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Periodical: Common Sense

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Common Sense. A Journal of Live Ideas. 1874-1875 Weekly San Francisco, CA. Publisher: Woman's Pub. Co.. Editor: William Neill Slocum, Mrs. Amanda M. Chaney, William Henry Chaney. 1/1, May 16, 1874-2/2, May 29, 1875. 16 pp. $3.00 a year W.N. Slocum (1828- ) was the owner of the San Jose Telegraph but also was a good reformer and member of the Union Reform League. The principals of the enterprise were his wife, Amanda M. Slocum, Albert Kendrick, Augustus W. Baylis, A.T. Clark, and W.H. Chaney (1821-1903), on whom see The Philomathean. W.N. Slocum, "Progress of Spiritualism in California," Carrier Dove 4/1 (January 1887): 25-9, who was in a position to know, looked back on the journal a decade later and concluded that the paper made "enemies unnecessarily because of the editor's strong views" and because of it admitted reports of radical lectures, most notably Mrs. Woodhull's visit to California when the journal started. He concluded in terms that many an other reform spiritualist might have agreed with: "Good policy requires a reform journal to avoid the rocks and shoals which threaten shipwreck . . . ."

The journal was an archetypical reform spiritualist paper, composed of equal parts of reform and spiritualism: temperance, woman's suffrage, "friends of free thought," Herbert Spencer, "Local Option" (prohibition), prison reform, Aurora-woman's village in Woburn, MA, progressive/graduated taxation, "the Money Question," monopolies, "the social question" (free love), and dress reform. On African-Americans in the U.S., the journal, reflecting the post-Civil War letdown of the abolitionists generally, purported to be "pro-labor, pro-Negro, pro-Grange," but scarcely reflected that sentiment: Blacks were depicted as ignorant pawns of Reform's enemies whose rights had already been achieved while women's had not. There were many notable contributors to the short-lived journal: J.W. Mackie (who also wrote as "Satan, Jr." and "Vox Stellarum"), Dr. A.W. Baylis (who also wrote as "Medicus"), "Don Fulano" (on whom see Blavatsky Collected Writings 4:384), etc. It carried correspondence from P.B. Randolph and Luna Hutchinson; noted the lectures and appearances of William Denton, Gerald Massey, Victoria C. Woodhull, La Roy Sunderland, John Murray Spear, Annie Besant (in her radical phase), H.S. Olcott, Dr. Thomas Docking (a disciple of P.B. Randolph who was to organize the Order of Eulis in California and went on to lead a local branch of the Theosophical Society); and reviewed books such as Sha Rocco's phallic "The Origin of the Cross."

The magazine is distinguished by its publication of the proclamations of Emperor Norton I. University of California, Berkeley, microfilm.

Issues:Common Sense V1 1874-5

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