Back in 2011, we presented an article on Ernest Mann to readers of the Morrison County Historical Society newsletter. It was called “Getting to Know an Ernest Mann” and discussed the life of Larry Johnson, a writer and philosopher who made his home in Morrison County. Larry’s pen name was Ernest Mann. He produced a zine called the Little Free Press, using the publication to expound upon his theories related to the economy. He felt that society should operate on a Priceless Economic System, his term for having a money-free society. Larry’s Little Free Press found followers world-wide.
Since publishing “Getting to Know an Ernest Mann” and the subsequent article “Ernest Mann Revisited” on our website, we have been contacted by numerous people who remember Larry. One of our most recent contacts was Hanno Beck, former director of The Benjamin Banneker Center for Economic Justice located in Maryland. Hanno sent an email explaining that the Banneker Center was no longer in operation. He wondered whether MCHS wanted the center’s collection of Little Free Press zines. Absolutely!
When the unassuming box with Hanno’s return address arrived in the mail, we couldn’t wait to open it. Inside, along with the zines, there was a surprise: A copy of one of Ernest Mann’s books, “I Was Robot.” We were expecting only zines. The box also contained a few letters and a couple of handwritten notes from Ernest to Hanno, as well as some small fliers that more succinctly espouse Ernest’s philosophies.
We are thrilled to be able to accept the Ernest Mann collection. Further, we are grateful to Hanno Beck and the Banneker Center for compiling and preserving this collection and for offering it to MCHS.
This article originally appeared in the MCHS newsletter, Volume 29, Number 2, 2016.