Publication history

By Levi Clancy for לוי on

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Punching the Clock for Freedom was published in 1944.
Copyright entry
Google Books
WorldCatThe book is also at the Glendale Library's special collections, which are not listed on WorldCat.
Open LibraryEntry for The Franklin Press.
Open LibraryPunching the Clock for Freedom's entry in Open Library.
There are only a handful of known physical copies.

UCLA has a copy in SRLF.
Glendale Public Library has a copy in their special collections.
LAPL has a copy.
Leila Levi has a copy.

Punching the Clock for Freedom was published by Paul R Stillman's Franklin Press in Glendale, California.

His obituary says that he was born in Iowa, moved to Glendale in 1928, bought the Franklin Press circa 1930 link.

There is a modern-day Franklin Press, Inc in Glendale.

I found it with address 431 N Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203-4400 and telephone number (323) 913-3105 and fax number (323) 547-0651 link; link; link; link. However, it is listed as being founded in 2010. This is perhaps not the same publisher.

Bessie copyrighted Punching the Clock for Freedom (PCF) on 1944 February 17. PCF had an initial copyright term of 28 years spanning 1944 through 1972.

Under the 1909 act, federal copyright was secured on the date a work was published or, for unpublished works, on the date of registration. A copyright lasted for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. The copyright was eligible for renewal during the final, that is, 28th year, of the first term. If renewed, the copyright was extended for a second, or renewal, term of 28 years. If it was not renewed, the copyright expired at the end of the first 28-year term, and the work is no longer protected by copyright. The term of copyright for works published with a year date in the notice that is earlier than the actual date of publication is computed from the year date in the copyright notice.

Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was reg­istered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured.

If its copyright were renewed, PCF would have received a 67 year renewal term for 95 total years of copyright protection.

The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were subsisting on January 1, 1978, or for pre­1978 copyrights restored under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), making these works eligible for a total term of pro­tection of 75 years. Public Law 105­298, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still subsisting on that date by an additional 20 years, provid­ing for a renewal term of 67 years and a total term of protec­tion of 95 years.

Works originally copyrighted after 1922 and renewed before 1978. These works were automatically given a longer copyright term. Copyrights that had already been renewed and were in their second term at any time between December 31, 1976, and December 31, 1977, inclusive, do not need to be renewed again. They have been automatically extended to last for a total term of 95 years (a first term of 28 years plus a renewal term of 67 years) from the end of the year in which they were originally secured.

PCF was ineligible for automatic renewal.

Public Law 102­307, enacted on June 26, 1992, amended the 1976 Copyright Act to provide for automatic renewal of the term of copyrights secured between January 1, 1964, and December 31, 1977. Although the renewal term is automatically provided, the Copyright Office does not issue a renewal certificate for these works unless a renewal application and fee are received and registered in the Copyright Office.

Works originally copyrighted between January 1, 1964, and December 31, 1977. Congress amended the copyright law on June 26, 1992, to automatically renew the copyright in these works and to make renewal registration for them optional. Their copyright term is still divided between a 28-year original term and a 67-year renewal term, but a renewal registration is not required to secure the renewal copyright. The renewal vests on behalf of the appropriate renewal claimant upon renewal registration or, if there is no renewal registration, on December 31 of the 28th year.

To extend the 28 copyright term, a copyright renewal would have to be filed.

The book was published between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright, so its current copyright status falls into one of two categories: either the copyright was renewed and it is protected through 2039; or it was not and entered the public domain link. It was not exempt from copyright renewal and would have had to be renewed in time for the expiration in 1972 link. If the copyright were renewed, then it will enter the public domain 95 years after the publication date, in 2039. If the copyright were not renewed, then it is already in the public domain.

The copyright was not renewed.
Thus, the book has entered the public domain.

The copyright office released biannual records of copyright renewals. Searching these records (links below) I found no positive result for a copyright renewal for Punching the Clock for Freedom. I searched in whole and in part for for "Punching the Clock for Freedom", "Elizabeth Bessie Gertrude Strader Westfall", "Doris Marjorie Westfall Levi" and "Leila Jean Lile". Stanford has provided an excellent searchable database of all copyright renewals from 1950 to 1992, for books published 1923 to 1963; this database not turn up any results either link.

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Primary characters

Leila Lile wrote down who each primary character represented.
Jessie NorthupElizabeth "Bessie" StraderThe name Northup is a pseudonymous pun on Westfall. Jessie is also called Mom throughout the book by her daughter Marcie, and her "almost-a-daughter" Leona p 16. She is "past forty" when the book begins p 15. She had worked twenty years in a restaurant p 14. Her husband died the fall prior to when the book begins p 16. She is a "plump, little brown haired, blue eyed mother" p 15 with natural curls that she leaves natural, because "it's my best feature, although my complexion is good for my age." She does not wear rouge.
Marcie NorthupDoris Marjorie WestfallThe daughter of Jessie. She has "Big, grey eyes" and "naturally red hair" and seems to wear rouge p 15
Leona LynnLeila LileLeona Lynn p 21 is 5'5" p 16 with "hazel eyes" and blonde hair. She has lived with Jessie and Marcie for three years prior to the book beginning p 16. She is in a romantic relationship with Captain Edward "Eddie" Hartman of the Ferry Command, but it appears to have been long-distance even before she arrived in Los Angeles p 16. She has a "beautiful set of white teeth" p 15 She, Jessie and Marcie all came from Minnesota together and then met a fourth, Tillie p 21.
Tillie FosterHer full name is Tillie Foster p 14. She has been married for about fifteen years by the time the book begins p 18 to a man named Sam p 140 but throughout the book her husband is in the the Air Corps p 14 and away on an air base in Miami p 16. She met Marcie and Leona at some time prior to the book's beginning, when the Marcie and Leona ran into her on the way to the mailbox and she dropped all her packages p 16. It is unclear whether Tillie's husband was already away at this time, or where this took place. It seems that she moved in with Jessie, Marcie and Leona when her husband went away; by that time, Leona was already living with Jessie and Marcie p 16. She is thirty-four years old when the book begins p 15. She has a "small, round face" p 14 and "softly rounded flesh" p 15. "Her hair was thick and black, and closely cut to a well shaped head." Aside from housekeeping, her last job was as a "beauty operator in Iowa" p 18

Secondary characters

Normanp 127Possible love interest for Marcie.
Loyd Larsonp 132Friend of Norman.

Tertiary characters

Man on porch
Solemn man


Lockheed Factory, Burbank, California

The book is set at Lockheed's factory in Burbank.

The description in the book p 26 - 27 perfectly matches the description on Lockheed Martin's wiki page of their Burbank plant, complete with chicken feathers link. Additional links: link; link; link; link. Hughes Aircraft Company was in Glendale but the books mention of the unique camouflage indicates that the characters most certainly worked at Lockheed. The Lockheed website has a brief overview link. The Burbank Community Book has several relevant entires: the camouflage link; women working at Lockheed link; and the Buck of the Month club link; a history of Lockheed link. The Burbankia website has excellent photos, including of a shift change at Lockheed link and even an employee handbook link.

The Lockheed Vega factory was located next to Burbank's Union Airport which it had purchased in 1940. During the war, the entire area was camouflaged to fool enemy aerial reconnaissance. The factory was hidden beneath a huge burlap tarp painted to depict a peaceful semi-rural neighborhood, replete with rubber automobiles. Hundreds of fake trees, shrubs, buildings and even fire hydrants were positioned to give a three dimensional appearance. The trees and shrubs were created from chicken wire treated with an adhesive and covered with feathers to provide a leafy texture.

It is possible that some of the women worked at a different factory. Perhaps it was Vega Aircraft Corporation link. Lockheed took over Vega. Various plants in Burbank: link, link (about Plant B-1), link (aviation enthusiast with lots of information), link (photo of Vega workers), Weber Aircraft Corporation, Northrop. There is Xytech Systems Corporation (formerly Xymox) that is not likely related since it seems to have been founded too recently.

Los Angeles

The book is primarily in and around Los Angeles.
Government Employment Buildingp 17"The orange and silver bus emptied most of its load at the Government Employment Building. The crowd pushed Marcie, Leona, Tillie and Jessie up the steps and into the big bank-like building with its high ceiling and marble floor." p 17 There is also a Plant I Employment Agency.
B-----I believe that this location is Burbank.
Brown Derbylink
Ferndalep 115Likely Ferndell Park in Griffith Park.
Hollywood Bowlp 116They attended a sunrise service for Easter Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. Humphrey Bogart sang. According to this article, it seems that he recited the Lord's Prayer and was desperately drunk.
Earl Carroll Theatrep 118Referred to as Earl Carroll's, the address was 6230 Sunset Blvd (at Sunset and Argyle) link.
R-----This location was within driving distance of Burbank.
Pop's Willow Lakep 132
Griffith Parkp 165
p 166
Lincoln Parkp 166
p 167
Ostriches and alligators. I believe it is this:


Ellendale Collegep 068Leona went to Ellendale College. The "our" is ambiguous, but it suggests that Marcie attended with Leona; I doubt it also includes Tillie (who is in an older age bracket) nor Jessie.

Cultural references

Sweet Adelinep 29A doo-wop song by The Mills Brothers. youtube
Emily Postp 119 - 120Built her career on etiquette.
Mama's Making Bombersp 121Spike Jones' song Mama's Making Bombers.


The book takes place during World War II, during a few months or a year in 1943.
1941 Dec 07Pearl Harbor attack.
1942 Nov 22Jessie's husband died the fall prior to the book's beginning p 16. Bessie's husband William Holly Westfall had died 1942 Nov 22.
1943Book begins.
1944Book published.

Leila Lile's notes

The first few pages are filled with signatures and notes.
pages 000 - 001

To Leila Jean Levi
Leila Jean Lile
I am Leona

page 002

Sam McFarland [signature]

May you be the best school teacher in this cockeyed world.
Only, don't ever get caught going out with one of your pupils.
George J. Malley

To a most congenial fellow teacher.
I hope the "little kids" will realize how lucky they are, and appreciate you. It's been grand knowing you.
Katharine White

page 003

'Red Bird' Yochim

Here's hoping a very charming girl will never become the typical "school marm" -- and I know she won't -- Helen W. Holmes

page 004

Dear Leila,
Altho the time has come for us to go our separate ways, I want you to know that I have really enjoyed knowing you. It was a pleasure finding someone with ideas like mine "on certain subjects."
The best of luck always.
"One of the 4B's"
Hazel Yelton [?]
906 N. Reen [?] Pl.

Come over to 13A and be my School Marm
Carl R. McAlit [?]

page 005
page 006
page 007
page 008
page 009
page 010
page 011
page 012
A handwritten note from Leila Lile was included.

From the desk of

Jessie: Author
your Grandmother Bessie

Marcia: Your mother Marjory
My good friend and buddy for many years.

Leona: Thats me, Leila

Tillie: I think was sort of made up for story purposes. Temporally could have been "TOT" a cousin of your mothers.

Hal: good friend and driver. Few new cars - gas shortage we needed him. However he didn't really live in house with the three of us.

This is not a literary masterpiece. However, it illustrates what many hundred thousands of us were doing day by day for the war effort.

I started out as Rosie the Riveter and ended up as a parts detective. I investigated many departments to find out what was holding up a parts order that was holding up work in another department.

Your mother always worked "dressed up" in the mammoth offices. Your grandmother always worked in parts departments where they were always burring, filing or drilling holes.

Read the Thanks frontage page "Thanks" to feel the emotion or passion of the times!

We all worked on the B17 fortress and in the same buildings where the P38 was being built.

We all worked the "swing shift". Started at 4 o'clock pm and finished at 12 midnight

All of our frolicking and tourism had to take place before work, but mostly on weekends.

I was teaching in a small North Dakota country school. Your mother was teaching in a small rural school in Minnesota. After your grandfather Holly Westfall died Bessie decided we should all go to California and work somewhere for the war effort. I met their train (Bessie and Marge) in Minneapolis and headed for California. It turned out to be mostly a military train. It took five or six days and nights to reach Burbank. We were left at the station with nowhere to go. This book is sort of how we found our way.

Hope you treasure the book, it is a little special

Leila J.