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Henry J. Glintenkamp

John Simkin

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Henry J. Glintenkamp, the son of Hendrik and Sophie Dietz Glintenkamp, was born in Augusta, New Jersey, 1887. Glintenkamp received his elementary art training at the National Academy of Design (1903-1906) under Robert Henri and for a time shared the studio of Stuart Davis. He exhibited at the Armory Show in 1913.

Glintenkamp was a cartoonist who regularly contributed to the radical journal, The Masses. Glintenkamp believed that the First World War had been caused by the imperialist competitive system. After the USA declared war on the Central Powers in 1917, the journal came under government pressure to change its policy. When it refused to do this, the journal lost its mailing privileges. In July, 1917, it was claimed by the authorities that articles by Floyd Dell and Max Eastman and cartoons by Glintenkamp, Art Young and Boardman Robinson had violated the Espionage Act. Under this act it was an offence to publish material that undermined the war effort.

Glintenkamp fled the country but the others stood trial in April, 1918. Floyd Dell argued in court: "There are some laws that the individual feels he cannot obey, and he will suffer any punishment, even that of death, rather than recognize them as having authority over him. This fundamental stubbornness of the free soul, against which all the powers of the state are helpless, constitutes a conscious objection, whatever its sources may be in political or social opinion." The legal action that followed forced The Masses to cease publication. After three days of deliberation, the jury failed to agree on the guilt of Dell and his fellow defendants.

The second trial was held in January 1919. John Reed, who had recently returned from Russia, was also arrested and charged with the original defendants. Dell wrote in his autobiography, Homecoming (1933): "While we waited, I began to ponder for myself the question which the jury had retired to decide. Were we innocent or guilty? We certainly hadn't conspired to do anything. But what had we tried to do? Defiantly tell the truth. For what purpose? To keep some truth alive in a world full of lies. And what was the good of that? I don't know. But I was glad I had taken part in that act of defiant truth-telling." This time eight of the twelve jurors voted for acquittal. As the First World War was now over, it was decided not to take them to court for a third time.

Henry J. Glintenkamp eventually returned to the USA where he concentrated on painting rather than producing cartoons.


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