What is The Masses magazine?
What was the Masses all about?
The Masses published reportage, fiction, poetry and art by the leading radicals, feminists, and suffragettes of the time, including Max Eastman, John Reed, Carl Sandburg, Pablo Picasso, and poet Louis Untermeyer.
Why was it controversial?
The Masses took an antiwar stand and, in 1917, was accused of espionage and inciting civil disobedience.
That striking Masses cover art!
Cover by Ilonka Karasz, The Masses, December 1915
Writers included poet Amy Lowell, author Jack London, communist activist John Reed, Upton Sinclair, Sherwood Anderson, activist and journalist Louise Bryant, Floyd Dell, and Dorothy Day.
The suffragette movement
"In November 1915, The Masses, an early 20th century socialist magazine, weighed in on the raging debate over suffrage with an issue dedicated to the topic.
Interestingly, the magazine’s editor, Max Eastman, was the founding secretary of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage of the State of New York. This issue featured cartoons, poems, essays and articles on suffrage and the vote.
In “Adventures In Anti-Land,” novelist and journalist Floyd Dell goes undercover to an anti-suffrage organization’s office in New York, and writes humorously and sarcastically of his findings: “They show not merely that women isn’t fit to vote, they give good reasons for believing that she isn’t fit to live." *Source: suffragemedia
Why did it close down?
The Masses ceased publication at the end of 1917. In 1918 Eastman and several other editors twice stood trial under the Espionage Act; both trials produced hung juries.
In cases such as Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919) and Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925) and others, the United States Supreme Court struggled to draw the line between politically unpopular speech and actual threats to national security.