Souvenir From Washington State Prison by Eugene Barnett [Cover from title: Souvenir From Washington State Penitentiary By 9414]
Walla Walla: by the Author, n.d. No date (not later than 1928). 16mo (16.5cm x 12cm). Original pictorial wrappers, [60pp]; illus. [WITH] Original picture-postcard, reproducing on recto Barnett's original composition "Why Don't You Unite?," addressed in ink to Alice Stone Blackwell, with a note of 12 lines thanking her for her check and expressing hope that she received "the souvenir booklet;" dated June 5, 1928. Condition of pamphlet is Good, with edge-chipping to cover wraps; postcard Near Fine. Eugene Barnett was one of eight I.W.W. members convicted of murder in the wake of the 1919 Centralia Massacre. He was released in 1931, having served a little less than eleven years of his twenty-five year sentence. During his incarceration, Barnett continued to agitate on behalf of the Wobblies, writing songs, poems and short stories in addition to producing hundreds of cartoons. Many of these are reproduced in this little hand-made book, self-published by Barnett in his spare hours, using the facilities of the prison print shop. Proceeds went home to support his ailing wife and children. That Alice Stone Blackwell, the prominent Boston feminist, would have been among Barnett's supporters comes as no great surprise, as the I.W.W. agitated far and wide in support of the Centralia prisoners, all eight of whom were at worst guilty of nothing more than self-defense, and more likely were simply random victims of vigilante justice. Surprise (or lack of it) aside, such relics of the first generation of Wobblies are in our experience vanishingly scarce, and this must rank as one of the choicest I.W.W. items we have handled. As the pamphlet has been catalogued under a variety of titles by WorldCat institutions, and there appear to have been at least three printings (one much later), it is difficult to state with certainty the number of OCLC holdings of this title. The correct number is probably two (UC Berkeley & Oregon); but possibly four (adding N'western & WSU); other listings appear to be for a much later (1940) reissue under the variant title Nature's Woodland Bowers.