turned away. All preliminaries were waived so that Debs could speak as long as possible before leaving to catch the 9:45 Burlington train for Chicago.
So it ended. Debs was not to speak again until January 1911.
The final Western tour alone is said to have raised $4,000 for 30 locals and generated 38,000 new subscriptions for the Appeal to Reason.
My total count for the year is 136 speaking dates, for extemporaneous speeches that typically lasted for two hours.
Busy, busy, busy year!
The revised deadline for Eugene V. Debs Selected Works: Volume 4 is December 31, 2019. Here are some of the latest files typed up into editable form.
- “The Democratic Injunction Plank” (Aug. 8, 1908) — 708 words
- “Industrial Unionism and the Philadelphia Streetcar Strike” (circa May 1, 1910) — 1,265 words
- “Open Letter on the Immigration Question” (circa May 19, 1910) — 865 words
- “Building the Industrial Union: Open Letter to Tom Mann” (circa June 1910) — 1,148 words
- “Roosevelt and Prizefighting” (July 30, 1910) — 616 words
- “The Los Angeles Times Bombing — Who Committed That Crime?” (Oct. 15, 1910) — 2,278 words
Word count: 257,910 tagged for possible inclusion, 18,716 tagged for exclusion, for a total of 276,626 words converted to editable text in association with this volume. (The limit for publication in Volume 4 is approximately 260,000 words.)
David Walters will be running all of this material up on Marxists Internet Archive in coming days.
To find it, please visit the Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive.
Newspapers digitized for free download via Marxists Internet Archive this week:
Chicago Daily Socialist (May – Sept. 1910)