3 responses

  1. Bose in St. Peter MN
    January 13, 2013

    The timeline of the ONE suit is interesting in the context of others related to obscenity and the Post Office. The year before ONE reached the supremes, the 1957 Roth v. United States had created a more restricted definition of obscenity. The ONE case was in motion since 1954, though.

    Another landmark case had been decided 12 years before ONE — Hannegan, Postmaster General v. Esquire, Inc. Esquire of the 1940s positioned itself as a full-service gentlemen’s magazine. It commissioned pieces from the likes of Hemingway and Steinbeck as well as its trademark, paintings of pinup girls by Alberto Vargas. Oddly, though, the Postmaster didn’t even cite Esquire as being obscene. Instead, he sought to deny it distribution because it was “morally improper and not for the public welfare and the public good.”

    So, in 1946, ESQUIRE was about sexual humor and pinup girls, and got a unanimous decision, with the supremes affirming the appellate court.

    In 1957, ROTH/ALBERTS was about literary erotica and nude photography, with a 6-3 decision, and the supremes were reversing appellate courts.

    1958 brought ONE to the court, with content described below, was a one-sentence decision with no written dissent, also reversing the appeals.

    From this 137-page law review (PDF), p. 760:

    The Post Office determined that the October 1954 issue was obscene and lewd, based upon three articles within the issue: (1) Sappho Remembered, a story of a lesbian’s affection for a twenty-year-old “girl” who gives up her boyfriend to live with the lesbian, was considered obscene because it was “lustfully stimulating to the average homosexual reader”; (2) Lord Samuel and Lord Montagu, a poem about homosexual toilet cruising on the part of several British peers, was considered obscene because of “filthy words” within it; and (3) an advertisement for The Circle, a magazine containing homosexual pulp romance stories, was thought to lead the reader to obscene material. Based on these findings, the Post Office determined the issue to be “non-mailable” and returned all copies to the sender in December 1954.

    So, the darkest obscenity was inspiring same-sex “lust” with dirty words!

  2. Pacal
    January 13, 2013

    I remember Charles Nelson Reilly growing up mainly because of his character Claymore Gregg in the short lived sitcom The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

  3. Nathaniel
    January 14, 2013

    There is currently a move to name a public building in Raleigh after the late Senator. Your readers might like to know about this (and about the woman responsible for this effort: current Representative Rene Ellmers).

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