Collectible Lawson Publication: Direct Credits for Humanity (magazine)

[Between 2009 and 2011, I maintained a TypePad blog, “More Fiends,” intended to update my book Baseball Fiends and Flying Machines. Those posts can still be found in the Wayback Machine, but I stopped updating that site in 2011. Because this WordPress site promotes and updates all my books, I’d like to republish some of those earlier posts.]

Posted 7/29/2010:

One of the rarer and more collectible Alfred W. Lawson publications is the magazine Direct Credits for Humanity, published by Lawson’s Humanity Publishing Company between June, 1932 and mid-1935. As far as I know, 5 issues were published, each about 32 pages. By my reckoning, it predates the earliest issues of Lawson’s Direct Credits Society newspaper, the Benefactor, by almost two years.

Although the content is still most editorials/speeches by Lawson, Direct Credits for Humanity also has news about, articles by, lists of, and profiles of dedicated DCS officers. Very little of this is found in later Lawson DCS publications, other than in the photographic sections of his books.

The content of the magazine also demonstrates that Lawson, from the very beginning of the DCS, harbored no ambitions for an independent political movement. The DCS was all about pressuring elected officials–whatever their party affiliation–to adopt the Direct Credits platform for economic reform.

In Late September, 1931, Lawson had incorporated the Passenger Compartment Company in Wilmington, Delaware (where many companies filed their incorporation.) Sometime between late 1931 and June of 1932, Lawson had moved to Detroit, founded the Humanity Publishing Company, published Creation and Direct Credits for Everybody, and came out with the first issue of Direct Credits for Humanity magazine in June, 1932.

Detroit was already fertile ground for the vilification of “financiers.” During the 1920s, Henry Ford’s newspaper The Dearborn Independent made overt references to “financiers” being an international Jewish cabal. Lawson never made any obvious anti-Semitic statements, but his Detroit readers would have recalled Ford’s attitudes.

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