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Presentation Details


Moving to an Extreme: E Haldeman-Julius and his Little Blue Books

William P. Palmer.

In the USA in the 1920s, E. Haldeman-Julius published his little blue books, which were printed very cheaply and eventually sold at only 5cents each. He claimed this to be "A university in print". The books were amazingly popular and are still available second-hand today because of the astronomical numbers produced. Each of these features of the books, the small size, the low price, the claim that reading the books was like attending a university was an extreme feature of these books. Nearly 2000 titles were produced and 500 million his little blue books were sold. About 10% of the little blue books might loosely be labelled as science-related. Some of these science-related books are examined to see if the claim that they were "A university in print" can be substantiated. The story of this unlikely American entrepreneur puts his extraordinary success in the context of an increased understanding of science by the American public.


William P. Palmer  (Australia)
Senior lecturer
School of Education

Bill Palmer graduated from Exeter University, UK, in 1959. He taught science in the UK and Western Nigeria. He has worked in Papua New Guinea as a lecturer in education and has worked as a senior lecturer in education at the Northern Territory University since 1989. He has wide research interests, but is currently fascinated with the history of science.

  • The evolution of the book
  • Little blue books
  • History of science
  • Public understanding of science
Person as Subject
  • Haldeman-Julius, Emanuel, Haldeman-Julius, Marcet

(Virtual Presentation, English)