Social Justice, February 13, 1939


VCU_Social Justice Feb 13 1939 front cover rsz.jpg
VCU_Social Justice Feb 13 1939 back cover rsz.jpg


Social Justice, February 13, 1939


Front and back covers of Social Justice, February 13, 1939. 

Social Justice was a national weekly periodical published by Father Charles Coughlin during the late 1930s and early 1940sCouglin was a Canadian-American Roman Catholic priest based near Detroit, Michigan. Coughlin hosted a weekly radio show that reached an estimated 30 million listeners. 

Social Justice was controversial for publishing anti-Semitic polemics. Eventually, the periodical's mailing permit was revoked and Father Coughlin's radio show was forced off the air. 


Front cover: "Make Your Choices"
[Image Description: A man stands stroking his beard as he contemplates two statues, one of Abraham Lincoln and the other of  Lenin.] 

"Today, this nation makes a mental pilgrimage to Springfield, Illinois, there to pay memorial tribute at the tomb of Abraham Lincoln. 
The rough, honest frontiersman lawyer who became a wartime President of the United States, has become a symbol of the Typical American. He is the Poor Man's President, the Great Emancipator, the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a martyr because he opposed dis-union and the international bankers. 

Across the world, another tomb--that of Lenin in the Red Square of Moscow--is also a center of pilgrimage and the symbol of internationalism. 

Disciples of Lenin and followers of Lincoln are today in conflice in this country. And no American can be a 'neutral.' 

Which hero, Lenin or Lincoln? On which side are YOU--Americanism or Communism?"

Back cover: "The 'Smut' Vendor"
[Image Description: A man stands before a newsstand, smoking a cigarette and holding out a salacious magazine to the viewer. Behind him the shelves are filled with periodicals with titles such as "Smut," "Scandal," "Slime," "Passion," and "Scum."] 

"Our Man of the Week is a merchandiser of sensation, of propaganda disguised as entertainment, and of outright subversion of morality. 

The artist has sought to catch the evil spirit of his menace. Readers of Social Justice were introduced last week to the 'Mystical Body of Satan'--on the racks of any modern newstand on may survey his work.

Confident that America is a 'Christian' country, we have permitted to thrive and prosper off our indifference, a progressively flagrant affronting of common decency, to say nothing of Christian morals. 

Encouraged by our tolerance, the Smut Vendors have grown bolder: from off-color joke illustrated by daring cartoons, the magazines have retrograded rapidly into deliberate filth. Feminine nudity and bad taste in 'candid camera reporting' is a commonplace for the nation's children. 

The remedy is in YOUR hands. Tell your newsstand dealer what magazines offend and why. Tell the advertisers who support these magazines why you think their editorial contents ought not to be supported.

A Legion of Decency some years ago cleaned up Hollywood's rotten films; let's clean up the newsstands!"


Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, VCU Libraries


1939 February 13


Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, VCU Libraries


The copyright and related rights status of this Item has been reviewed by the organization that has made the Item available, but the organization was unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the Item. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.


Learn more: 
Father Charles Coughlin, Social Welfare History Project
“We are all Spiritual Semites” – American Catholics Condemn Kristallnacht, The Archivist's Nook, The Catholic University of America 

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“Social Justice, February 13, 1939,” Social Welfare History Image Portal, accessed July 17, 2024,