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A Path Made of Words: The Journalistic Construction of the Appalachian Trail
Unformatted Document Text:  7 | P a g e journalists. In the fall of 1919, the MacKayes moved into a cooperative house near Dupont Circle. The place was dubbed “Hell House,” a puckish allusion to Jane Addams’ Chicago reform project, Hull House. The parlor at Hell House became a raucous salon. Its frequent guests included Sinclair Lewis, who was then writing Main Street. MacKaye would lead the “Hell Raisers,” as they called themselves, on walks along the Potomac during which he would condemn “all despoilers of the land.” 22 Early in 1920, MacKaye, his wife and several others offered to move to Moscow and work for the new Soviet government. MacKaye suggested that he might help the Russians avert “the needless exploitation of labor which has been the history of land concessions in America.” The group included Herbert Brougham, a longtime newspaperman with the New York Times and the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Another man on the list would prove crucial to MacKaye’s future: Charles Harris Whitaker, editor of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects. 23 In the meantime, MacKaye got some brass-tacks tutelage from his newspaper friends. He wrote a series of syndicated articles for Fred Kerby of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Kerby praised a piece in which MacKaye assessed a union plan to nationalize the railroads: You have done a corking stunt in crystal clear language that any mutt can understand. Of course there’s still too high a percentage of truth in it for your stuff ever to be “popular,” but it’s the best of its kind. 24 When Brougham became managing editor at the Milwaukee Leader, MacKaye followed to work as an editorial writer at the newspaper. His tenure there, though lasting just a few months, would be a baptism in daily journalism. The Leader, published by the prominent socialist Victor L. Berger, was a boisterous sheet with a thundering editorial page. Its sometimes dogmatic tone was leavened with humor. (The paper delighted in calling Warren G. Harding by his middle name, Gamaliel, and referred to William Howard Taft as “The Prince of Whales.”) Publishing

Authors: Kates, James.
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7 | 
P a g e
journalists. In the fall of 1919, the MacKayes moved into a cooperative house near Dupont 
Circle. The place was dubbed “Hell House,” a puckish allusion to Jane Addams’ Chicago reform 
project, Hull House. The parlor at Hell House became a raucous salon. Its frequent guests 
included Sinclair Lewis, who was then writing Main Street. MacKaye would lead the “Hell 
Raisers,” as they called themselves, on walks along the Potomac during which he would 
condemn “all despoilers of the land.”
 Early in 1920, MacKaye, his wife and several others 
offered to move to Moscow and work for the new Soviet government. MacKaye suggested that 
he might help the Russians avert “the needless exploitation of labor which has been the history of 
land concessions in America.” The group included Herbert Brougham, a longtime 
newspaperman with the New York Times and the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Another man on 
the list would prove crucial to MacKaye’s future: Charles Harris Whitaker, editor of the Journal 
of the American Institute of Architects.
 In the meantime, MacKaye got some brass-tacks 
tutelage from his newspaper friends. He wrote a series of syndicated articles for Fred Kerby of 
the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Kerby praised a piece in which MacKaye assessed a 
union plan to nationalize the railroads:         
You have done a corking stunt in crystal clear language that any mutt can 
understand. Of course there’s still too high a percentage of truth in it for your stuff 
ever to be “popular,” but it’s the best of its kind.
     When Brougham became managing editor at the Milwaukee Leader, MacKaye followed to 
work as an editorial writer at the newspaper. His tenure there, though lasting just a few months, 
would be a baptism in daily journalism. The Leader, published by the prominent socialist Victor 
L. Berger, was a boisterous sheet with a thundering editorial page. Its sometimes dogmatic tone 
was leavened with humor. (The paper delighted in calling Warren G. Harding by his middle 
name, Gamaliel, and referred to William Howard Taft as “The Prince of Whales.”) Publishing 


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