[Letter] [to] Friend

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[Letter] [to] Friend


Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 Jimmie Higgins
Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968. The profits of religion


Sinclair writes about his upcoming book "Jimmie Higgins" and details about it being published, along with prices and other information. He includes reviews of "Jimmie Higgins" and "The Profits of Religion".


Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968


Edwin Markham Archive, Horrmann Library


Wagner College, Staten Island, NY


Please contact the Horrmann Library at Wagner College for rights to use this digital image.









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Dear Friend :
I wish to inform the readers of "Upton Sinclair's" concerning "Jimmie Higgins".
Last spring it appeared that the war was going to last a long time, 'and that "Jimmie Higgins" would have to stand by the job and be killed in France. But now the face of the world is changed; the Kaiser is down and out, and they have taken "Jimmie Higgins" and sent him to Russia to fight against his Russian comrades, even though war was never declared against them. So our friend Jimmie Higgins has been made into a Bolshevik. Thinking that Jimmie's point of view ought to be known as quickly as possible, I have arranged to have the book published early in April.
I have found it impossible to reach the regular book-trade myself, and I think that "Jimmie Higgins" ought to reach this trade, so that non-Socialists may hear his story. Accordingly I have arranged with a firm of publishers in New York to handle the book for the trade. I am to have an edition of my own, which I may sell to my readers, giving them the advantage of wholesale rates, if they are willing to help in distributing the book to their friends. I enclose some circulars with opinions, which you will find useful if you wish to get up a club of purchasers. Orders should be sent promptly, so that we may know how many to print, and so that delay may be avoided. It is requested that you use the enclosed blank.
Prices of "Jimmie Higgins": Single copy, $1.70 postpaid; 5 copies, $5.33, express collect; 25 copies, $25.33, and 100 copies, $96.00, express or freight collect. I am able to make the following special combination offer : One copy each of "Jimmie Higgins", "The Profits of Religion", and "King Coal", all in cloth. for $3.35, postpaid. Cash must accompany all orders.
P. S.-I have received an offer from the publishers of "King Coal" to sell me the plates and copyright, which would make it possible for me to offer this book in cloth and paper at the same price as "The Profits of Religion." Please state how many copies you would take, so that I may decide if I can risk the venture.
A book which has been absolutely boycotted by the literary reviews of America.
A Study of Supernaturalism as a Source of Income and a Shield to Privilege; the first examination in any language of institutionalized religion from the economic point of view. "Has the labour as well as the merit of breaking virgin soil," writes Joseph McCabe.
This book has had practically no advertising and only two or three reviews in radical publications; yet, three months after publication, we are printing the twenty-sixth thousand, and are selling three hundred copies per day.
The pastor of the People's Church of Louisville, Kentucky, writes: "I had occasion to make a speech about your "Profits of Religion" to our People's Church, and am reporting herewith the sale of two hundred and forty volumes, our protest and appreciation of your masterly pen in the service of real religion."
From the Rev. John Haynes Holmes: “I must confess that it has fairly made me writhe to read these pages, not because they are untrue or unfair, but on the contrary, because I know them to be the real facts. I love the church as I love my home, and therefore it is no pleasant experience to be made to face such a story at this which you have told. It had to be done, however, and I am glad you have done it, for my interest in the church after all, is more or less incidental, whereas my interest in religion is a fundamental thing…Let me repeat again that I feel that you have done us all a service in writing of this book. Our churches today, like those of ancient Palestine, are the abode of Pharisees and scribes. It is as spiritual and helpful a thing now as it was in Jesus’ day for that fact to be revealed.”
From Luther Burbank: “No one has ever told ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’ more faithfully than Upton Sinclair in ‘The Profits of Religion.’”
From Louis Untermeyer: “Let me add my quavering alto to the chorus of applause of ‘The Profits of Religion’. It is something more than a book—it is a Work!”
From W.L. George, the English novelist: “I have just finished ‘The Profits of Religion’. I think it a work of the highest sincerity and regret only that 140 years after the death of Voltaire it should still be necessary that your brave pen be enlisted against venal mysticism. I entirely agree with you that while the religious impulse is human and lovely, the dogmatic faiths that have made a corner in it are hypocritical in intention and that they purposefully apply anaesthetics to the human intellect, that they conspire to keep it in ignorance, therefore in subjection to the masters, noble or wealthy, of a world made wretched.”
From Gertrude Atherton: “’The Profits of Religion’ is both erudite and courageous—aside from its compelling interest.”
From Sinclair Lewis: “I’ve been reading ‘Profits of Religion’ again. It isn’t merely that the book is so everlasting sound—its so delicious as well—literally delicious! You can taste the fine flavor of humor which alone can dispose of the pompous asses who pretend to be the only authorized traveling salesmen of All-Unknowable. I don’t know any book like it.”
A great many persons not in the book business have found it possible to sell this work at a profit. A great many friends of social justice have found it easy to form a club. As we are preparing this circular, there comes a letter from R. C. Kroll, associate editor of the “Trades Council Union News”, of St. Louis: “Got my thirty-five books yesterday and have disposed of most of them already.”
315 pages. Single Copy, paper, 50c postpaid; three copies $1.25; ten copies $3.00. By freight prepaid, 25 copies or more at 25 cents per copy. Single copy, cloth $1.00 postpaid; three copies, $2.25; ten copies $6.00. By freight prepaid, 25 copies or more at 50 cents per copy.
A STORY. By Upton Sinclair.
(To Be Published March 30th)
Jimmie Higgins is the fellow who does the hard work in the job of waking up the workers. Jimmie hates war-all war, and fights against it with heart and soul. But war comes, and Jimmie is drawn into it, whether he will or no. He has many adventures-strikes, jails, munitions explosions, draft-boards, army-camps, submarines and battles. "Jimmie Higgins Goes to War" at last, and when he does he holds back the German army and wins the Battle of "Chatty Terry". But then they send him into Russia to fight the Bolsheviki, and there "Jimmie Higgins Votes for Democracy".
A picture of the American working-class movement during the four years of world-war; all wings of the movement, all the various tendencies and clashing impulses are portrayed.
From "the Candidate".
I have just finished reading the first installment of "Jimmie Higgins" and I am delighted with it. It is the beginning of a great story a story that will be translated into many languages and be read by eager and interested millions all over the world. I feel that your art will lend itself readily to "Jimmie Higgins", and that you will be at your best in placing this dear little comrade where he belongs in the Socialist movement. The opening chapter of your story proves that you know him intimately. So do I and I love him with all my heart, even as you do. He has done far more for me than I shall ever be able to do for him. Almost anyone can be "The Candidate", and almost anyone will do for a speaker, but it takes the rarest of qualities to produce a "Jimmie Higgins". These qualities are developed in the "lower class" only. They are denied those who know not the trials and privations, the bitter struggle, the heart-ache and despair of the victims of man's inhumanity to his less fortunate fellow-man. You are painting a superb portrait of our "Jimmie" and I congratulate you. EUGENE V. DEBS.
From a Teacher
Have just finished reading "Jimmie Higgins". The tears are still in my eyes, tho the laugh got mixed up with them when I got to Eleeza Betooser! (I give "lessons to foreigners" during the winter, whose experience has given point to that mix-up.) I became so absorbed in Jimmie that the newly kindled fire in my little air-tight went out for lack of attention to the draft, and when I got to the end of Debs' speech, I discovered that I was hugging a tepid stove. BLANCHE WATSON.
From Mrs. Jack London
Jimmie Higgins is immense. He is real, and so are the other characters. I'm sure you rather fancy Comrade Dr. Service! The beginning of the narrative is delicious with an irresistible loving• humor; and as a change comes over it and the Big Medicine begins to work, one realizes by the light of 1918, what you have undertaken to accomplish. The sure touch of your genius is here, Upton Sinclair, and I wish Jack London might read and enjoy.
From a Socialist Artist
Jimmie Higgins' start is a master portrayal of that character. I have been out so long on these lecture tours that I can appreciate the picture. I am waiting to see how the story develops. It starts better than "King Coal".
From a "Jimmie"
Well, the October Magazine is O. K. and Jimmie Higgins 100 per cent. To a fellow that carried a Red Card 14 consecutive years it seems like reincarnation.
J. W. POWELL, Alameda, California.
From a Novelist
I have been intensely interested in "Jimmie Higgins", as it gives me a progressive point of view that I could not get elsewhere, and I get the whole picture owing to your skill, with no effort on my own part. GERTRUDE ATHERTON.
Prices of "Jimmie Higgins": Single copy, $1.70, postpaid; 5 copies, $5.33; express collect; 25 copies, $25.33, and 100 copies, $96 express or freight collect. All books will be shipped from Ncw York or vicinity.
Address: UPTON SINCLAIR, Pasadena, California.

Date Digital


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Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 , “[Letter] [to] Friend,” Wagner College Digital Collections, accessed October 16, 2021, https://wagnercollections.omeka.net/items/show/5131.