Smith v. Hitchcock
226 U.S. 53 (1912)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Smith v. Hitchcock, 226 U.S. 53 (1912)

Smith v. Hitchcock

Nos. 31, 32

Argued November 5, 6, 1912

Decided November 18, 1912

226 U.S. 53

Syllabus

Even though a question of law be raised by an order of the Postmaster General excluding matter from the mails, the court will not interfere unless clearly of the opinion that the order is wrong. Bates & Guild Co. v. Payne,194 U. S. 106.

Every series of printed papers published at definite intervals is not necessarily a periodical within the meaning of the provisions of the Act of March 3, 1879, c. 180, 20 Stat. 355, defining second-class mail matter.

Books that are expressly embraced by § 17 of the Act of March 3, 1879, as third-class matter and subject to the higher rate of postage cannot be made second-class matter by simply publishing them at regular intervals, even though, as in this case, purporting to be a series of adventures of the same person. Houghton v. Payne,194 U. S. 88.

"Periodical," as used in the Act of March 3, 1879, implies that no single number of a series is a complete book in itself.

As a general rule, with few exceptions, a printed publication is a book within the meaning of § 17 of the Act of March 3, 1879, when its contents are complete in themselves, deal with a single subject, need no continuation and have appreciable size, and so held that the publications involved in this case are books, and not periodicals.

Where the point to be decided is a pure question of law which can be reviewed by the courts, the Postmaster General satisfies the requirements of the Act of March 3, 1901, c. 851, 31 Stat. 1099, 1107, by simply hearing the party claiming to be aggrieved by an order excluding matter from the mail, and one so heard, and who is not prevented from offering material evidence, cannot complain in the court reviewing the order that he was denied a hearing under the act.

34 App. D.C. 521 and 535 affirmed.

Page 226 U. S. 54

The facts, which involve the validity of orders of the Postmaster-General excluding appellants' publications from second-class mail privileges, are stated in the opinion.

Page 226 U. S. 57

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