restricted access 7. 1908–14: “Whatever disgrace attaches to this affair belongs not to me”
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7 1908–14 “Whatever disgrace attaches to this affair belongs not to me” When he returned from Cuba in January 1908, Julian commenced a desperate job search. At first he accepted piecework: He was hired to ghostwrite a book for the author and editor Seymour Eaton, although there is no evidence he finished it or received more than a hundred dollars for his work.1 He began to hype a vanity press called “The Thinkers Club” that Eaton founded to print short books on topical issues for a fee,2 though the club failed to issue a single volume. He penned a promotional brochure for Jamaica Estates, a real-estate development in Queens. At the end of March he begged Mayo Hazeltine for a regular job with the New York Sun. “I would take a position at any reasonable salary,” he pleaded. City reporters typically earned from forty to sixty dollars per week, and Julian considered “$100 liberal, these times; and would take half of that without winking. I can do all manner of work; but my own idea is that I would be at my best with a daily column or half column of my own comments on the daily news, or on any topic of interest that might turn up. But I can also describe earthquakes and murder, or even interview eminent persons.”3 But there was no opening on the staff of the Sun. Julian claimed later that during this period he was working on a biography of W. S. G. Morton, Will’s father. He ostensibly was to be paid twenty-five hundred dollars for it, a thousand of which he had already received, although not a shred of such a project survives.4 That is, Julian had no apparent source of income. Down on his luck, he was nearly on the street. At this juncture, on July 10, 1908, Will invited Julian to his office in the Cambridge Building to discuss “a business proposition which may turn out to be of considerable value to you” and “will cost you nothing.” They had been out of touch for most of the quarter century since the death of Julian’s daughter Gladys. Julian called on Morton the same day he received his note 184 part iii: the shadow and found him “lounging about.” Morton had spent the past two summers in the Temagami region of northern Ontario, and being struck“by the glitter of the mining discoveries” there, he had invested fourteen thousand dollars in twenty-one claims totaling eight hundred acres.5 Professional assayers, he told Julian, “have found rich indications of values quite equal to any that have been found in the Cobalt region,—silver, gold, copper, and cobalt”— but he needed money to develop the mines. Morton proposed that Julian front the operation, “become a director in the company,” “accept a block of stock” for his trouble, and “draw your dividends as they fall due.”6 Julian was overwhelmed at Morton’s generosity. “I was very glad of all this because it makes the future, financially speaking,”he conceded.“Though my name will be of some value the returns will far exceed any possible good I can be to the enterprise.” Julian accepted Morton’s invitation because it would both “benefit me” and “cost him nothing.”7 He joined a company whose officers included Albert Freeman, an Austrian-born operator of dubious reputation who had been suspended from the Consolidated Stock Exchange in 1892; Josiah Quincy III, former mayor of Boston and former undersecretary of state in the Cleveland administration, who had declared bankruptcy in 1907; and James B. Hanna of Cleveland, nephew of former Republican political boss Mark Hanna. However, Julian’s name was the most prominent among them and “seems to have been the great drawing card” for investors.8 He volunteered to write the promotional circulars and manage the office to earn his dividends. According to Freeman, “He said he had no money and must live, but it was against his principles to borrow money from the company. So he suggested that he should pledge his stocks with me in return for loans as he needed them.” By his estimate, Freeman loaned Julian about $21,500 over a period of sixteen to eighteen months.”9 The first circulars promoting the mines over his signature were mailed within a month. Between August 1908 and March 1910, in fact, Julian’s name was appended to some seven hundred thousand letters sent to potential...


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Subject Headings

  • Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934.
  • Authors, American -- 19th century -- Biography.
  • Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
  • Fathers and sons -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 -- Family.
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