Friday, April 16, 2004

26 Plain Talk

I thought it would be a nice change of pace--checking into the history and influence of a journal from the 1920s, but so far, I haven't been able to find out much about Plain Talk, October 1927, Volume 1, Number 1. There doesn't seem to be a cataloged copy in OhioLink, but WorldCat says the Ohio Historical Society has it. Ulrich's Periodical Directory doesn't mention it. I have been able to locate several old copies at, the premiere issues going for $20-$30 (mine was found at a yard sale for $.25 and is in tough shape, missing the back cover). By 1930 it was in volume 7, no. 1, which makes for an odd enumeration scheme. In the mid-1940s, there was an anti-Communist journal by the same title, but probably not related. Some of that magazine's articles have been anthologized.

Plain Talk was edited by G.D. Eaton who wrote on p. 18:
What! Another magazine? . . .with a mission, dedicated within the limits of human fallibilities and prejudices, to Tolerance, and naturally to locking horns with Intolerance. To this end it will be inconsistent, foolish, incongruous, unreasonable, good-humored, bad humored and even hodge-podge, but never dull. . . We shall truckle to no advertisers, kiss no political toe, walk no fences, boost no friends, fear no enemies."
There is some joking about shooting the editor or publisher, and while tracking down this elusive magazine I did learn that Walter Ligget, who was murdered, had worked for Plain Talk. The coupon on p. 128 describes it as honest and fearless, interesting, informative and bright, and that one needn't be a highbrow nor a radical to read it.

Authors of articles in the first issue included Clarence Darrow (on Prohibition), Will Durant, A. Hyatt Verrill (archaeologist, explorer) on socialism, Mella Russell McCallum (on atheism), a Methodist writing about the possibility of a Catholic president, Don Sietz (on graft), Baron E. de Cartier, the Belgium ambassador, providing thoughts on the kindness and generosity of Americans, particularly toward Belgium. The November issue promised articles by Louis Bromfield, Morris Fishbein and articles on atheists, alimony and Chatauquans.

Plain Talk
October 1927, Volume 1, number 1
Status: ceased with Vol. 16, no. 7 (August 1938) per WorldCat
Publication schedule monthly
Subject: Politics
Plain Talk, Inc.
188 West Fourth St.
New York, NY
$.35; $4.00
President: B.A. Mackinnon
Editor: G.D. Eaton

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