The Haldeman-Julius house is located at 310 N Sinnett Avenue in Girard, Crawford County. The two-story white house was home to Emanuel and Marcet Haldeman-Julius, who published the Little Blue Books. Luxurious compared to houses in the area, it became a cultural retreat for famous guests from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Emanuel Julius came to Girard in 1915 to work for the Appeal to Reason, the largest socialist periodical in the nation. In 1916 Julius married Marcet Haldeman, a local banker, and they hyphenated their names. They purchased the house on Sinnett Avenue in 1918. In 1919 they purchased the Appeal from the sons of founder Julius Wayland. They developed the small company to become known worldwide for the affordable “university in print” and sold between 300 and 500 million books.
The Greek Revival style house with ridge hipped roof was built in 1908. The Haldeman-Juliuses remodeled the house in 1923 adding two wings. The one on the north had a stage on first floor and a library on second floor. The south addition had a sunroom on first floor and study on second floor.
Famous guests to the farm included Upton Sinclair, whose book, The Jungle, was commissioned by the Appeal to Reason and purchased in 1919. Another famous guest was Jane Addams, founder of Hull House in Chicago and Marcet’s aunt. Clarence Darrow, criminal attorney known for defending John T. Scopes, in the 1925 trial on the teaching of evolution, was among their visitors. Others included Will Durant, author of Story of Philosophy, first published in the Little Blue Books, and Abraham Walkowitz, a modernist artist who painted murals of the farm during his 1945 visit. The couple shipped in seafood from the coasts. They hosted parties near their backyard swimming pool.
The Haldeman-Juliuses had two children and a foster daughter. In 1927 their home was site of the first companionate marriage in America between Josephine Wettstein, their foster daughter, and Aubrey Roselle. Marcet and Emanuel also renewed their vows at the same time. After Marcet’s death in 1941, Emanuel remarried. He died in 1951 and their children continued to own the house.
They sold the house in 1968. In 1973 it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John Steffans. Renovations were made in the 1960s and 1970s that included removing the first floor stage, added siding, removing some windows, and updating the kitchen. The library and bedrooms on second floor are essentially in original condition.
The house was nominated in 1988 to the Register of Historic Kansas Places for its historical association with Emanuel and Marcet Haldeman-Julius.
Entry: Haldeman-Julius House
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: September 2014
Date Modified: September 2014
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.