The Story of Ten Little Free Workers

The Story of Ten Little Free Workers
This poster borrowed from the popular folk song "Ten Little Indians" as a way of criticizing big government. In the most common version of the original song, the title characters are killed off in various ways until "there are none," a fate this poster warns could befall private business ventures in the United States "unless each of us works to preserve free enterprise." While the exact provenance of the poster is unknown, numerous electric power companies distributed versions of it in markets throughout the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s, especially as newspaper advertisements. The connection between the poster and the power industry is betrayed by its use of the trademarked "Reddy Kilowatt" cartoon character to represent this business sector in the poster; power companies had widely-used the mascot in advertisements dating to the mid-1920s. The handwritten note in the top left corner was probably written by whomever collected this flyer for Group Research, Inc., since the "Wes" it referred to was the organization's founder, Wesley McCune.
Collection Name
Group Research, Inc. Records
Archival Context
Series II: Topical Files. Box no. 407, Folder no. Right Wing -- Miscellaneous
printed ephemera
printed ephemera
[between 1950 and 1969]
Library Location
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Also In
Choosing sides
Persistent URL