Chaplin, Ralph Hosea

Chaplin, Ralph Hosea

(1887–1961) editor, poet, commercial artist; born in Ames, Kans. Of New England colonial stock, he studied art while working as a commercial artist in Chicago. He illustrated Jack London's The Dream of the Debs (1912), and wrote a number of poetry volumes. A socialist since his teens, he joined the International Workers of the World (IWW) in 1913, wrote the words to "Solidarity Forever" (1915), and edited the IWW newspaper, Solidarity. He was jailed (1921–23) for conspiracy to violate the wartime espionage and sedition acts. He joined the Communist Party in 1919, but broke with his Communist friends in 1928 and from then on worked to combat Communism in organized labor. His autobiography, Wobbly: The Rough and Tumble Story of an American Radical (1948), vividly describes his political and social beliefs.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.