The Freeman and Related Documents, 1920-1943

Collection Overview

Title: The Freeman and Related Documents, 1920-1943

Predominant Dates: 1937-1943

Arrangement: Arranged in three series: I. Documents pertaining to The Freeman, 1920-1924; II. Documents pertaining to The Freeman, 1937-1943, and; III. The Freeman, 1937-1943.

Biographical Note

The Freeman, 1920-1924

Albert Jay Nock and Francis Neilson published the first issue of The Freeman on March 17, 1920. Nock, a seasoned journalist who had worked for American Magazine and The Nation among others, hoped The Freeman would “meet the new sense of responsibility and the new spirit of inquiry” especially demanded in “the fields of economics and politics” in the years following World War One. In particular, Nock and Neilson hoped to challenge what they viewed as liberalism’s turn away from its core values and towards state-sponsored socialism.[1]

Nock was the weekly journal’s first and only editor. Neilson, who had served the British House of Commons as a leader of the Liberal Party from 1910-1916, occupied the post of publisher, and according to Charles H. Hamilton, “feeder of ideas.”[2] Although The Freeman covered a wide variety of contemporary issues from a variety of perspectives, both Nock and Neilson supported land value taxation which they viewed as an extension of “natural law” and a vital step towards the abolition monopolies in land and natural resources. Thus, writes Hamilton, “The Freeman was deeply steeped in the Georgist ethical, economic, and philosophical perspective…”[3]

Eager to move onto other projects, Nock and Neilson published the last issue of The Freeman on March 5, 1924.

The Freeman, 1937-1943

Georgist economic and ethical philosophy found a new voice in November 1937 when several trustees of the newly formed Henry George School of Social Science began publishing The Freeman: A Monthly Critical Journal of Social and Economic Affairs. Although the new monthly was not “a revival of the old Freeman nor an attempt at it,” the paper covered much of the same ground by exploring important social and political issues from the viewpoint of a “Free Economy.” As The Freeman publishers and editors explained,

In a world permeated with monopolistic thought—which finds expression politically in various forms of centralized power, socially in the subjugation of the individual, and economically in the tendency of wages and interest to the minimum of a mere existence—there is need for a publication that assays the news with the touchstone of freedom.[4]

Similar to its forbearer, The Freeman claimed no allegiance to a singular political ideology or propaganda, aiming instead to serve as a “media for the public expression of the best thought of the Georgist movement.”

New York Times economics reporter Will Lissner served as The Freeman’s first editor-in-chief. The following year, Frank Chodorov took over. Chodorov, who also served as the Director of the Henry George School of Social Science, edited The Freeman from 1938 until 1942. Throughout its nearly six years of publication, The Freeman boasted a robust roster of Associate and Contributing Editors which included Henry Ware Allen, Robert Clancy, Noah Alper, J.S. Codman, Stephen Bell, Paul Peach, George Bringmann, C.O. Steele among many others. Additionally, Albert Jay Nock, John Dewey, George Raymond Geiger, Henry George III, William C. de Mille, and Joseph Dana Miller served as Editorial Council.

In February 1938, The Freeman held an essay contest and promised $100 to the reader who submitted the best plan for “showing how the collection of rent and the abolition of taxes can be instituted—how it can be done with our existing political machinery—why it would work—what it would do.” The contest rules stipulated that the plan must not exceed 1500 words and would be judged according to its practicality, logic, and literary merit. The deadline for submissions was April 1, 1938. The winning essay, “The Graded Tax Plan” by Walter F. Fairchild was published in the July 1938 issue.

In 1942, C.O. Steele replaced Chodorov as Editor-in-Chief. The last issue of The Freeman was published in August 1943. According to Lancaster M. Greene, Chairman of The Freeman Corporation, declining subscriptions and effectiveness as “an instrument in the campaign for economic literacy” influenced The Freeman Board of Directors to cease publication. The following year, trustees of the Henry George School of Social Science began publishing The Henry George News to carry “objective news reports about the School headquarters, the Extensions, the Correspondence division, and Georgist activities in general.”[5]


[1] Charles H. Hamilton, “The Freeman, 1920-1924,” Modern Age 31 (Winter 1987): 52-53.
[2] Ibid., 53.
[3] Ibid., 55.
[4] “Get Behind The Freeman” The Freeman 1 (November 1937), 24.
[5] Lancaster M. Greene, “Farewell, Freeman, Hail Henry George News!” The Freeman 6 (August 1943), 2.

Collection Content

Series One: Documents pertaining to The Freeman, 1920-1924

J.S. Codman, “Unemployment and Our Revenue Problem.” The Freeman Pamphlets (1923)
Charles H. Hamliton, “The Freeman: 1920-1924”
Research inquiry for information about Nock and The Freeman (1984)

Francis Neilson (Co-Founder and Publisher, 1920-1924) 

“The Visitor to His Suffering Men” (repr., 1917)
Preface to Max Hirsch, Socialism the Slave State (1939)
“Henry George: The Scholar” (1940)
“The Conspiracy Against the English Peasantry” (repr., 1944)
“Hate: The Enemy of Peace. A Reply to Lord Vanisttart” (1944)
A.M. Sullivan, “Francis Neilson On His Eightieth Birthday” (January 26, 1947)
“The Centenary of the Communist Manifesto” (1948)
Newspaper clippings on the death of Neilson (1961)
“A Practical Program for a Just Peace” (undated)
The Last Chapter of “How Diplomats Make War” (undated)
“What One Great Book Can Mean to You” (undated)
The Makers of War Advertisement (undated)
My Life in Two Worlds Advertisement (undated)
Copy of a chart from My Life in Two Worlds (undated)
“The Soul of the Friend I Slew: A Poem” (undated)
“The Last Mile” (undated)

Albert J. Nock (Co-Founder and Editor 1920-1924)

“The State in Colonial America” (1935)
“The State: Lecture #2” (November 12, 1940)
“The State: Lecture #3” (November 19, 1940)
“The State: Lecture #4” (November 26, 1940)
“What to do with the Germans” (May 1945)
“Isaiah’s Job” excerpt from Free Speech and Plain Language (1962)
“Coagitations from Albert J. Nock” (1985)
“For What Their Worth: Q&A with Albert J. Nock” (undated)
“In Defense of the Individual” (reprint)

Series Two: Documents Pertaining to The Freeman, 1937-1943

Frank Chodorov (Publisher, 1937-1938 Editor, 1938-1942)

Aaron Steelman, “Frank Chodorov: Champion of Liberty” (1996)

Paul Peach (Assistant Editor, 1940-1943)

Paul Peach to Fellow Georgists, September 2, 1941
Paul Peach to Otto K. Dorn, February 17, 1942
Paul Peach “I am for Man” with handwritten note, undated

C.O. Steele (Assistant Editor, 1939-1942; Editor, 1942-1943)

Correspondence between C.O. Steele and O.K. Dorn, July-August 1949

George B. Bringmann (Assistant Editor, 1940-1943)

George B. Bringmann to Otto K. Dorn, August 26, 1944

The Freeman 1938 Essay Contest

Essay Contest Announcement
Essay Contest Scorecard

Essay Entries:

A Georgist, “Putting the Land Value Tax into Practice”
B.D. Roberts, “The Deluge”
Bessie Beach Truehart, “Collection of Economic Rent and Abolition of Taxes”
Charles J. Lavery, “A Practical Way Out”
Clyde Dart, “A Program for Increasing Municipal Revenues”
Entry of Alfred Chandler
Entry of Charles H. Ingersoll
Entry of James B. Ellery
Entry of Maurice P. Milner
Entry of J.H. Wise
Ernest Kooser, “Henry George: The Single Tax or Tax Abolition”
F. Darwin Smith, “How to Collect Our Rent”
Francis M. Botelho, “Equilibrating the Rent and Tax Systems”
George H. Duncan, “A Practical Tax Plan for New Hampshire”
George L. Smith, “Rent and the Three Indestructibles”
Gerald G. Dingman, “It Can be Done”
Harold Sudell, “To the Mayor and City Council of the City of Anywhere”
Lloyd Buchman, “Socialization of Natural Resources”
Benton Schaub, “A Plan for National Economic Recovery”
J.E. Fratzke, “Much to Much”
John C. Rose, “A Single Tax Plan Designed for Statesmen”
John T. Giddings, “A Sound Land Policy”
Julian Hickok, “Plan for Prosperity”
M.C. McConkey, “Solve the Tax Problem Simply”
R.L. Clements, “The Problem”
Robert B. Wallace, “Let’s Double Wages”
Robert Blacklock, “Way to Prosperity”
Unsigned Entry
Unsigned Entry, “Technique for the Collection of Rent in Lieu of Taxation”
V.A.L. “Proposals for an Improvement”
William A. Warren, “The Abolition of all Taxation”
William H. Quasha, “Economic Reform through Tax Reform”
William Scott, “The Plight of Man”

Winning Entry:

Walter Fairchild, “The Graded Tax Law Plan” (reprint)
Walter Fairchild, “The Graded Tax Plan.” A Paper presented at the Forum of the Citizens Housing Council of New York at the City Club (March 22, 1938)
Walter Fairchild, “The Graded Tax Law Proposed for the City of New York”

Series Three: The Freeman, 1937-1943