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The New Jersey leader. : (Newark, N.J.) 19??-19??
Place of publication:
Newark, N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Newark, Essex, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Leader Pub. Association
Dates of publication:
  • English
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 11 (May 29, 1920).
sn 90063077
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The New Jersey leader. May 29, 1920 , Image 1


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New Jersey Leader

The New Jersey Leader was the official newspaper of the Socialist party of New Jersey and according to the masthead was "devoted to the interests of the working class." It was issued every Saturday at a cost of a dollar per year. Originally published as The Newark Leader, it changed its name to the New Jersey Leader on March 20, 1920. It was published by the Leader Publishing Association, with William John Fielding as the editor and Florence Wattles as the managing editor.

The Newark Leader was first issued in July 1915 by the Socialist party of Essex County, New Jersey. Fielding wrote editorials, reported on important meetings and oversaw the news generally. There were no reporters, but party members frequently brought news of their branches or other materials. The paper was printed in Reading, Pennsylvania, in a cooperative printing establishment which also printed papers for other groups in the East.

Fielding was an author, editor, and sexologist. He was born in New Jersey in 1886 and left school prior to completing the eighth grade. He worked a series of manual labor jobs including in blast furnaces and then as a sandhog, boring tunnels under the Hudson River. In 1906, he enrolled in bookkeeping and accountancy courses, and in 1909, was hired by the Tiffany Company. He took classes at the Rand School of Social Science and became interested in social problems and birth control. Fielding published articles in The New York Call, the daily newspaper of the Socialist Party, and he served as editor and literary editor of the Newark Leader and New Jersey Leader and was very active in New Jersey Socialist politics during the 1920s.

Florence Wattles was a suffragist and socialist and lectured on those issues in Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Wattles moved to New York City and worked at E.P. Dutton Publishing Company. She became the agency's director of publicity in 1925. Florence married William G. Bowers, an electrical engineer for the New York Telephone Company, on July 25, 1921, in Manhattan, New York.

As the official newspaper of the Socialist Party of New Jersey, the election of Eugene V. Debs in 1920 as he campaigned for president from prison was of utmost importance. The New Jersey campaign began in May 1920 and the newspaper covered it prominently. Debs received the largest number of popular votes ever received by a Socialist Party candidate in the United States, although not the largest percentage of the popular vote. The 1920 election was Debs's fifth and last attempt to become president.

In 1920, the Newark Leader was turned over to the state Socialist organization and the paper was renamed the New Jersey Leader and published in Camden.

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