The Massachusetts Single Tax League, 1890-1919

Collection Overview

Title: The Massachusetts Single Tax League

Predominant Dates: 1902-1919

Arrangement: I. Correspondence and Writings of the Executive Officers; II. General Correspondence; and, III. Reports and Announcements

Biographical Note

The Massachusetts Single Tax League sprung from the Anti-Poverty Society of Boston in 1890. In its early years, the League served as a local outgrowth of the National Single Tax League by helping spread the single tax gospel through public meetings, dinners, and banquets. For several years, League members held an open-air meeting every Sunday on the Boston Common. Later, the League established a correspondence committee responsible for sending single tax literature to area schools, colleges, and universities. Occasionally, the League sponsored essay contests local high schools.

Throughout the 1890s and early 1900s, the League grew rapidly owing in part to its highly successful banquet campaign. Between 1896 and 1907, the Massachusetts Single Tax League hosted 19 dinner parties for specific organizations wherein speakers argued the merits of the single tax. Widely attended and reported on in the local press, these banquets attracted as many as 200 guests. Among the groups the League hosted banquets for included: The Patrons of Husbandry, the Association of Massachusetts Assessors, the Massachusetts Woman’s Suffrage Association, the New England Free Trade League, the Massachusetts Clergy, and the Young Men’s Christian Association. The guest speakers at these banquets included: renowned New York City priest Father Edward McGlynn; former mayor of Cleveland Tom L. Johnson; lawyer and single tax activist Thomas G. Shearman; and, Frank Stephens, co-founder of the single tax community at Arden, Delaware.

The leadership of the Massachusetts Single Tax League included several high-profile single taxers. The son of the famous Boston abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, Jr., served as the League’s first president from 1890 to 1899. Garrison later served as the Secretary of the American Free Trade League. Garrison was succeeded by C.B. Fillebrown, a successful lawyer, merchant, and publisher. Fillebrown led the League from 1899 until 1907, when he resigned amid criticism for his advocacy of the “single tax limited” – the belief that rather than collect the full rental value of land, the State should collect only as much as needed to maintain the functions of government. Despite resigning his post, Fillebrown remained active in the single tax scene, publishing several books and pamphlets. Lawyer James R. Carret became League President in 1908, serving until 1914 when Harvard President Lewis J. Johnson took over.

References

“The Single Tax League,” New York Times (February 15, 1892)
“Talked Single Tax,” Boston Daily Advertiser (October 24, 1895)
“Single Taxers Banquet,” New York Times (February 23, 1896)
“Single Tax Luncheon,” Boston Daily Advertiser (November 1, 1897)
The Single Tax Review (1900-1916)
Sixteenth Banquet of the Massachusetts Single Tax League, December 1902
Seventeenth Banquet of the Massachusetts Single Tax League, April 1903
Arthur Nicholas Young, The Single Tax Movement in the United States (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press 1916).


Series One: Correspondence and Writings of the Executive Officers

William Lloyd Garrison (President, 1890-1899):

William Lloyd Garrison to A.C. Pleydell, June 8, 1912

Message from League President William Lloyd Garrison, undated

William Lloyd Garrison, The Philosophy of the Single Tax Movement (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1895)

William Lloyd Garrison, “The Things that Make for Peace” The Sterling Library (October 21, 1895)

Program for the William Lloyd Garrison Memorial Meeting, January 26, 1910

John S. Codman (Vice President, 1890-unk.)
[Also served as founder of the Henry George School of Social Science Boston Campus]

John W. Bruce to John S. Codman, October 17, 1915
Gladwin Bouton to John Codman, April 22, 1916

John S. Codman, How to Lessen the Burden of Taxation in Massachusetts. An Argument (Boston: Chapple Publishing, November 10, 1915)

John S. Codman, “Was it Unemployment or Disemployment” The Square Deal (Nov-Dec 1932)

Obituaries of John S. Codman, September 1959

C.B. Fillebrown (Treasurer, 1892-1899 and President, 1899-1909)

C.B. Fillebrown, Thirty Years of Henry George. 2nd ed. (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, 1913)
C.B. Fillebrown, The Professors and the Single Tax (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, 1914)
C.B. Fillebrown, Henry George and the Economists (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, 1914)
C.B. Fillebrown, The ABC of Taxation (Chicago: A.C. McClurg Co., 1916)
C.B. Fillebrown, A 1916 Single Tax Catechism (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, 1916)
C.B. Fillebrown, Henry George and His Single Tax (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, undated)
C.B. Fillebrown, Land: The Rent Concept (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, undated)
C.B. Fillebrown, A Burdenless Tax (Boston: C.B. Fillebrown, undated)

James Carret (President, 1909-1914)

James Carret to Edmund Burke, September 5, 1918

Lewis Jerome Johnson (President, 1914-1918)

Correspondence

Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, July 6, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, July 19, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, July 24, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, July 29, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, July 31, 1915
[unsigned] to Professor Johnson, August 2, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, August 4, 1915
H.B. Rowe to Lewis J. Johnson, August 9, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, August 13, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, August 18, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, August 19, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Robert [Capon], August 20, 1915
Lewis J .Johnson to B.K. Thorogood, August 21, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, August 22, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, August 26, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, September 8, 1915
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, February 12, 1916
Myra E. Morrill to Lewis J. Johnson, February 22, 1917
Lewis J. Johnson to Members of the Massachusetts Single Tax League, October 10, 1917
Lewis J. Johnson to Alexander Mackendrick, undated

Publications

Lewis J. Johnson, “A Broadened View of Efficiency in Engineering Instruction.” Reprint (1912)
Lewis J. Johnson, “Taxation Blunders and their Remedy.” Reprint (January 1915)
Lewis J. Johnson, The Initiative and the Referendum. Eleventh Ed. Rev. (April 1917)
Lewis J. Johnson, “Two Purposes of Land Ownership.” (January 9, 1919)
Lewis J. Johnson, “The Cincinnati Plan for American Cities.” Reprint (February 1932)

Edmund J. Burke (Treasurer, 1918-?)

Edmund J. Burke, Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe, August 12, 1912
Edmund J. Burke, Letter to the Editor of the Public, July 27, 1915
Edmund J. Burke, “Armageddon,” November 18, 1925
Edmund J. Burke, “Permanent Prosperity Possible,” January 25, 1932

Alexander Mackendrick (Secretary, 1915-1917)

Franklin Blake (Secretary, 1917)

C.A. Barry to Franklin Blake, July 5, 1917
Martin J. Shugrue to Franklin Blake, July 11, 1917
The Bobbs Merrill Company to Franklin Blake, August 24, 1917
Florence Burleigh to Franklin Blake, September 25, 1917

Winifred Cossette (Secretary, 1917-1919)

Mabel B. Ury to Winifred Cossette, August 29, 1917
J.P. Lichtenberger to Winifred Cossette, December 4, 1917
Stanley Bowmar to Winifred Cossette, January 4, 1918
Stanley Bowmar to Winifred Cossette, January 11, 1918
Stanley Bowmar to Winifred Cossette, January 18, 1918
Stanley Bowmar to Winifred Cossette, March 5, 1918
John C. Burnham to Winifred Cossette, March 11, 1918
Winifred Cossette to Louis Jacobs, April 19, 1918
Stanley Bowmar to Winifred Cossette, July 16, 1918
Hollis C. Joy to Winifred Cossette, July 29, 1918
S.H. Howes to Winifred Cossette, August 21, 1918
John C. Burnham to Winifred Cossette, August 22, 1918
Stanley Bowmar to Winifred Cossette, November 18, 1918
Harry Olney to Winifred Cossette, December 31, 1918
Harry Olney to Winifred Cossette, January 10, 1919
Margaret Madden to Winifred Cossette, February 17, 1919
Harry Olney to Winifred Cossette, April 20, 1919
Arthur Laifer to Winifred Cossette, July 28, 1919

Series Two: General Correspondence

Walter R. Brooks to Massachusetts Single Tax League, February 6, 1915
Harold Moore to Robert Capon, May 19, 1915
Henry D. Nunn to Rev. Ernest Smith, August 2, 1915
Charles J. Pisar to Massachusetts Single Tax League, September 6, 1915
Fundraising Letter for Newton Single Tax League, September 20 1915
L.D. Marsh to Massachusetts Single Tax League, October 18, 1915
J.M. Miles to Massachusetts Single Tax League, October 28, 1915
Subscription Invitation to Newton Residents, September 20, 1915
Louise Grout to Massachusetts Single Tax League, November 10, 1915
John Kelso to Robert Blakeslee, February 21, 1916
Secretary of Norman Marshall to Massachusetts Single Tax League, May 23, 1916
John D.W. Bodfish to Massachusetts Single Tax League, June 10, 1916
Julian A. Fogg Massachusetts Single Tax League, December 5, 1916
John R. Lewis to Massachusetts Single Tax League, February 6, 1917
The Public Affairs Informational Service to Massachusetts Single Tax League, June 7, 1917
The Public Affairs Informational Service to Massachusetts Single Tax League, June 22, 1917
The Public Affairs Informational Service to Massacusetts Single Tax League, July 2, 1917
L.D. Marsh to Massachusetts Single Tax League, August 17, 1917
Nathaniel C. Nash, Jr. to Judd Dewey, December 17, 1917
Rev. L.M. Powers to Massachusetts Single Tax League, October 25, 1918
John Burnham to Massachusetts Single Tax League, November 28, 1918
F.M. Padelford to Massachusetts Single Tax League, January 20, 1918
C.E. Overman to Massachusetts Single Tax League, January 21, 1918
F.M. Padelford to Reginald Hull, July 2, 1918
Stanley Bowmar to Massachusetts Single Tax League, December 12, 1918
James D. Havens to Massachusetts Single Tax League, June 27, 1919
Edna Pinkert to Massachusetts Single Tax League, undated

Series Three: Reports and Announcements

Sixteenth Banquet of the Massachusetts Single Tax League, December 1902
Seventeenth Banquet of the Massachusetts Single Tax League, April 1903
Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting, November 23, 1903
Minutes of the Executive Committee Meetings for 1910
Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting, November 14, 1911
Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting, December 19, 1911
Massachusetts Single Tax League Annual Report, 1912-1913
Massachusetts Single Tax League List of Officers, 1918-1919
Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting, undated
High School Essay Contest Announcement, undated
Conditions for the High School Essay Contest, undated