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Dearborn is a suburb of Detroit, located in Wayne County, Michigan, which lies on the River Rouge. Birthplace of the noted American industrialist and businessman Henry Ford (1863-1947), it remains the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company. Dearborn was originally settled as a stagecoach stop, known as Ten Eyck (or Bucklin) on the Sauk trail linking Detroit and Chicago. In 1833, a community called Dearbornville, named for the Revolutionary War hero, Henry Dearborn, was platted. In 1837, the Dearbornville Arsenal, sometimes also referred to as the "Detroit Arsenal," was completed on the strategic Chicago Road (now Michigan Avenue). It remained in use until 1877. The Commandant's Quarters is now part of the Dearborn Historical Museum. In 1893, the settlement was formally incorporated as the village of Dearborn. In 1917, the Ford Motor Company began building the River Rouge Assembly plant on the southern outskirts of the community. The resulting city of Fordson, established next to the plant, was consolidated into Dearborn in 1928, which had itself been incorporated as a city the previous year.

The Dearborn Independent was a weekly founded in 1901 under the editorship of Marcus Tullius Woodruff, previously editor-proprietor of the Ypsilantian, the Michigan State Democrat, and the Ypsilanti Sentinel. In 1918, Ford's private secretary Ernest G. Liebold bought the Independent from Woodruff for the Dearborn Publishing Company, of which Ford was president. The Independent became the official organ of the Ford Motor Company. From January 1919 until April 1925, "The Ford International Weekly" appeared in the masthead, and the paper was sometimes referred to by that name.

Henry Ford took a personal interest in the paper, and wrote a regular column "Mr. Ford's Page." He used his page and position of influence as proprietor to set the paper's editorial line. At its height during the mid-1920s, the Independent, aided by promotion required in Ford dealers' contracts, claimed a circulation of between 700,000 and 900,000. If true, this would make it second only to the New York Times in terms of national readership. From 1919, the paper was published in a 16-page format, and subscription cost five cents per issue or $1 per annum.

Ford's appointment of Edwin Gustav Pipp, previously managing editor of the Detroit News, appeared to indicate a serious journalistic purpose. This, however, was not the path the paper would follow. Pipp resigned as editor by April 1920, having learned of the Dearborn Publishing Company's intent to launch an antisemitic campaign. Pipp later published his The Real Henry Ford (1922). Pipp was replaced as editor of the Independent by William J. Cameron, who published articles such as the May 22, 1920 piece: "The International Jew: The World's Problem," which occupied the entire front page of that issue. Like many subsequent articles and stand-alone publications, the substance of the Independent article was based on the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first published in Russia in 1903. In January 1921, a statement titled "The Peril of Racial Prejudice," denouncing the Independent as "un-American" for its antisemitic position, was published and signed by 100 notables including President Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, and Clarence Darrow among others. In 1921, city ordinances were passed in Chicago and Toledo temporarily forbidding the sale of the Independent.

Many of the antisemitic articles published by the Dearborn Independent were republished in four paperbound volumes: The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem (November 1920); Jewish Activities in the United States (April 1921); Jewish Influence in American Life (November 1921); and Aspects of Jewish Power in the United States (May 1922). Collectively published as The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem, these tracts were widely distributed both within the United States and abroad. The Dearborn Independent closed in 1927 following a successful libel suit brought against Ford by prominent San Francisco lawyer Aaron Sapiro, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Jewish service organization B'nai B'rith. Despite this, prominent antisemite Gerald L.K. Smith published an abridged version ofThe International Jew in the late 1950s through his "Christian Nationalist Crusade" group based in Los Angeles.

Provided by: Central Michigan University, Clark Historical Library