Paul Kellogg

Paul Kellogg was born in Kalamazoo, Mithigan, in 1879. After working as a journalist he moved to New York City to study at Columbia University.

After university Kellogg worked for Charities Magazine before carrying out an in-depth study of life in Pittburgh. Published as the Pittsburgh Survey (1910-14), it became a model for sociologists wishing to employ research to aid social reform.

Kellog returned to Charities Magazine, now retitled Survey Magazine. He became editor in 1912 and over the next few years turned into America's leading social work journal.

An opponent of USA becoming involved in the First World War, Kellog joined with Jane Addams and Oswald Garrison Villard, to try and persuade Henry Ford, the wealthy American businessman, to organize a peace conference in Stockholm. Ford came up with the idea of sending a boat of pacifists to Europe to see if they could negotiate an agreement that would end the war. He chartered the ship Oskar II, and it sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey on 4th December, 1915. The Ford Peace Ship reached Stockholm in January, 1916, and a conference was organized with representatives from Denmark, Holland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

In 1919 Woodrow Wilson appointed A. Mitchell Palmer as his attorney general. Palmer had previously been associated with the progressive wing of the party and had supported women's suffrage and trade union rights. However, once in power, Palmer's views on civil rights changed dramatically. Worried by the revolution that had taken place in Russia, Palmer became convinced that Communist agents were planning to overthrow the American government. Palmer recruited John Edgar Hoover as his special assistant and together they used the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918) to launch a campaign against radicals and left-wing organizations.

On 7th November, 1919, the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution, over 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested in what became known as the Palmer Raids. Palmer and Hoover found no evidence of a proposed revolution but large number of these suspects were held without trial for a long time. The vast majority were eventually released but Emma Goldman and 247 other people, were deported to Russia.

In January, 1920, another 6,000 were arrested and held without trial. Palmer and Hoover found no evidence of a proposed revolution but a large number of these suspects, many of them members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), continued to be held without trial. When Palmer announced that the communist revolution was likely to take place on 1st May, mass panic took place. In New York, five elected Socialists were expelled from the legislature.

Kellog was appalled by the way people were being persecuted for their political beliefs and in 1920 joined with Roger Baldwin, Norman Thomas, Chrystal Eastman, Jane Addams, Clarence Darrow, John Dewey, Abraham Muste, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Upton Sinclair to form the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 1927 Kellog joined with John Dos Passos, Alice Hamilton, Jane Addams, Upton Sinclair, Dorothy Parker, Ben Shahn, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Floyd Dell, George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells in an effort to prevent the execution of Nicola Sacco and Bertolomeo Vanzetti. Although Webster Thayer, the original judge, was officially criticised for his conduct at the trial, the execution went ahead on 23rd August 1927. Paul Kellogg died in 1958.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Paul Kellogg, Immigration and the Minimum Wage (1913)

My own feeling is that immigrants bring us ideals, cultures, red blood, which are an asset for America or would be if we gave them a chance. But what is undesirable, beyond all peradventure, is our great bottom-lands of quick-cash, low-income employments in which they are bogged. we suffer not because the immigrant comes with a cultural deficit, but because the immigrant workman brings to America a potential economic surplus above a single man's wants, which is exploited to the grave and unmeasured injury to family and community among us.

Petty magistrates and police, state militia and the courts - all these were brought to bear by the great commonwealth of Massachusetts, once the Lawrence strikes threatened the public peace. But what had the great commonwealth of Massachusetts done to protect the people of Lawrence against the insidious canker of subnormal wages which were and are blighting family life? Nor have the trade-unions met any large responsibility toward unskilled labor. Through apprenticeship, organization, they have endeavored to keep their own heads above the general level.

Common labor has been left as the hindmost for the devil to take. For the most part common laborers have had to look elsewhere than to the skilled crafts for succor. They have had it held out to them by the Industrial Workers of the World, which stands for industrial organization, for one big union embracing every man in the industry, for the mass strike, for the benefits to the rank and file here and now, and not in some far-away political upheaval.