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A Dutch Boy Fifty Years After by Bok

A DUTCH BOY FIFTY YEARS AFTER

by

EDWARD BOK

Adapted from _The Americanization of Edward Bok_

Edited with an Introduction by John Louis Haney, Ph.D. President, Central High School, Philadelphia

Charles Scribner's Sons New York Chicago Boston Atlanta San Francisco

1921

[Frontispiece: Photograph of Edward Bok.]

TO

THE SCHOOLBOYS AND SCHOOLGIRLS OF AMERICA

I DEDICATE THIS STORY OF A BOY

WHO BELIEVED THAT AN OBSTACLE IS NOT SOMETHING

TO BE AFRAID OF

BUT IS ONLY A DIFFICULTY TO BE OVERCOME

AND WHO TOOK FOR HIS MOTTO

AS I HOPE EVERY ONE WHO READS THESE PAGES WILL DO

THESE LINES BY MADELINE S. BRIDGES:

"Give to the world the best you have And the best will come back to you."

INTRODUCTION

In recent years American literature has been enriched by certain autobiographies of men and women who had been born abroad, but who had been brought to this country, where they grew up as loyal citizens of our great nation. Such assimilated Americans had to face not only the usual conditions confronting a stranger in a strange land, but had to develop within themselves the noble conception of Americanism that was later to become for them a flaming gospel. Andrew Carnegie, the canny Scotch lad who began as a cotton weaver's assistant, became a steel magnate and an eminent constructive philanthropist. Jacob Riis, the ambitious Dane, told in _The Making of an American_ the story of his rise to prominence as a social and civic worker in New York. Mary Antin, who was brought from a Russian ghetto at the age of thirteen, gave us in _The Promised Land_ a most impressive interpretation of America's significance to the foreign-born. The very title of her book was a flash of inspiration.

To this group of notable autobiographies belongs _The Americanization of Edward Bok_, which received, from Columbia University, the Joseph Pulitzer Prize of one thousand dollars as "the best American biography teaching patriotic and unselfish service to the Nation and at the same time illustrating an eminent example." The judges who framed that decision could not have stated more aptly the scope and value of the book. It is the story of an unusual education, a conspicuous achievement, and an ideal now in course of realization.

At the age of six Edward Bok was brought to America by his parents, who had met with financial reverses in their native country of the Netherlands. He spent six years in the public schools of Brooklyn, but even while getting the rudiments of a formal education he had to work during his spare hours to bring home a few more dollars to aid his needy family. His first job was cleaning the show-window of a small bakery for fifty cents a week. At twelve he became an office boy in the Western Union Telegraph Company; at nineteen he was a stenographer; at twenty-six he became editor of _The Ladies' Home Journal_, which during the thirty years of his supervision achieved the remarkable circulation of two million copies and reached every month an audience of perhaps ten million persons. Such is the bare outline of a career that has the essential characteristics of struggle and achievement, of intimate contact with eminent men and women, and, most interesting of all, is not a fulfilled career, but a life still in the making.


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