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Analyzing Character by Katherine M. H. Blackford and Arthur Newcomb

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operating machinery, his abilities turned in the direction of working out
the technique of literary expression. Instead of repairing machinery he
loved rather to revise and rewrite his stories and plays. In other words,
the constructive talent, which he had shown as a child in material
mechanics, turned in the direction of mental and intellectual construction
as he grew older.


There are many boys who exhibit in their early years a great love of
machinery, and it is usually considered a kindness to them to prepare them
for either mechanics or engineering. In mechanical lines, they are
misfits, because they are frail and insufficient physically. In
engineering lines they are more at home, because the engineer works
principally with his brains. But very often they would still be more at
home in the realms of literature or oratory.

In a similar way boys often manifest great interest in machinery in their
youth, and afterward, if given the right opportunities, show their
constructive ability in the organization of business enterprises and the
successful devising of plans and schemes for pushing these enterprises to

Sometimes those of this type of organization devote themselves rather to
invention and improvement than to the direct physical handling of
machinery. The following brief story of the struggles of Elias Howe[7]
should be an inspiration to every individual who fights physical frailty;
also, a lesson to him as to the way in which he should express his
mechanical ability:

[Footnote 7: From "Great Fortunes," by James D. McCabe. Published by
George Maclean.]


"Elias Howe was born in the town of Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1819. He
was one of eight children, and it was no small undertaking on the part of
his father to provide a maintenance for such a household. Mr. Howe, Sr.,
was a farmer and miller, and, as was the custom at that time in the
country towns of New England, carried on in his family some of those minor
branches of industry suited to the capacity of children, with which New
England abounds. When Elias was six years old, he was set, with his
brothers and sisters, to sticking wire teeth through the leather straps
used for making cotton cards. When he became old enough, he assisted his
father in his saw-mill and grist-mill, and during the winter months picked
up a meager education at the district school. He has said that it was the
rude and imperfect mills of his father that first turned his attention to
machinery. He was not fitted for hard work, however, as he was frail in
constitution and incapable of bearing much fatigue. Moreover, he inherited
a species of lameness which proved a great obstacle to any undertaking on
his part, and gave him no little trouble all through life. At the age of
eleven he went to live out on the farm of a neighbor, but the labor
proving too severe for him he returned home and resumed his place in his
father's mills, where he remained until he was sixteen years old.

"At the age of twenty-one he married. This was a rash step for him, as his
health was very delicate, and his earnings were but nine dollars per week.
Three children were born to him in quick succession, and he found it no
easy task to provide food, shelter and clothing for his little family. The
light heartedness for which he had formerly been noted entirely deserted
him, and he became sad and melancholy. His health did not improve, and it
was with difficulty that he could perform his daily task. His strength was
so slight that he would frequently return from his day's work too
exhausted to eat. He could only go to bed, and in his agony he wished 'to
lie in bed forever and ever,' Still he worked faithfully and
conscientiously, for his wife and children were very dear to him; but he
did so with a hopelessness which only those who have tasted the depths of
poverty can understand.

"About this time he heard it said that the great necessity of the age was
a machine for doing sewing. The immense amount of fatigue incurred and the
delay in hand sewing were obvious, and it was conceded by all who thought
of the matter at all that the man who could invent a machine which would
remove these difficulties would make a fortune. Howe's poverty inclined
him to listen to these remarks with great interest. No man needed money
more than he, and he was confident that his mechanical skill was of an
order which made him as competent as any one else to achieve the task
proposed. He set to work to accomplish it, and, as he knew well the
dangers which surround an inventor, kept his own counsel. At his daily
labor, in all his waking hours, and even in his dreams, he brooded over
this invention. He spent many a wakeful night in these meditations, and
his health was far from being benefitted by this severe mental
application. Success is not easily won in any great undertaking, and Elias
Howe found that he had entered upon a task which required the greatest
patience, perseverance, energy and hopefulness. He watched his wife as
she sewed, and his first effort was to devise a machine which should do
what she was doing. He made a needle pointed at both ends, with the eye in
the middle, that should work up and down through the cloth, and carry the
thread through at each thrust, but his elaboration of this conception
would not work satisfactorily. It was not until 1844, fully a year after
he began the attempt to invent the machine, that he came to the conclusion
that the movement of a machine need not of necessity be an imitation of
the performance by hand. It was plain to him that there must be another
stitch by the aid of a shuttle and a curved needle with the eye near the
point. This was the triumph of his skill. He had now invented a perfect
sewing machine, and had discovered the essential principles of every
subsequent modification of his conception. Satisfied that he had at length
solved the problem, he constructed a rough model of his machine of wood
and wire, in October, 1844, and operated it to his perfect satisfaction.

"It has been stated by Professor Renwick and other scientists that Elias
Howe 'carried the invention of the sewing machine further on toward its
complete and final utility than any other inventor has ever brought a
first-rate invention at the first trial.' ...

"Having patented his machine, Howe endeavored to bring it into use. He was
full of hope, and had no doubt that it would be adopted at once by those
who were so much interested in the saving of labor. He first offered it to
the tailors of Boston; but they, while admitting its usefulness, told him
it would never be adopted by their trade, as it would ruin them.
Considering the number of machines now used by the tailoring interests
throughout the world, this assertion seems ridiculous. Other efforts were
equally unsuccessful. Every one admitted and praised the ingenuity of the
machine, but no one would invest a dollar in it. Fisher (Howe's partner)
became disgusted and withdrew from his partnership, and Howe and his
family moved back to his father's house. Thoroughly disheartened, he
abandoned his machine. He then obtained a place as engineer on a
railroad, and drove a locomotive until his health entirely broke down....

"In 1850 Howe removed to New York, and began in a small way to manufacture
machines to order. He was in partnership with a Mr. Bliss, but for several
years the business was so unimportant that upon the death of his partner,
in 1855, he was enabled to buy out that gentleman's interest, and thus
became the sole proprietor of his patent. Soon after this his business
began to increase, and continued until his own proper profits, and the
royalty which the courts compelled other manufacturers to pay him for the
use of his invention, grew from $300 to $200,000 per annum. In 1867, when
the extension of his patent expired, it is stated that he had earned a
total of two millions of dollars by it."


Robert Burns was a failure as plowman and farmer. Rousseau was a failure
at every kind of physical work. Henry George nearly starved himself and
his family to death trying to make a living as a journeyman printer. The
following extract from the autobiography of Jacob Riis[8]--another
excellent example of this type of organization--shows how useless it was
for him to attempt to make his living at physical labor:

[Footnote 8: From "The Making of an American," by Jacob A. Riis. Macmillan
& Company, New York.]

A missionary in Castle Garden was getting up a gang of men for the Brady's
Bend Iron Works on the Allegheny River, and I went along. We started a
full score, with tickets paid, but only two of us reached the Bend. The
rest calmly deserted in Pittsburgh and went their own way....

The iron works company mined its own coal. Such as it was, it cropped out
of the hills right and left in narrow veins, sometimes too shallow to
work, seldom affording more space to the digger than barely enough to
permit him to stand upright. You did not go down through a shaft, but
straight in through the side of a hill to the bowels of the mountain,
following a track on which a little donkey drew the coal to the mouth of
the mine and sent it down the incline to run up and down a hill a mile or
more by its own gravity before it reached the place of unloading. Through
one of these we marched in, Adler and I, one summer morning with new
pickaxes on our shoulders and nasty little oil lamps fixed in our hats to
light us through the darkness where every second we stumbled over chunks
of slate rock, or into pools of water that oozed through from above. An
old miner, whose way lay past the fork in the tunnel where our lead began,
showed us how to use our picks and the timbers to brace the slate that
roofed over the vein, and left us to ourselves in a chamber perhaps ten
feet wide and the height of a man.

We were to be paid by the ton, I forget how much, but it was very little,
and we lost no time in getting to work. We had to dig away the coal at the
floor with our picks, lying on our knees to do it, and afterward drive
wedges under the roof to loosen the mass. It was hard work, and, entirely
inexperienced as we were, we made but little headway.

When toward evening we quit work, after narrowly escaping being killed by
a large stone that fell from the roof in consequence of our neglect to
brace it up properly, our united efforts had resulted in barely filling
two of the little carts, and we had earned, if I recollect aright,
something like sixty cents each. The fall of the roof robbed us of all
desire to try mining again....

Up the railroad track I went, and at night hired out to a truck farmer,
with the freedom of his hay-mow for my sleeping quarters. But when I had
hoed cucumbers three days in a scorching sun, till my back ached as if it
were going to break, and the farmer guessed he would call it square for
three shillings, I went farther. A man is not necessarily a
philanthropist, it seems, because he tills the soil. I did not hire out
again. I did odd jobs to earn my meals, and slept in the fields at

The city was full of idle men. My last hope, a promise of employment in a
human-hair factory, failed, and, homeless and penniless, I joined the
great army of tramps, wandering about the streets in the daytime with the
one aim of somehow stilling the hunger that gnawed at my vitals, and
fighting at night with vagrant curs or outcasts as miserable as myself for
the protection of some sheltering ash-bin or doorway. I was too proud in
all my misery to beg. I do not believe I ever did.

There was until last winter a doorway in Chatham Square, that of the old
Barnum clothing store, which I could never pass without recalling those
nights of hopeless misery with the policeman's periodic 'Get up there!
move on!' reinforced by a prod of his club or the toe of his boot. I slept
there, or tried to when crowded out of the tenements in the Bend by their
utter nastiness. Cold and wet weather had set in, and a linen duster was
all that covered my back. There was a woolen blanket in my trunk which I
had from home--the one, my mother had told me, in which I was wrapped when
I was born; but the trunk was in the 'hotel' as security for money I owed
for board, and I asked for it in vain. I was now too shabby to get work,
even if there had been any to get. I had letters still to friends of my
family in New York who might have helped me, but hunger and want had not
conquered my pride. I would come to them, if at all, as their equal, and,
lest I fall into temptation, I destroyed the letters. So, having burned my
bridges behind me, I was finally and utterly alone in the city, with the
winter approaching and every shivering night in the streets reminding me
that a time was rapidly coming when such a life as I led could no longer
be endured.

Not in a thousand years would I be likely to forget the night when it
came. It had rained all day, a cold October storm, and night found me,
with the chill downpour unabated, down by the North River, soaked through
and through, with no chance for a supper, forlorn and discouraged. I sat
on the bulwark, listening to the falling rain and the swish of the dark
tide, and thinking of home. How far it seemed, and how impassable the
gulf now between the 'castle,' with its refined ways, between her, in her
dainty girlhood, and me sitting there, numbed with the cold that was
slowly stealing away my senses with my courage. There was warmth and cheer
where she was. Here an overpowering sense of desolation came upon me. I
hitched a little nearer to the edge. What if----? Would they miss me much
or long at home if no word came from me? Perhaps they might never hear.
What was the use of keeping it up any longer, with, God help us,
everything against, and nothing to back, a lonely lad?...

It was not only breakfast we lacked. The day before we had had only a
crust together. Two days without food is not good preparation for a day's
canvassing. We did the best we could. Bob stood by and wagged his tail
persuasively while I did the talking; but luck was dead against us, and
'Hard Times' stuck to us for all we tried. Evening came and found us down
by the Cooper Institute, with never a cent. Faint with hunger, I sat down
on the steps under the illuminated clock, while Bob stretched himself at
my feet. He had beguiled the cook in one of the last houses we called at,
and his stomach was filled. From the corner I had looked on enviously. For
me there was no supper, as there had been no dinner and no breakfast.
To-morrow there was another day of starvation. How long was this to last?
Was it any use to keep up a struggle so hopeless? From this very spot I
had gone, hungry and wrathful, three years before when the dining
Frenchmen for whom I wanted to fight thrust me forth from their company.
Three wasted years! Then I had one cent in my pocket, I remembered. To-day
I had not even so much. I was bankrupt in hope and purpose. Nothing had
gone right; and worse, I did not care. I drummed moodily upon my book.
Wasted! Yes, that was right. My life was wasted, utterly wasted.

A voice hailed me by name, and Bob sat up, looking attentively at me for
his cue as to the treatment of the owner of it. I recognized in him the
principal of the telegraph school where I had gone until my money gave
out. He seemed suddenly struck by something.

[Illustration: Photo by Marceau, N.Y.
FIG. 9. Richard Mansfield, Actor-Manager. A fine, balanced combination of
artistic talent, creative power, and capacity for great emotion, with good
judgment, financial sense, great energy, great determination,
uncompromising devotion to ideals, fine powers of expression, and
executive ability of the driving, compelling, rigid type. Note high head,
domed above temples and wide across center of forehead; large nose; long,
straight upper lip; firm mouth; prominent chin; long line from point of
chin to crown of head; intense expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10. Hon. A.I. Cutting (same as FIG. 11).
Intellectual, idealistic, yet practical; mild, but very shrewd and
persistent; good-natured, friendly, social, sympathetic, kindly, yet with
good commercial and financial judgment. Observe height of head, with dome
above temples; moderate width of head; pleasant, but firm-set, mouth; fine
texture and fine chiseling of features; strong, prominent chin, and
genial, kindly, friendly expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11. Hon. A.L. Cutting. Ambitious, aspiring, hopeful,
cheerful, friendly, social. A good public speaker. Excellent planner,
prudent, far-sighted, and deliberate in speech and action. Note high head,
both at crown and above temples, long behind ears; high forehead;
well-formed eyes and nose, and prominent chin.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12. The late Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court of the United States. Unusually keen analytical powers,
unaffected by sentiment or irrelevant considerations. Great ability to get
down to essentials. Note fullness of brows and of upper corners of
forehead; keen, penetrating eyes, and long nose with depressed tip.]

[Illustration: FIG. 13. Frank A. Vanderlip, President of National
City Bank, of New York. A man of both financial and political acumen--also
humanitarian. Note high, domed head; width across center and lower part of
forehead; inclination to stoutness; large, well-formed features; long
lines of face.]

[Illustration: _Copyright American Press Association_.
FIG. 14. Hon. Joseph W. Folk, of Missouri. A keen politician, shrewd
lawyer, and hard fighter. Note height and width of head; large, prominent
nose; square, firm jaw; long upper lip; dogged set of mouth; unflinching
eyes, and inclination to stoutness.]

[Illustration: FIG. 15. The late Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, of Rhode
Island. Keen, practical observation, financial judgment, diplomacy,
shrewdness, energy, intellect, industry, courage, determination, and
command. Note well-developed brows; height and width of forehead,
especially across center; long, well-developed nose; straight, firm mouth;
broad, square, prominent chin; long ears; long line from point of chin to
crown of head, and keen, shrewd, alert, penetrating expression of eye.]

[Illustration: FIG. 16. Showing large, well-developed base of brain,
usually an indication of a tendency to stoutness. Note fullness of back of
head at nape of neck.]

"'Why, what are you doing here?' he asked. I told him Bob and I were just
resting after a day of canvassing.

"'Books!' he snorted. 'I guess that won't make you rich. Now, how would
like to be a reporter, if you have got nothing better to do? The manager
of a news agency downtown asked me to-day to find him a bright young
fellow whom he could break in. It isn't much--$10 a week to start with.
But it is better than peddling books, I know,'

"He poked over the book in my hand and read the title. 'Hard Times,' he
said, with a little laugh. 'I guess so. What do you say? I think you will
do. Better come along and let me give you a note to him now.'

"As in a dream. I walked across the street with him to his office and got
the letter which was to make me, half starved and homeless, rich as
Croesus, it seemed to me.

"When the sun rose I washed my face and hands in a dog's drinking trough,
pulled my clothes into such shape as I could, and went with Bob to his new
home. The parting over, I walked down to 23 Park Row and delivered my
letter to the desk editor in the New York News Association up on the top

"He looked me over a little doubtfully, but evidently impressed with the
early hours I kept told me that I might try. He waved me to a desk,
bidding me wait until he had made out his morning book of assignments; and
with such scant ceremony was I finally introduced to Newspaper Row, that
had been to me like an enchanted land. After twenty-seven years of hard
work in it, during which I have been behind the scenes of most of the
plays that go to make up the sum of the life of the metropolis, it
exercises the old spell over me yet. If my sympathies need quickening, my
point of view adjusting, I have only to go down to Park Row at eventide,
when the crowds are hurrying homeward and the City Hall clock is lighted,
particularly when the snow lies on the grass in the park, and stand
watching them awhile, to find all things coming right. It is Bob who
stands by and watches with me then, as on that night."


The big important lesson underlying all of these concrete examples is that
the individual of this type never ought to attempt to do any kind of work
in which success depends upon physical effort. Whatever talents he may
have will express themselves always best in an intellectual way. It may be
art, it may be music, it may be machinery, it may be business, it may be
mining or agriculture, it may be any one of many other active pursuits
which have also a purely intellectual side. In his early youth his mind
naturally turns to the more material manifestation of his talent. But,
with proper training and given the proper opportunities, he will always
gravitate surely to the mental and intellectual phases of his bent. The
boy who is interested in machinery may become an inventor or he may become
a playwright or an author. The boy who is interested in plants and flowers
may become a botanist or a naturalist, or, perhaps, even a poet. The boy
who is deeply interested in battles and fighting may be far better adapted
to the profession of historian than to the trade of soldier. The boy who
likes to build houses and factories in his play, and seems to be deeply
interested in the construction of edifices, may not be fitted to become a
contractor or a draughtsman. If he is of this intellectual type, he is far
more likely to become an architect, or, perhaps, to idealize his talents
even further and devote himself to literature on the subject of
architecture, home planning, and home decoration. The boy of this type,
who in his youth seems to take a particular interest in horses, cattle,
dogs, and other animals, may not necessarily be best qualified for a stock
breeder or a dairyman. Possibly he should become a veterinarian or even a
physician and surgeon. Or his bent may be in the direction of science, so
that he makes a name as a naturalist.

The first and most important thing for people of this type, and for
parents having children of this type, is to get it firmly fixed in their
minds, once for all, that they are not fitted for hard physical work. The
next important thing, of course, is to secure a broad and complete
education along general lines. If there is any striking and particular
talent along any one line, such an education is more than likely to bring
it out and to cause it to seek further development. In case there is no
such distinct predilection manifested, further and more minute study of
the individual will have to be made in order to determine just what kind
of intellectual work will give him the best opportunities for success and
happiness. Even in the want of such a careful analysis, it is,
nevertheless, true that an individual of this type, who has no marked
inclination toward any one form of mental activity, is always far better
placed, far happier, and far more successful if trained to do any kind of
intellectual work than if left untrained and compelled to try to earn his
own living by the use of his bones and muscles.



When we were children and went to the circus, our favorite performer in
the sawdust ring was always the clown, and our favorite clown was the fat
one. In fact, we do not remember ever having seen a clown who was not a
fat man.

Alas! how many were the tribulations of our rotund friend! How he was
buffeted, and paddled, and slapped! How often he tumbled and fell! How
maliciously inanimate objects flew up and hit him in the face! How
constantly his best efforts went for naught, how invariably he was
misunderstood! How great was the glee with which everybody persecuted him
and knocked him about the ring! And yet, notwithstanding all his troubles,
did he win from us a sympathetic sigh or even the fraction of a tear,
except tears of laughter? All his troubles seemed funny to us.

Millions are still laughing at the comic tribulations of dear old John
Bunny, although he has gone beyond the power of things to trouble him. We
have laughed and are still laughing at Thomas Wise. From the days of
Falstaff down to those of the "movies," we have enjoyed laughing at the
plights of a fat man on the stage.


In real life it is much the same. Every fat man knows that only by unusual
patience, good nature, and friendly tolerance can he live with his
fellows. He is the butt of all jokes; he must smile at a constant patter
of pleasantries about his unusual size. He hears the same old stupid japes
over and over and over again. If he weren't the prince of good fellows and
the best-natured man in the world, it would fare ill for those who torment

As a matter of fact, it may be better for the rest of us than for the fat
man that he is good natured, easy going, genial, fond of a good laugh;
because fat men rule the world. Perhaps that is why it is so funny to us
to see them in trouble. It is one of the foibles of humanity always to
find pleasure in the mishaps of its rulers and superiors. The pranks of
the schoolboy are intended to cause perplexity and distress to his
teacher. This is true of the college youth in his playfulness. The same
human trait manifests itself in a thousand other ways.

The fat man was born to rule. He enjoys the good things of life. He is
fond of luxuries. He has a keenly developed sense of taste, and a nice
discrimination of flavor. He likes to wear good clothing. He likes soft,
upholstered chairs, comfortable beds, a goodly shelter. Like old King Cole
(always pictured in our nursery books with a Garguntian girth), he enjoys
"his pipe and his bowl and his fiddlers three." He is fond of a good joke,
and laughs more heartily than any one else at it. In fact, enjoyment and
pleasure may be said to be the keynote of the typical fat man's
personality. But he is too heavy for physical activity. His feet are too
small for the weight of his body. He does not care for strenuous physical
exercise. It is not his idea of a good time to follow a golf ball all over
a twenty-acre field. He does it only because he thus hopes to reduce his
flesh and enable himself to become once more the romantic figure he was in
his youth. For, while the fat man may be a master of comedy, and while he
may be a ruler of the people, he is not romantic. The big fellows do not
well sustain romantic roles, except in grand opera, where nearly
everything but the music is illusion and elusive. Our novelists all tell
us that as soon as a man's girth begins to increase, he looks ridiculous
in a fine frenzy. J.M. Barrie makes a very keen point of this in his story
of Tommy and Grizel. It was the increasing size of his waist band that
drove poor Tommy to such extreme measures as to cause his final downfall
and death. His one great aim in life was to be romantic, and when the lady
of his desires giggled about his increasing size it was too much.

Scientific research, philosophy, and the more strenuous and concentrated
forms of mental activity seem to require a certain degree of asceticism in
order to be wholly efficient. We are told that the person who feeds too
well causes his mind to grow rather ponderous in its movements. He is
inclined to fall asleep if he remains quiet and practices severe mental
concentration for too long a time.


If, therefore, the fat man cannot work at physical labor, if he is not
fitted for romance, if he is incapacitated by his love of the good things
of life for severe mental labor, what can he do to fill his purse, supply
his table, clothe his portly person, and surround himself with the
elegancies and luxuries which are so dear to his heart?

Evidently the fat man found out long ago that the eager, active, restless,
energetic, muscular, raw-boned soldier and workman was far more interested
in the exercise of his muscles and in outdoor activity than he was in
securing niceties and luxuries. He also learned that the thinker, the
philosopher, the scientific experimenter, and all who took delight in
mental effort were more deeply interested in their studies, in their
research, in their philosophies, and in their religions than they were in
money, food, clothing, and shelter. So he set about it, with his jovial
personality, his persuasiveness, and keen sense of values, to organize the
thinkers and philosophers under his direction, so that he could take and
use for himself the product of their mental labors. He was perfectly
willing to agree to feed and take care of them, to clothe and shelter
them, in return for what they could give him. They didn't eat much. They
didn't care much for fine clothing. They were perfectly satisfied in very
plain and rather ascetic surroundings. They were, therefore, a rather
inexpensive lot of people for him to keep.

Taking the plans, schemes, inventions, and discoveries from those who
thought them out, the fat man carried them to the muscular fellows, who
were just spoiling for a fight or for some opportunity to exercise their
physical powers. These he organized into armies--to fight, to till the
soil, and to build and manufacture. These armies carried out the ideas the
fat man got for them from the lean and hungry thinkers. They gloried in
hardship. They rather enjoyed roughing it, and took delight in privation.
Therefore, they also were a comparatively easy burden on the hands of the
fat man; who was thus enabled to sit upon a golden throne, in a
comfortable palace, surrounded by all the beauties and luxuries gathered
from the four winds, and enjoy himself while directing the work of both
the intellectual giant and the physical giant.


Kant, Schopenhauer, Hegel, Spencer, Emerson, and Bergson were
philosophers, and were all lean and slender men. Lord Kelvin, Lister,
Darwin, Curie, Francis Bacon, Michelson, Loeb, Burbank, and most of our
other scientists are also of the thin, lean type. Shakespeare, Longfellow,
Holmes, Ruskin, Tindall, Huxley, and a long list of other intellectual and
spiritual writers were men who never put on much flesh. James Watt, Robert
Fulton, Elias Howe, Eli Whitney, S.F.B. Morse, Marconi, Alexander Graham
Bell, the Wright Brothers, and nearly all of our other great inventors
have also been men whose habit was slender. Alexander, Napoleon,
Washington, Grant, Kitchener, and most of our other great soldiers, while
robust, are of the raw-boned, muscular type. They do not belong in the
list of the fat men. The same is true of our great railroad builders, of
Stanley, Peary, Livingston, and other explorers, of De Palma, Oldfield,
Anderson, Cooper, Resta, and our other automobile racing kings. You look
in vain among the aviators for a huge, rotund figure. Spend a week in New
York City looking over subway workers, structural iron workers, guards,
brakemen, motormen, carpenters, bricklayers, truckmen, stevedores, and
boatmen. Go out into the country, look over the farm hands, the gardeners,
the woodsmen, and all who work with their hands in the midst of nature,
and in all the list you will find very few, if any, fat men. Fat men are,
therefore, doing neither the actual intellectual nor the actual physical
work of the world.


Study butchers, bakers, chefs, provision merchants, and others who deal in
food products. Among them you will find a good many corpulent figures.
They are interested in good things to eat. They know how to handle them.
They know how to purchase them, and they know how to sell them. They are
able to tickle the palate of the lean and hungry scholar, of the robust
and active soldier or worker, and, especially, of men as epicurean as
themselves. They are, therefore, successful in the handling of food
products. Go a little further--study foremen, superintendents, managers,
and presidents of corporations. In many a large upholstered chair, which
represents, in our modern life, the golden throne of the olden days, you
will find a fat man. Here, as of old, they are taking the ideas of the
thinkers and the muscular powers of the workers, and combining the two to
make profit for themselves. At the same time, they are finding for the
thinker a market for his ideas that he himself could never find. Unless
the fat man fed him, the lean man would become so lean that he would
finally die of starvation. The big fellow is also finding a market for the
muscular power, energy, and skill of the worker; a market which the
worker, by himself, could never find.


Recently we made a study of a large corporation. Amongst other things, we
found it required ten thousand dollars capital to provide the building,
machinery, help, tools, advertising, selling, and other necessities of
that business for every employee on the payroll. It also required unusual
organizing ability and unusual selling ability to gather together the
means for manufacturing the product and getting it into the hands of the
consumer. It also required considerable genius to collect the money for
the product and apply it to the needs of the workers in the form of
payroll. These services of the fat man are often forgotten by those who
work under his direction.

In order that huge industries may be built up and employment secured for
hundreds of thousands of men, large bodies of capital must be gathered
together. This is a work for financiers. Go down into Wall Street, in New
York; La Salle Street, in Chicago; State Street, in Boston, and look over
the financiers there. A considerable number of them are fat men. Because
thinkers and workers cannot appreciate financial value, many of them
complain loudly because the fat man sits in an easy chair and reaps the
profits from their efforts. They restlessly agitate for an economic system
which will yield them all the profits from their ideas and labor. They
want to eliminate the capitalist--to condemn the fat man to a choice
between scholarship or working as they work and starvation. They know
human aptitudes so vaguely that they want to turn the corpulent into farm
hands or philosophers and the great mass of lean and bony into financial

There is a prevalent notion among the unthinking that capital takes about
four-fifths of the products of labor's hands and keeps it. A committee of
the American Civic Federation, after three years of careful investigation
in industries employing an aggregate of ten million workers, found that
this idea is based upon the assumption that capital gets and keeps all the
gross income from production except what is paid to labor. It leaves out
of account the cost of raw materials, the upkeep of buildings and
machinery, and miscellaneous expenses. When these are subtracted from
gross income, the committee found, labor receives two-thirds of the
remainder in wages and salaries, capital one-third for interest, upkeep of
capital, and profit.


With some exceptions, neither the deep thinker nor the hard physical
worker is capable of handling finances. They are lacking in financial
acumen, due, no doubt, to the fact that the thinker is interested chiefly
in the object of his thought, the worker chiefly in the exercise of his
powerful muscles. Neither of them is sufficiently eager for the good
things of life to have a true and unerring sense of financial values. The
lean man is nervous. He is inclined to be irritable; he probably lacks
patience. Therefore, he is not well qualified to judge impartially. The
active, energetic, restless man is not contented to sit quietly for hours
at a time and listen to the troubles of other people. He must get away, be
out of doors, have something to do to exercise those splendid muscles of
his. Therefore, it is left to the fat man to sit upon the bench, to listen
to tiresome details of the woe of those who have had trouble with one
another. Because he is neither nervous nor irritable; because his mind is
at rest; because he is well fed and well clothed and has no need to be
anxious, he can take time to be impartial and to judge righteous judgment
between his fellowmen. And so you will find fat men on the bench, in
politics, in the halls of legislature, on the police force, and in other
places where they have an opportunity to use their judicial ability.


So unerring is the fat man's judgment of values, as a general rule, that
it is not at all likely that he would ever find himself a misfit were it
not for the fact that many men are lean and slender or muscular and robust
up to the age of 30 or 40, and after that put on flesh rapidly. These men,
therefore, are often deceived in regard to themselves. In the slenderness
of youth, they feel active and are active. In short, they have the
qualities, in these early periods of their life, which we should expect in
men of similar build. They are, therefore, too likely to enter upon
vocations for which they will find themselves unfitted as the years go by
and they put on more flesh. It often happens that men of this class
graduate from the ranks of thinkers or workers into the ranks of managers,
financiers, bankers, and judges, as they put on flesh and become better
and better adapted for that particular kind of work. The only trouble is
that sometimes they are not well enough trained--they do not have
sufficient education for the higher positions. In these cases they remain
misfits. Oftentimes they succeed in getting into positions of
comparatively mediocre executive nature, when they could assume and make a
success of very much higher positions if they had a true knowledge of
their vocations.


The story of Hon. Alfred L. Cutting, of Weston, Massachusetts, perhaps
illustrates as well as any other in our records the aptitudes and
vocational possibilities of this type. Mr. Cutting comes of good old New
England stock, his ancestors on both sides having settled in Massachusetts
comparatively early in the seventeenth century. His father and his
grandfather before him were merchants, and young Alfred began working in
the parental general store as soon as he had finished school.

As a youth, Mr. Cutting was quite distinctly of the bony and muscular
type, being very active, fond of rowing and fishing, a great lover of
nature and of long tramps through the beautiful hills of eastern
Massachusetts. As he entered manhood, however, he began to put on more
flesh and to take less interest in strenuous outdoor sports. At the same
time, he began to take a hand, in a quiet, modest way, in the town
politics of Weston. While still a comparatively young man, he was elected
a member of the board of selectmen of this town and has held this position
with singular acceptability to his fellow-citizens almost continuously
ever since.

For a number of years, Mr. Cutting was associated with his father and
brother in the general store, but, as time went on, he became ambitious to
enlarge his activities. He, therefore, assisted in the organization of the
New England branch of the Sheldon School, of Chicago, and was its manager
for a number of years. When he first undertook this work, Mr. Cutting had
never made a public speech in his life, and, while he was interested in
politics and ambitious for success along this line, he felt greatly
handicapped by what he considered to be his inability to face an audience
acceptably. It was at about this time that we first formed the
acquaintance of Mr. Cutting and, upon consultation, informed him of his
natural aptitudes and talents. He immediately began a careful study of
public speaking, supplementing this study with actual practice both in
politics and in his capacity as manager of the Sheldon School. In 1908 and
1909 he was a member of the House of Representatives for the State of
Massachusetts, gaining credit for himself as a member of important
committees and rendering to his own constituency unusually faithful and
efficient service.


As manager for the Sheldon School, Mr. Cutting selected and trained a
number of salesmen and assistants in the leadership of whom he did
excellent work, he himself delivering lectures before boards of trade,
chambers of commerce, trade conventions, and other such bodies in all
parts of New England. He has since, however, given up this particular line
of work to devote himself to politics, to his civic duties, and to the
management of his growing mercantile business. He is, at present, chairman
of the board of selectmen for the town of Weston, an office which he has
held with distinction for five years. He is also a member of the executive
committee of the Republican Club of Massachusetts. In 1913 he was the
Republican candidate for representative in Congress for the thirteenth
district, at the special election held during that year to fill the
vacancy caused by the promotion of the Hon. John W. Weeks to the United
States Senate. This was the year when the Progressive vote was very large
and the Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts was thousands
of votes behind the Progressive. Notwithstanding this unusual political
situation, Mr. Cutting, though not elected, led his Progressive opponent
by more than 3,000 votes, and, by his splendid leadership, helped lay the
foundation for the Republican victory in the same district the following
year. At this writing, Mr. Cutting has just won a notable victory at the
polls, having been elected a member of the board of county commissioners
for Middlesex County by a very large plurality. He carried every district
in the county except two, and in nearly every district he ran far ahead of
his ticket.


Mr. Cutting's ability, however, is by no means fully indicated by the
offices which he has held. He has never been an office seeker, but has
preferred rather to work as a political leader. His great interest in
politics arises, first, from his ardent desire for excellence and
efficiency in the public service. Under his leadership, the town of Weston
has built and maintains more miles of excellent roads, at less cost to the
tax payer, than any other town of its area in the State. Its schools and
other public institutions are similarly efficient and conducted with a
similar degree of economy. Second, Mr. Cutting enjoys politics because he
loves the game. Like all true sportsmen, he plays to win, but is neither
chagrined or cast down if he loses. He is always able to rejoice with the
victor if beaten in a fair fight.


Mr. Cutting is one of the organizers of the Metropolitan Bank of Boston,
and a prominent member of its board of directors, thus indicating his
growing interest in financial matters.

The portraits of Mr. Cutting, shown on pages 126 and 127, are well worthy
of study. In them are evident his cheerfulness, his geniality, his
shrewdness, his friendliness, and his honesty of purpose. These are shown
largely in the expression, but also in the full, found development of his
head just above the temples, in his long back head, and in the general
squareness of the head. This squareness, especially in the back, indicates
also his prudence, his tendency to take precautions and, through
foresight, to forestall disaster. The narrowness of the head, just above
the ears, indicates mildness of disposition and an ability to secure his
ends by tact, diplomacy, and intellectual mastery rather than by open
combat and belligerency. The fulness of the eyes indicates Mr. Cutting's
command of language, and the broad, square chin his determination and
deliberation; the long line from the point of the chin to the crown of the
head, his love of authority and his ability to lead and to rule.


The man of slender build who has indications clearly marked and easily
recognizable of approaching stoutness should prepare himself for
executive, financial, judicial, or merchandising work. He should study
law, economics, finance, banking, politics, political economy, public
speaking and other such branches. If he has the ability to write, he
should prepare himself to write on financial or political subjects. Many
of our most noted political writers are fat men. Such writers as Alfred G.
Lewis, Samuel G. Blythe, and others are good examples of this type.

Indications of approaching stoutness are not difficult to detect. Heredity
has a powerful influence. The young man who resembles his father in facial
appearance and coloring, will probably grow stout if his father is a fat
man. When the face inclines to be round, the cheeks rather full, and the
lips full, there is a fair probability that the individual will take on
flesh. A concave form of face is also another good indication. The concave
face is shown in Figure 31. It will be seen that it is prominent at the
point of the chin, and not so prominent at the mouth, and prominent at the
top of the forehead, near the hair line, and not so prominent at the
brows. The nose, also, is inclined to be sway backed. Another indication
which should have a bearing in the choice of a vocation is the thickness
of the neck, especially, at the back, and a fulness of the back head, at
the base of the brain. Such fulness is shown in Figure 16.

Wideness of the head, in comparison with length and height, is also
another indication that the individual may put on flesh as he grows
older. The man or woman who has a majority of these indications will do
well to prepare himself or herself for a position of command.

The world is a richer, pleasanter, better fed, better clothed, and happier
place because of its fat men. It is true, they enjoy the good things of
life themselves, but, as a general rule, they also like to see others
enjoy them, and well deserve the rich rewards they reap. We are glad that
so few of them are ever poor and hungry.

[Illustration: FIG. 17. Beaumont, Aviator. His square jaw, strong
chin, large nose, large ear, convex profile, and alert, keen expression
all indicate activity, energy, love of motion, desire for speed, and
physical courage.]

[Illustration: Photo by Paul Thompson. N.
FIG. 18. The late Lincoln Beachy, Aviator. A man of consummate physical
courage and coolness. Note long lines of face and unusually long,
prominent chin.]

[Illustration: _Copyright by Harris & Ewing_.
FIG. 19. Col. George W. Goethals, Builder of the Panama Canal and Governor
of Canal Zone. Of the intellectual but bony and muscular type. Short,
stocky, enduring, and resistant. Finer and kindlier than FIG. 20 or FIG.
21, as shown by texture and expression, but firm, dogged, and just. A
natural-born executive for construction or mechanical work. Note firm
mouth and chin, with slight droop at corners, showing determination and

[Illustration: _Copyright American Press Association_.
FIG. 20. Field Marshal von Hindenberg, of the German Army. A splendid
example of the bony, muscular type. Unusually determined, persistent,
enduring, and resistant. Prudent, far-sighted, dogged, unsentimental,
capable of enduring great hardship. Note short, stocky build; big, square
chin and jaw; long, square head; relentless expression of mouth and eyes;
coarse texture, and big, heavy-tipped nose. A great executive, especially
as a relentless driver and rigid disciplinarian.]

[Illustration: _Copyright American Press Association_.
FIG. 21. Rear Admiral Frank E. Beatty, of the American Navy. A fine
example of the bony and muscular type. Rugged and enduring, keen, alert,
and resourceful. Finer and kindlier than von Hindenberg, but not quite so
fine, intellectual and kindly as Goethals. Just and determined as an
executive, of which he is an excellent type. Note finer texture and more
genial expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 22. William Lloyd Garrison, the Great Abolitionist. A
man of the bony and muscular type, with the passion of his type for
freedom. A man of high ideals, great courage, determination, and
perseverance. Note large, well-formed features; forehead prominent at
brows; long upper lip, and high, spirited expression. Such a man cannot be

[Illustration: _Photo by Pach, N.Y._
FIG. 23. Samuel Rea, Railroad Builder and Executive. Very alert, keen,
practical, matter-of-fact, hard-headed; a good observer, a quick thinker.
Very decisive, determined, and persistent. Understands construction,
mechanics, and operation. Note well-developed brows; moderately low,
square forehead; height of crown; width of head; large, well-formed nose,
mouth, chin, jaw, and ears, and keen, but calm, self-possessed

[Illustration: FIG. 24. Lon Wescott Beck, the Sign Poster of Death
Valley. An out-of-doors man. Loves grandeur of scenery, wide spaces. Note
long, square, prominent chin; long lines of face; width between eyes, and
width at top of head.]



Consider the record of the man of action.

He built the pyramids and temples of Egypt, raised up the monuments and
artistic triumphs of Greece, fared forth across the plains of Arabia and
the deserts of Africa on horses and camels before the dawn of history. He
wore the coat of mail of the Roman legion; he penetrated through the
northernmost forest of Europe; he pioneered in barbarous England.
Thousands of years ago he built ships and sailed them, and, finally, drove
them across the sea. Thus he found two new continents. In America, he cut
down forests, built roads, established industry, fought battles for
freedom, invented and built steamships, telephones, telegraphs, cotton
gins, aeroplanes, railroads, submarines thousands of electric light and
power stations, and millions of shops and factories. He explored darkest
Africa; found both the North and the South Poles. This man drives his
steamships at thirty knots an hour, his locomotives at 70 miles an hour,
his automobiles at 100, and his aeroplanes at 120. He is setting higher
and yet higher records for running, leaping, swimming, rowing, throwing
weights, and driving horses. He has organized great athletic contests,
baseball leagues, tennis associations, golf clubs, and other organizations
for the promotion of physical activity. The man of bone and muscle has
climbed to the peaks of all the mountains of the world; has dug down into
the depths of the earth after her treasures of gold and silver and the
baser metals, precious stones, and other products of the mines. This man
tills the fields, manufactures all fabricated products, and carries goods
to the ends of the earth. This active type mans navies, fills the ranks of
armies, erects great buildings, and cut through the backbone of a


This man loves motion. He is not satisfied with slow, languid motion, but
demands speed, greater and ever greater speed. And so his horses, his
locomotives, the machines in his factory, his automobiles, his aeroplanes,
his motor-cycles, his farm implements, his ocean liners, his motor boats,
are being constantly studied, constantly improved, and constantly raised
to higher and higher performances in speed of production, speed of
transportation, speed of accomplishment.

This man not only demands speed, but he demands space. The man who can
travel at a hundred miles an hour needs many hundred miles in which to
travel. This is why nearly all of his activities are in the big
out-of-doors; this is why he is constantly exploring and pioneering in
order to extend his boundaries. He has a craving for more space in which
to breathe, more scope of action.

This ardent and irrepressible desire for physical freedom, for physical
liberty of action, also leads to the desire for political and economical
freedom. All of our great liberators, from Moses down to Lincoln, have
been men of this active, muscular, bony, type. Because they desire freedom
for themselves, they want freedom for everyone else. They often go to
extremes and strive to secure freedom for those who have no use for it,
who do not care for it after it is won for them, and who only abuse it
when they should enjoy its blessings.


In the early days of the race, the man of this type had little
intelligence. He was supposed to be, principally, bone and muscle with no
brain. He did the physical work which was assigned to him and other men
did the thinking, the planning, and the directing. But, as the race has
increased in intelligence, the man of bone and muscle has developed a
brain. Manual skill, educators tell us, is one of the best of all means
for gaining knowledge and increasing intelligence. So now the muscular man
can think, now he can plan, now, especially, does he manifest his
thinking, planning and constructive ability along lines for increasing
speed, getting more out of machinery, buildings, inventions, manufacture,
agriculture, horticulture, transportation. In all these lines the man of
action is also a man of thought. This is well; this is an improvement, and
our active, hustling, pioneer type of man is happier, more efficient, more
prosperous in his intelligent state than he was in his purely physical
state. But here, also, he gets into trouble. So long as his mental
activity is accompanied by considerable physical activity, his health is
good, he is satisfied, he enjoys his work and he is successful in it. But
the time comes when the work to be done by brain becomes so important that
many men of this type give up physical activity entirely and devote all of
their time to mental work.


Strange that we have not learned that any faculty possessed must be
exercised or the possessor surely falls into evil ways. Strange that we
have not seen that the man who explores the unknown world in mighty
pioneering work, who frees it from oppression, who carries on its
tremendous physical and industrial development, could never be satisfied
if imprisoned within the four walls of an office. Thus hampered and
confined, unless he finds expression for his speed mania, he grows
irritable, ill, nervous, depressed. He troops, by the thousand, into the
consulting rooms of the physician and surgeon. And always and always is
the same prescription given: "You must get away from your work; you must
get out into the open; you must get plenty of outdoor exercise."

Exercise, exercise, exercise, has become the slogan. Magazines are devoted
to it. Whole libraries of books are published showing the relationship
between exercise and health. Sanitariums multiply whose principal means of
cure are located in the gymnasium, in the garden, in the woods, at the
wood pile, and on the farm. Fortunes have been made in the manufacture of
the equipment for exercise: Indian clubs, dumb bells, and whole shiploads
of so-called sporting goods, the object of all of which is to enable the
active man to get some relief from the ache of his muscles or nerves due
to lack of exercise.


But the man of muscle is, as we have said, frequently a man of brains. He
has common sense; he has a desire for accomplishment and achievement. To
such a man, the mere pulling of cords, or the swinging about of his arms
and legs, the bending of his back, just for the sake of exercise, seems a
trifle stupid.

Very few men of this type ever keep up exercise for exercise's sake for
any very long period of time. They read in some magazine about the
benefits of exercise. Perhaps, on account of some trouble, they go to
their physicians, and exercise is prescribed. So, with a great show of
resolution and not a little feeling of martyrdom, they buy a pair of
Indian clubs, or wall exercisers, or a weight machine, or, perhaps, merely
buy a book of "exercises without apparatus," and make up their minds to
take their exercises regularly every morning. At first they attack the
task with great enthusiasm--but it is still a task. Perhaps marked
improvement is shown. They feel much better. They push out their chests
and tell their friends how they get up, take a cold bath every morning,
and then take ten or fifteen or twenty minutes of rapid calisthenics. In a
righteous glow, they relate how it shakes them up and makes their blood
course through their veins; how they breathe deeply; how the process
clears out their heads; and how much better they feel They wind up: "You
ought to do it, too, old man; it would make you young again."

By and by, however, to stand gazing blankly at the wall of a bathroom, or
out of the window of a bed-chamber, and put your arms up five times and
then straight forward five times, then repeat five times, etc., etc.,
grows dull. You lose interest You hate the task--you revolt. Even if, by
power of will, you keep it up, you do so under protest. It is a physical
truth that that which is disagreeable is also physically harmful. In order
to be wholesomely nourishing, food must taste good. The same is true in
regard to exercise. There is no very great benefit in exercise which is


To take the "task" element out of exercise, many kinds of games have been
invented--some indoor, some outdoor, some for men of little activity, some
of great strenuousness and even danger. But it requires a particular type
of man or woman to take interest in a game, to play it well and
profitably, as a form of exercise. To enter into a game whole-heartedly,
one must have a keen zest for combat. The man who plays purely for the
sport, and not to win, doesn't win. And the man who doesn't win, loses
interest. Not all men, not even all active men, have this desire to win.
To them a game soon becomes dull--nearly as dull as any other form of
exercise. They do not see that they are any further ahead in anything
worth while simply because they have knocked a golf ball about more
skilfully--or luckily--than some other fellow, or pulled a little stronger
oar than their opponents. There are plenty of men to whom it is
humiliating to be beaten, who are not good losers, and because they are
not good losers they are not very often winners. Such men do not really
enjoy games at all, and, as a general rule, do not play them with
enthusiasm and persistence.

For those, then, who do not enjoy calisthenics of any kind, who take very
little interest in games and contests, there remain, for exercise,
gardening, farming, carpentry, forestry, hunting, fishing, mountain
climbing, and other such forms of physical activity. All of these,
however, require considerable leisure, and some financial investment. They
are out of the reach of many of those in lower clerkships and other such
employment. These men, by the thousands, work in offices which are,
perhaps, not as well ventilated as they should be, under artificial light.
They travel to and from their work in crowded street cars and subways, and
live in little dark, narrow flats and apartments, with one window opening
out on sunlight and fresh air, and all other windows opening on courts
and so-called light and air-shafts. Golf, tennis, baseball, rowing, etc.,
are good forms of exercise for these men--but few of them care for games.
Gardening, forestry, carpenter work, mountain climbing, hunting, or
fishing are out of the question in a city flat. So the majority jump up in
the morning, hurry on their clothes, snatch a bite of breakfast, run for a
car, get to work, burrow in the warrens of industry until lunch time, rush
out, snatch a sandwich and a cup of coffee at some lunch counter, and back
to work again until dinner time. Another dive into the bowels of the earth
in the subway, home to the little flat, dinner at seven o'clock or even
later, and then the short evening. This little time from eight o'clock
until ten at night is practically the only time the worker has for
himself, except for holidays and his annual two weeks' vacation. How shall
he get sufficient physical exercise during that time to satisfy all his
needs? If he is so constituted that he enjoys such things, he may go to a
gymnasium or to a bowling alley, but he is just as likely to go to a pool
room or to a dance hall. Of course, it is far better for him to play pool
or to dance than to sit quietly at home, as many do.


This whole question is a serious one. Even those who have the time, the
means, the opportunity, and the inclination find themselves confronted
with problems. Even with all of their opportunities, most of them do not
get enough outdoor physical activity. And so they fret, they fume, they
beat their wings against the bars, they are unhappy, dissatisfied, and
therefore, oftentimes inefficient and unsuccessful. Even when they are
successful, they have fallen far below what they might have accomplished
had they been engaged in some vocation which would have given them not
only physical activity out of doors, but _some intense vital interest_ in
the _result_ of that activity. In other words, their vocation should
supply them with the necessary physical exercise as part of the day's
work. They should see themselves advancing, making money, achieving
something worth while, creating something beautiful or useful, making a
career for themselves, instead of merely playing or exercising for the
sake of exercise. Then they would be happier. Then they would be better
satisfied with their lot. They would be more efficient and far more

Current literature abounds in true stories of those who have gone forward
to the land and have found help, happiness, and success in the cultivation
of the soil. This one has redeemed an abandoned farm in New England. That
one has taken a small ten-acre farm in southern California. Another has
carved out health, happiness, and a fair degree of fortune for himself on
the plains of Washington or Idaho, or among the hills of Oregon. Old
southern plantations have been rehabilitated at the same time with their
new owners or tenants.


Near Gardiner, Maine, is a little forty-five acre poultry and fruit farm
which pays its happy owner $3,800 a year clear of all expense. Seven years
ago this farm was abandoned by its former owners, who could not make it
pay. Five years ago it was purchased by its present owner for a song--and
only a half-line of the song was sung at the time. He was a clerk who had
lived the little-flat-dark-office-and-subway life until tuberculosis had
removed him from his job and threatened his life. Farm work--on his own
farm--proved to be a game at which he could play with zest and success.
The stakes were a life and a living--and he has won. We--and you, too, no
doubt--could multiply narratives from observation and experience, to say
nothing of reading.


All these experiences and the reports of them are both a part of and a
stimulus to the "back to the land movement." This movement has its
mainspring in two plain economic facts, namely: first, clerical and other
indoor vocations have become overcrowded; second, while crops grow bigger
year by year, the number of mouths to feed multiplies even faster, and
unless more land is tilled and all land cultivated more intensively, we
shall eat less and less, as a race, and pay more and more for what we eat.
Here is opportunity for the men of bone and muscle--opportunity for
health, prosperity, usefulness to humanity, enjoyment and happiness. Other
opportunities lie in the conservation of our forests and the planting and
development of new timber lands; in the building up of new industries for
manufacturing our raw materials; in restoring the American flag to the
seas of the world; in extending our foreign trade; in opening and
operating inland waterways; in irrigating or draining our millions of
square miles of land now lying idle; in the development of Alaska, and the
harnessing of our great mines of "white coal"--water-power.

Our foreign trade requires men of this type to travel in all parts of the
world as commercial ambassadors, diligently collecting, compiling, and
sending back to the United States information necessary in manufacturing
goods for foreign consumption; also information regarding credits, prices,
shipping, packing--in short, complete and detailed knowledge about
commerce with foreign lands, how to secure it and how to hold it.

The world's greatest opportunities to-day, perhaps, lie within the grasp
of the men of this active type. Instead of pioneering in exploration, as
in former years, they are needed to pioneer in production. From the
earliest history of the race, these restless men have been faring westward
and ever westward, adding to the wealth and resources of humanity by
opening up new lands. But the crest of the westward moving tide has now
circumnavigated the globe, and the Far West meets the Far East on the
Pacific Ocean. Here and there are comparatively small, neglected tracts of
land still to be developed, but there are no longer great new empires, as
in former days. The great welling sources of human life have not ceased to
flow, even though the final boundaries of its spread have been reached.
Population will continue to grow and its demands upon the resources of the
earth to increase. The man who discovers a way to make a hundred bushels
of wheat grow on an acre of land where only twenty-five bushels grew
before is as great a benefactor of the race as the discoverer of a
continent. The invention of the electric light, the telephone, the
automobile, the trolley car, and the aeroplane have added as much to the
products and power of the race as the pioneering of thousands of square
miles of fertile hills and plains. The man who can find a cheap and easy
way to capture and hold nitrogen from the air will add more to the wealth
of the race than all the discoverers of all the gold mines.

America needs to find efficient and profitable methods for manufacturing
her own raw materials. Up to the present time, our exports have been coal,
petroleum, steel rails, wheat, corn, oats, lumber, and other products
which carry out of the country the riches of our soil. We have been
exporting raw materials to foreign lands, where they have been refined and
fabricated by brain and hand and returned to us at some five hundred to a
thousand times the price we received for them. With the increase of
population, we need to capitalize more and more the intelligence and skill
of our people, and less and less the virgin resources of our lands. Ore
beds, coal measures, copper, lead, gold and silver mines, forests, oil
wells, and the fertility of our soils can all become exhausted. But the
skill of our hands and the power of our intellects grow and increase and
yield larger and larger returns the more they are called upon to produce.

The man of bone and muscle--the restless, active, pioneering, constructing
man--would do well to consider these things before determining upon his
vocation, and especially before entering upon any kind of non-productive
work. The world has need of his particular talents and he should find his
greatest happiness and greatest success in the exercise of them in
response to that need.

We have seen so many men of this active type so badly placed that
individual examples seem almost too commonplace for citation. Yet, a few
may be instructive and encouraging.

William Carleton's remarkable story, entitled "Rediscovering America,"
is, in fact, the story of a man who was a middle-aged failure in a
clerical position, and who afterward made a remarkable success of his life
by taking up contracting and building. James Cook, a misfit as a grocer,
afterward became famous as a naval officer and explorer. Henry M. Stanley,
office boy to a cotton broker and merchant, afterward won immortal fame as
a newspaper correspondent and explorer. What would have become of Theodore
Roosevelt had he followed the usual line of occupation of a man in his
position and entered a law office instead of becoming a rancher? We might
add other experiences of similar importance from the biographies of other
great men.


The active type of man is, of course, easily recognized. He has broad,
square shoulders, and is well muscled. He is either of the wiry, elastic,
exceedingly energetic type, with muscles like steel springs and sinews
like steel wire--very agile, very skillful, very quick, and somewhat jerky
in his movements--or he is tall, raw-boned, strong, enduring, graceful,
easy in his movements rather than quick, and yet with considerable manual
skill. Or he may be of the short, stocky type, with broad shoulders, short
neck, short arms, short legs, with big, round muscles and an immense
capacity for endurance. The railroads of the early days, in this country,
were built by Irishmen. They were either the large, raw-boned type or the
quick, agile, wiry type. The railroads, subways, and other construction
work of to-day are built mostly by Italians, Hungarians, Greeks, and
others from the south of Europe. These men are of short, stocky, sturdy,
and enduring build. As a general rule, they are far better fitted for this
class of work than the tall or medium-sized, large-boned or wiry type. As
an evidence of this, take notice of the fact that the Irishmen who built
the railroads in the sixties own and manage them to-day.

These active men usually have square faces. That is to say, there is a
good development of the outer corners of the lower jaw, which gives to the
face a square appearance. Oftentimes their cheek bones are both high and
wide. As a general rule, they have large aquiline or Roman noses. When
they are of the enduring type and capable of long-sustained muscular
activity, they have prominent chins. Their hands are square. Their feet
are large. If they have mechanical and constructive ability, as most of
them have, their foreheads are comparatively high and wide just above the
temple. Professional baseball players, professional dancers, middle-weight
and light-weight prize-fighters, most aviators, automobile racers, and
athletes belong to the wiry, springy, medium-sized type of this particular
class of men. U.S. Grant, Robert E. Peary, Henry M. Stanley, Ty Cobb and
Ralph DePalma belong to this type. Abraham Lincoln, W.E. Gladstone, Joseph
G. Cannon, William G. McAdoo, Woodrow Wilson, and other men of this build
belong to the raw-boned type. Napoleon Bonaparte, with his tremendous
activities on only four hours' sleep a day, is a good example of the
short, stocky type. While men of these types may make brilliant successes
in purely mental vocations, as the result of the development of their
intellects, and may keep themselves in a fair degree of health and
strength by games, exercise, mountain climbing, farming, or some such
avocation, they are, nevertheless, never quite so well satisfied as when
they have something to do which not only gives them opportunity for the
use of their intellects, but also involves a certain degree of physical
activity as a part of their regular work.



To multitudes of men and women the lure of levers, cranks, wheels and
pinions is as seductive, as insidious, as heavenly in its promises, and as
hellish in its performances, as the opium habit. The craving for opium,
however, is an acquired taste, while the passion for machinery is born in
thousands. We have seen children, while yet in their baby-cabs, fascinated
by automobiles, sewing machines, and even little mechanical toys. We knew
a boy on a farm who built a fairly workable miniature threshing machine
with his own hands before he was old enough to speak the name of it in
anything but baby-talk. We have seen boys work in the broiling sun day
after day hoeing potatoes, pulling weeds, gathering crops, and doing other
hard jobs for small pay, carefully saving every penny to buy a toy steam

Parents usually look upon these evidences of mechanical ability with
pleasure. They regard them as sure indications of the vocation of the
child and oftentimes do everything in their power to encourage him in
these lines. They little realize, however, the supreme danger which
attaches to this very manifestation. Nor have they looked far enough ahead
to see what is, in so many cases, the lamentable result.


The boy of this type hates to sit quietly on a hard bench in a school and
study books. Some of the boys who went to school with us had imitation
levers and valve-handles fastened about their desks in an ingenious way,
and instead of studying, pretended that they were locomotive engineers.
With a careful eye upon the teacher, who was his semaphore, such a boy
would work the reverse lever, open and close the throttle, apply and
disengage the brakes, test the lubrication, and otherwise go through the
motions of running a locomotive with great seriousness and huge enjoyment.

These boys usually have considerable trouble with their teachers. They do
not like grammar, frequently do not care for geography and history. They
flounder dolefully in these studies and are in a state of more or less
continual rebellion and disgrace. Because of their intense activity and
restlessness, they irritate the teacher. She wants quiet in the
school-room. Their surreptitious playing, rapping and tapping on desks,
and other evidences of dammed-up energy and desire for more freedom and
more scope of action, interferes with the desired sanctity of silence.

Outside of school hours and during the long vacation, the fatal
fascination of machinery draws these young people to factories, railroad
yards, machine shops, and other places where they may indulge their fancy
and craving for mechanical motion. The boy who hangs around a machine shop
or railroad yard is always pressed into voluntary and delighted service by
those who work there. In a small town in Wisconsin we once knew a boy who
worked willingly and at the hardest kind of labor in a railroad yard for
years, voluntarily and without a cent of pay. In time he was entrusted
with a small responsibility and given a small salary. Even if the boy does
not begin in this way, the result is substantially the same. He may take
the bit in his teeth, leave school and go to work at some trade which will
give at least temporary satisfaction for his mechanical craving, or he
may, through economic necessity, be forced out of school and naturally
gravitate into a machine shop or factory. Oftentimes a few dollars a week
is a very welcome addition to the family income. To the boy himself,
three, four, five or six dollars a week seems like a fortune. Neither the
parents nor the boy look ahead. Neither of them sees that when the little
salary has increased to fifteen, sixteen, eighteen or twenty-five dollars
a week, the boy will have reached the zenith of his possibilities. There
will then be no further advancement, unless, during his apprenticeship and
journeymanship, or previously to them, he has secured mental training
which will enable him to go higher, hold more responsible positions and
earn larger pay.


In former days, the boy who left school and took up employment in a
factory learned a trade. He became a shoe-maker, or a harness-maker, or a
wheelwright, or a gun-maker. To-day, however, the work on all of these
articles has been so subdivided that the boy perhaps becomes stranded in
front of a machine which does nothing but punch out the covers for tin
cans, or cut pieces of leather for the heels of shoes, or some other finer
operation in manufacture. Once he has mastered the comparatively simple
method of operating his particular machine, the boy is likely to remain
there for all time. His employer--perhaps short-sighted--has no desire to
advance him, because this would mean breaking in another boy to handle his
machine. Also, it would mean paying more money.

Al Priddy, in his illuminating book, "Man or Machine--Which?"[9] thus
describes the case of the slave to the machine:

[Footnote 9: The Pilgrim Press, Boston.]

"The workingman has been taught that his chief asset is skill. It has been
his stocks, his bonds, the pride of his life. Poor as to purse and
impoverished in his household; his cupboard bare, his last penny spent on
a bread crust, he is not humbled; no, he merely stretches out his ten
fingers and two callous palms, exactly as a proud king extends his
diamond-tipped sceptre, to show you that which upholds him in his
birthright. 'My skill is my portion given to the world,' he says. 'I shall
not want. See, I am without a penny. I touch this bar of steel, and it
becomes a scissors blade. My skill did it. I take this stick of oak and it
becomes a chair rung. My skill is the grandest magic on earth, the common
magic of every day. By it I live and because of it I hold my head royal

"But the machine now attacks and displaces this skill. The cunning of
trained fingers is transferred to cranks, cogs and belts. The trade
secrets are objectified in mechanical form; able to mix the product,
compound the chemicals, or make the notch at the right place.

"Besides this loss of skill, the workman loses, in the grind of the
machine, his sense of the value of his work. Next to his pride of skill
the workman has always been proud to be the connoisseur: stand back near
the light with his product on his upraised hand, showing to all passers-by
what he has done. Perhaps it was a red morocco slipper for a dancer, or a
pearl button to go on the cloak of a little child, or maybe it was a
horseshoe to go on the mayor's carriage horse. On a day a party of
visitors would come to the little shop and the owner would pick up a
hand-forged hammer and say, 'See what John made!' But, in our modern
industry, no one man ever completes a task. Each task is subdivided into
twenty, forty, a hundred or more portions, and a workingman is given just
one to work on, day by day, year after year, for a working generation.

"After the time has come when the workman can find no distinct esthetic
pleasure in his work, his loyalty to his employers suffers a shock.

"Then, when this indifference or disloyalty is full grown, the employer
has full on him acute and formidable labor diseases. The man who should
stand at his shoulder faces him, instead, with a hostile poise. The mill
full of people over whom he holds power, upon whom he depends for his
success, and who, in turn, depend upon his initiative and capital for
their bread and butter, is turned into an armed camp of plotting enemies,
who, while they work, grumble, and who, while they receive their wages,
scheme for the overthrow of the entire concern! His mills, instead of
being shelters for his brothers and sisters, are nests of scratching
eagles--ready to rend and claw!

"It is further given out that the machine robs man of his industrial
initiative; that the complicated and specialized machine decreases his
mental alertness. In addition to his skill and his appreciation of his
product, the workman has ever prized the appeal his labor has made to his
individual intelligence. His work has brought thinking power with it. His
day's task has included the excitement of invention and adventure. In the
heat and burden of the week has come that thrilling moment when his mind
has discovered the fact that a variation in method means a simplification
of his task. Or, in the monotonous on-going of his labor, he has suddenly
realized that by sheer brain power he has accomplished a third more work
than his neighbor. He has counted such results compliments to his
initiative, to his thinking power. They have brought a reward three times
more satisfying than a mere increase in wage, for, in his eyes, they have
been substantial testimonies to the freedom of his mind, something which
every reasonable person puts higher than any king's ransom. But the coming
of the machine deadens the workman's inclination toward inventive

"So the multitude of men and women stand before the cunning machinery of
industry, in the pose of helplessness before a mechanical finality. They
cannot help feeling that in so far as their special task is involved, the
machine has said the last word. The challenge dies out of their work. The
brain that has ever been on the quiver of adventurous expectancy relaxes
its tension, and the workman moodily or indifferently lets his machine do
its perfect work, while his undisciplined, unchallenged thoughts wander
freely over external, social, or domestic concerns. It may give an
indolent, unambitious, selfish type of employee a certain amount of
satisfaction to know that the machine frees his mind of initiative, but to
the considerate workman it is a day of tragedy when his brain power
receives no challenge from his work, and that day has dawned in the minds
of millions of men who throng our industries.

"So, then, when this machine-robber, without heart or conscience, makes of
little repute the workman's most shining glory--skill; steals rudely from
him the esthetic pleasure in his product, and leaves him mentally crippled
before his work, how little force has that honored appeal, 'The dignity of
labor'! Talk as we will, in this machine-ridden time, the 'dignity of
labor' is but a skeleton of its former robust self. Take away the king's
throne, the courtier's carpet, the royal prerogative, and then speak about
'The Divine Right'! All that 'dignity of labor' can mean in these days is
simply that it is more dignified for a man to earn a wage than it is to be
a doorway loafer. The workingman's throne--skill--has gone. His
prerogative--skill--has been taken away. The items that have formerly
given dignity to labor have been largely displaced, so far as we have
adventured, by the machine, and the future holds out no other hope than
this, that machines shall more and more increase. There is little
'dignity' in a task that a man does which may be equally well done by his
fourteen-year-old boy or girl. There is little 'dignity' in a task which
less and less depends upon independent knowledge."

But must these workers remain always slaves of machine? Is there no escape
for them? Is there no "underground railroad" by which they may win their
way to freedom?

Here is what Al Priddy has to say about it:

"The most convincing way in which man may master the machine is when he
invents a new and better one, or improves an old one. This is the real
triumph of mind over matter, of skill over machinery.

"With all its arrogance among us, machinery is always final in itself;
incapable of change; incapable of progression or retrogression. Till the
clouds fade from the sky, or the earth cracks, a machine will remain the
same from the day of its creation until the day of its last whirl--unless
man says the word to change it. Once started on its mission, there is
nothing in the world can change the motion and purpose of a machine save
man's mind. So, then, whatever relation man might have toward a machine,
this stands sure: he will ever be able to stand before it and say: 'I am
thy master. I can change thee, make thee better or worse. I made thee. I
can unmake thee. If thou dost accomplish such mighty works, more honor to
the mind which conceived thee!"

"But it is suddenly discovered by an industrial diagnosis that the
machine has never been properly operated, even by the most skilled
operators. It has been proved that 'there is more science in the most
"unskilled" task than the man who performs it is capable of
understanding.' This dictum of Mr. Taylor, a practical experimenter, has
been dramatically proved in many directions. In the task of the sand
shoveler, or the iron lifter, for instance, it was proved that by
scientifically undertaking such work, fifty selected men, properly
drilled, scientifically rested, intelligently manoeuvred, could accomplish
a third more than one hundred ill selected and improperly managed men, in
less time and under a larger salary. It is suddenly found that, contrary
to theory, a machine, to be economically operated, leaves open man's
chance for skill and does not rob him of it."

Perhaps a few cases taken from our records will indicate how men of this
kind are able to come up from slavery and take successful places in their
true vocations.


G---- manifested very early indications of the lure of machinery for him.
While yet in his cradle, he would play contentedly for hours with a little
pulley or other mechanical trifle. Before he was able to walk, he could
drive nails with a hammer sturdily and with more precision than many
adults. This also was one of his favorite amusements, and it was necessary
to keep him provided with lumber, lest he fill the furniture with nails.
As he grew older he became more and more interested in machinery and
mechanical things. He took to pieces the family clock and put it together
again. He nearly always had the sewing machine partly dismantled, but
could always put it together again, and it usually ran better after he had
finished his work. He built water-wheels, wind-mills, and other mechanical
toys. When he was about fourteen years old he built a steam engine. He
used a bicycle pump for the cylinder and pieces of an old sewing machine,
a discarded wringer, some brass wires, and other odds and ends for the
rest of the parts. So perfect mechanically was this product that when
steam was turned on it ran smoothly, and with very little noise, at the
rate of three thousand revolutions a minute. In this engine he employed a
form of valve motion which he had never seen, and which had never been
used before. While not particularly efficient, and therefore not a
valuable invention, it at least showed his ability to adapt means to ends

After G---- began earning money for himself by mechanical and electrical
work, he would go without luxuries, food and clothing, tramping to the
shop almost barefoot one entire winter, for the sake of buying tools and
equipment to carry on his mechanical experiments. It is not surprising,
therefore, that he left school at an early age to engage in actual work in
railroad shops. He afterward secured a position as a locomotive fireman.
Circumstances arose which made it necessary for him to give up
railroading. He secured a position as fireman on a stationary engine.


It was while he was engaged in this kind of work that the suggestion was
made to him that he ought not to try to go through life with only the
rudiments of an education. It was pointed out that, while he had undoubted
mechanical and inventive ability, he would have small opportunity to use
it unless he also had the necessary technical and scientific knowledge to
go with it. At first his interest in mechanics was so intense and his
interest in school in general so comparatively slight, that he did not
look with very much favor upon the suggestion. However, as time went on
and he saw more and more of the results of such action as he was
contemplating, he became more and more interested in completing his
education. He therefore entered a good preparatory school and, with some
little assistance from relatives, worked his way through by doing
electrical and mechanical work about the little college town. In this kind
of work he soon became well known and was in constant requisition.
Occasionally his ingenuity and resourcefulness enabled him to do
successfully work which had puzzled and baffled even those who were
called experts. Having finished his preparatory course, he began a course
in mechanical and electrical engineering in one of the best known of our
universities. About this time practically all assistance from relatives
had been withdrawn, owing to changed circumstances, and he was left almost
entirely dependent upon his own efforts. The story of his struggles would
fill a volume. Oftentimes he was almost entirely without food. There was
one month during which he was unable to collect money due him for work
done. Because he was a poor university student he had no credit. So he
lived the entire month on $1.25. He thus explains how it was done:


"After visiting all of my clients trying to collect money, I came to the
conclusion that it would be useless to expect anything to come in to me
for at least thirty days. At this time I had $1.25 in my pocket. My room I
had paid for in advance by doing a piece of work for my landlord. I also
had about a cord of good oak wood which I had sawed and split and piled in
the hallway under the stairs. I had a little sheet-iron stove which I used
for both heating and cooking. I sat down and carefully figured out how I
could make my $1.25 feed me until I could collect the money due.
Twenty-five cents purchased three quarts of strained honey from a
bee-keeper friend of mine. The dollar I invested in hominy. Every morning,
when I first got up and built the fire, I put on a double boiler with as
much hominy as would cook in it. While it was cooking I sat down and
studied hard on my calculus. By the time I had got a pretty good hold of
the pot-hooks and the bird-tracks in the calculus lesson, the hominy would
be ready to eat. Hominy and honey is not a bad breakfast. While perhaps
you would like some variety, it is also fairly edible for lunch. If you
are very, very hungry, as a growing boy ought to be, and have been hard at
work putting up bell wires and arranging batteries, doubtless you would
rather eat hominy and honey for dinner than go without. The next morning
the combination doesn't taste quite so good, and by lunch time you are
beginning to wonder whether hominy and honey will satisfy all your
cravings. In the evening, however, you are quite sure that, in the absence
of anything else, you will have to have some hominy and honey in order to
keep yourself alive. By the end of the first week you feel that you can
never even hear the word hominy again without nausea and that you wish
never to look a bee in the face. By the end of the second week you have
become indifferent to the whole matter and simply take your hominy and
honey as a matter of course, trying to think nothing about it and
interesting yourself as much as possible in calculus, generator design,
strength of materials, and other things that an engineering student has to

"The month finally passed. I felt as if I had eaten my way out of a
mountain of hominy and waded through a sea of honey. Collections began
coming in a little and I went and bought a beefsteak. You may have eaten
some palatable viands. I have myself partaken of meals that cost as much
as I made in a whole week's work in my school days. But let me assure you
that no one ever had a meal that tasted better than the beefsteak and
fried potatoes which finally broke the hominy and honey regime."

After this our young friend hired a little larger room, laid in a few
cheap dishes and cooking utensils and took two or three of his fellow
students to board. He did the marketing and the cooking and made them help
him wash the dishes. Two were engineering students and the third was a
student in the college of agriculture, all working their way through
college. A few cents saved was a memorable event in their lives. Our young
engineer furnished table board at $1.25 a week, and out of the $3.75 a
week paid him by his boarders was able to buy all of his own food as well
as theirs, and pay his room rent.


After many troubles of this kind, G---- finished his engineering course
and secured a position in one of the largest corporations in the United
States at a salary of fifty dollars a month. At the time when he went to
work for the big corporation there were probably three or four hundred
other graduate engineers added to the staff. So keen was his mind along
mechanical and engineering lines, and so great were his natural aptitudes,
that within a few months his wages had been increased to $60 a month and
he had been given far more responsible work. Almost as soon as he took up
work with the corporation, he began making improvements in methods,
inventing machinery and other devices, and thinking out ways and means for
saving labor and making short cuts. Within a few weeks after his joining
the force he had invented a bit of apparatus which could be carried in the
coat pocket, and which took the place of a clumsy contrivance which
required a horse and wagon to carry it. In this way he saved the company
the price of horses, wagons, drivers, etc., on a great many operations.
From the very first the young man rose very much more rapidly than any of
the others who had entered the employ of the company at the time he did.
Soon he was occupying an executive position and directing the activities
of scores of men. To-day, only nine years after his leaving school, he
occupies one of the most important positions in the engineering department
of this great corporation, and while he does not have the title, performs
nearly all the duties of chief engineer.

The point of all this story is that this young man, while he had plenty of
mechanical ability and enjoyed machinery, was not fit to be a locomotive
fireman or stationary engine fireman. He had, in addition to his
mechanical sense and great skill in the use of his hands, a very keen,
wide-awake, energetic, ambitious, accurate intellectual equipment, which
did not find any adequate use in his work as a mechanic or fireman. Nor
could he ever have found expression for it unless he had taken the
initiative as a result of wise counsel and secured for himself the
necessary education and training. With all his ingenuity, he would always
have been more or less a slave to the machine to be operated unless he
had trained his mind to make him the master of thousands of machines and
of men.


About eight years ago, while we were in St. Paul, Minnesota, a young
mechanic, J.F., came to us for consultation. He was about twenty years
old, and expressed himself as being dissatisfied with his work.

"I don't know just what is the matter with me," he said. "I have loved to
play with mechanical things. I was always building machinery and, when I
had an opportunity, hanging around machine shops and watching the men
work. On account of these things my father was very sure that I had
mechanical ability, and when I was fifteen years old took me out of school
and apprenticed me in a machine shop. This shop was partly devoted to the
manufacture of heavy machinery and partly to repairs of all kinds of
machinery and tools. I have now been at work in this shop for five years.
I am a journeyman mechanic and making good wages, and yet, somehow or
other, I feel that I am in the wrong place. I wish you could tell me what
is the matter with me."

After examining the young man and the data submitted, we made the
following report:


"While you have undoubted mechanical ability, this is a minor part of your
intellectual equipment. You are also qualified for commercial pursuits.
You have a good sense of values. You understand the value of a dollar even
now and you have natural aptitudes which, with proper training and
experience, will make you an excellent financier. You also have executive
ability. You like people and you like to deal with them. You like to
handle them, and because you enjoy handling people and negotiating with
them, you are successful in doing so. While you are fairly active
physically, you are very much more active mentally. Your work, therefore,
should be mental work, with a fair amount of light physical activity
mingled with it, instead of purely physical work. You ought to hold an
executive position and ought to have charge of thee finances of some
concern which is engaged in the building and selling of machinery. You
have worked, up to the present time, with heavy, coarse, crude machinery.
But you are of fine texture, refined type, and naturally have a desire to
work with that which is fine, delicate and beautiful--something into which
you can put some of your natural refinement and artistic ability. You are
still young. You have learned a trade at which you can earn fairly good
wages. You ought, therefore, to prepare yourself in some way for business.
Work during the summer, and then during the winter resume your studies,
preparing yourself for an executive position in connection with
manufacturing and selling fine machinery. Study accounting, banking,
finance, salesmanship, advertising, mechanical engineering and designing.
At the earliest possible moment give up your work in a machine shop where
heavy machinery is manufactured and begin to get some actual experience in
the manufacture of something finer and more artistic; for example, the

A few years later, in Boston, a young man came to us, well dressed, happy,
and prosperous. He said he wished to consult us. After a few minutes' talk
with him, we said: "We have given you advice somewhere before. This is not
the first time you have consulted us." He smiled, and said: "Yes. I
consulted you in St. Paul, some years ago. At that time you advised me to
secure an executive position in the automobile business. This advice
struck me at the time as being wise, and satisfied my own desires and
ambitions. I lost no time in following your directions and was soon
engaged as a mechanic in an automobile factory. I attended night-school at
first, but finally made arrangements to spend half my time in school and
the other half in the factory, learning every part of the business. At the
present time I am the vice-president and treasurer of the ---- Motor
Company, and one of the designers of the ---- Motor Car. We are doing an
excellent business and making money. Whereas I was certainly misfit in my
old job, I am well and happily placed since I have learned my true


D.B., of Chicago, was a young man admirably endowed with mechanical
ability. From his earliest years he was especially interested in matters
electrical. His father told us that he always had dry-cell and other
batteries around the house. He used to try to make magnetos out of
horseshoe magnets, and at one time attempted to build a dynamo. When he
was sixteen years of age, having finished grammar school and having had
one or two years of high school training, young B. became so ambitious to
get into electrical work that his father, thinking that he was intended
for exactly this vocation, consented to his leaving high school and taking
a position as assistant to the linemen of a telephone company. He worked
at this a year or two, and finally became a full-fledged lineman. He did
well as a lineman and after a year or so attracted the attention of an
electric light and power company, who enticed him away from the telephone
company and gave him charge of poles and wires in a residential district.
Here his unusual ingenuity and quickness soon became so manifest that he
was taken off the outside and placed in charge of a gang of men wiring
houses and installing electric fixtures. This was a pretty good job for a
young fellow and paid good wages; at least, the wages seemed quite large
to young B. at the time. By this time, however, he was twenty-one and
decided to marry. He needed more money.


He had a long talk with a very kind and wise advisor, who finally said to
him: "See here, B., you have abilities that ought to be put to use at
something better than stringing wires and hanging bells."

"Why, I am a foreman now," said B.

"Yes, I know you are a foreman, but who plans all the work you do?"

"Why, the Super."

"Yes, the Super hands the plans down to you, but who plans the work for

"Why, the Chief."

"Now, look here; the Chief comes to his office at ten o'clock in the
morning. He uses his head until noon. He leaves at noon, and perhaps he
doesn't come back until two or three o'clock. He uses his head then until
five or, sometimes, until four; then he goes off to play golf. But as the
result of those few hours' use of the Chief's head, the Superintendent,
and you six or eight foremen, and all the two hundred men under your
direction work a whole day or a week, or even a month, as you know. You
are merely carrying out in a mechanical, routine kind of a way the
thoughts and ideas that another man thinks. Now, you have the ability to
think for yourself."

"I could think for myself," said he, "but I can't do all the figuring that
is necessary in order to decide just what size wire should go here, and
what kind of equipment should go there, and all the different things.
That's beyond me."

"Yes, it is beyond you now, but it doesn't need to be beyond you. You have
the mental ability to learn to use those formulae just as well as the
Chief does. The thing necessary is for you to learn how to do it, to get
needful education. Now, you are young, and you're strong, and you've got
lots of time before you. If you want to make more money, the way to do it
is to learn to use your head and save weeks, months of time, as well as
the labor of your hands."

"If I went off to college or university for two or three years, I don't
think Bessie would wait for me," said he. "She wants to get married. I
want to, too, and I think we ought to do it."


"Well," said his counselor, "you don't need to go off to school. You can
take electrical engineering in a correspondence course, even after you are
married. You're making good wages now as a foreman. Your hours of work are
only eight a day, and you have plenty of time in the evenings and on
holidays and other times to study this subject. Besides, you will probably
make better progress studying it while you work at the trade than you
would in school and withdrawn from the practical applications of the
principles that you are learning."

The result of all this was that D.B. did take a correspondence course in
electrical engineering. It was pretty tough work. He had not studied for
years. One of the first things he had to learn was how to study; how to
concentrate; how to learn the things he had to know without tremendous
waste of energy. After a little while he learned how to study. Then he
progressed, a little at a time, with the intricate and complicated
mathematics of the profession he had determined to make his own. Again and
again he was puzzled, perplexed, and almost defeated. But his young wife
encouraged him, and when things got so bad that he thought he would have
to give it all up, he would go and talk with his counselor, who would
inspire him with new ambition, so that he would go to work again. So,
month after month, year after year, he struggled away with his
correspondence course in electrical engineering. Little by little, he got
hold of the technical knowledge necessary for professional engineering


At first he was greatly handicapped by the prejudice of some of his
superiors against correspondence school courses, which were very much
newer at that time than they are now and regarded as much more of an
experiment. His superiors were graduates of universities and looked down
with contempt upon any merely "practical" man who tried to qualify as an
engineer by studying at home at night and without the personal oversight
of authorities in a university. But D.B. was dogged in his persistence.
Missing no opportunities to improve and advance himself, he was,
nevertheless, respectful and diplomatic. And he repeatedly demonstrated
his grasp of the subject. Eventually he was promoted to the position of
superintendent of the electric light and power company. There was only
one man then between him and the desired goal, namely, the chief engineer.

At the time B. became superintendent the chief engineer was a young
university graduate, and was perhaps a little too egotistical and dogmatic
on account of his degree and honors. Soon after B. took charge as
superintendent, the company decided to build a new central power station.
The design was left to the young chief engineer, and the practical work of
carrying it out to our friend. When, finally, the design was complete and
passed on to D.B. for execution, he felt that it was defective in several
ways. He spent several nights of hard study on it and became convinced
that he was right. He therefore took the whole matter to his superior and
tried to explain to him how the design was defective.

"I made that plan, and it is right," said the chief engineer. "Your
business isn't to criticize the plan, but to go ahead and carry it out.
Now, I don't care to hear any more about it."

"But," said B., "if we carry out this plan the way it stands, it will mean
the investment on the part of the company of something like $35,000 which
will be practically dead loss. I can't conscientiously go to work and
carry out this plan as it stands. I am sure if you will go over it again
carefully, pay attention to my suggestions, and consult the proper
authorities, you will find that I am right."

"That's what comes of studying a correspondence course," said the chief.
"You get a little smattering of knowledge into your head. Part of it is
worth while, and part of it is purely theoretical and useless, and because
you have had some practical experience, you imagine you know it all. Now,
you have lots yet to learn, B., and I am willing to help you, but I want
to tell you that that plan and those specifications are technically
correct, and all you need to do is to go ahead and carry them out. I'll
take the responsibility."

"Very well," said B., "if you want those plans and specifications carried
out as they are, you can get someone else to do it. I would rather resign
than to superintend this job which I know to be technically wrong."

His resignation had to be passed upon by the general manager, who, before
accepting it, sent for him.

"What's the trouble, B.?" said he. "I thought you were getting along fine.
We like your work, and we thought you liked the company. Why do you want
to leave?"

"I don't like to say anything about it, Mr. Jones," said B., "but the
plans passed on to me to carry out in the construction of that new
power-house down in Elm Street are technically wrong. They mean an
expenditure of $35,000 along certain lines which will be pretty nearly a
dead loss. When you come to try to use your equipment there, you will find
that it all has to be taken out and replaced by the proper materials.

"Suppose you get the plans, B., and show them to me, and explain just what
you mean," said the general manager, who was also a professional engineer
of many years' successful experience.

So B. produced the plans and explained his proposition.

"Why, of course you are right," said the general manager. "I'm surprised
that Mr. F. should have thought for a moment that he could use that type."

The result was that B. was reinstated and the chief engineer reprimanded.
Stung by his reprimand and angered because the correspondence school
graduate had bested him, the chief engineer resigned. His resignation was
accepted and B. became chief engineer of the company. Later, he was
promoted to the position of chief engineer of an even larger corporation,
and, finally, occupied an executive position as managing engineer for a
municipal light and power plant in one of the large cities of the country.


Some years ago we spent a few months in a very comfortable and homelike
hotel in one of the largest cities in the Middle West. Down in a nook of
the basement of this hotel was a private electric light plant. In charge
of the plant was an old Scotch engineer delightful for his wise sayings
and quaint philosophy. The fireman, a young man named T., was rather a
puzzle to us. He had all the marks of unusual mechanical ability, and yet
he seemed to take only the slightest interest in his work, and was
constantly being reproved by his chief for laziness, irresponsibility, and
neglect of duty. "What's the use?" he asked us, after we gained his
confidence, and had asked him why he did not take greater interest in his
work. "What's the use? After years of experience shoveling coal into a
firebox and monkeying around these old grease pots, I suppose I might get
an engineer's certificate. Then what would I be? Why, just like old Mack
there--$75 to $100 a month, sitting around a hot, close basement twelve
hours a day or, perhaps, twelve hours at night, nothing to look forward
to, no further advancement, no more pay, and, finally, T.B. would carry me
off because of the lack of fresh air, sunshine and outdoor exercise. No,
thank you!"

"Well, then, why don't you do something else?"

"I don't know what to do. I like mechanics, and some job of this kind is
the only thing I know how to do or would care to do. Yet, I don't care for
this. I must confess that I am puzzled as to what in the world I was made
for, anyhow."

"What you need is to give your time and attention to the intellectual side
of engineering rather than the purely mechanical and physical. You are of
the intellectual type, and you are as badly placed trying to do mere
mechanical work as if you were an eagle trying to cross the country on

"I believe you are right in that. I am going to get an education."


He began at once with correspondence courses in mechanical and electrical
engineering. Twelve hours a day he shoveled coal in his basement
boiler-room. Some four to eight hours a day he studied in his little room
up under the roof. It takes an immense amount of courage, persistence, and
perseverance to complete a correspondence course in engineering, as anyone
who has tried it well knows. There is lacking any inspiration from the
personality and skill of a teacher. There is no spur to endeavor from
association with other students doing the same kind of work and striving
for the same degree. There are no glee clubs, athletic games,
fraternities, prizes, scholarships, and other aids to the imagination and
ambition, such as are found in a university. It is all hard, lonely work.
But what the student learns, he knows. And, somehow, he gains a great
knack for the practical use of his knowledge. Night after night T. toiled
away, until he had finished his course and secured his certificate of

By this time T.'s ambition began to assume a definite form. He was
determined that he should have the honor and the emoluments which would
come to him as a result of solving one of the toughest problems in
engineering--one which had puzzled both technical and practical men for
many years. He therefore saved up a few dollars and, packing his little
belongings, departed to complete his education in one of the most famous
technical engineering schools of the country. Tuition was high. Board cost
a good deal of money. Books were distressingly expensive. Tools, machine
shop fees, and other incidentals ate into the little store he had brought
with him, and inside of two months it was gone. He hunted around and
finally secured a job running an engine. This meant twelve hours in the
engine room every night. In addition, he did what other students
considered a full day's work attending lectures and carrying on his
studies in the laboratories and classroom. He went almost without
necessary food and clothing in order to buy books, tools, and other
equipment. But he was young, he was strong, and, above all, he was happy
in his mental picture of the great object of his ambition. In due time he
had taken his degree, having specialized on all subjects bearing upon the
solution of his great problem.


Coming back from the university after having finished his course, T. found
a position as engineer in an electric light and power plant. Then he began
saving up money to purchase the necessary equipment for a laboratory of
his own. Finally, he had a little building and was one of the proudest
young men we ever saw. Little by little, he added to his apparatus the
things he needed. Several nights a week, after his hard day's work in the
engine room, he toiled, trying to solve the problem upon which he had
fixed his mind. About this time he married, and he and his wife moved into
a narrow little flat. Years passed, children came into the little flat,
and still he worked at his problem. Again and again, and still again, he
failed. Yet, each time he failed, he told us he was coming closer to the
solution. At last came the day, after many heart-breaking experiences,
when the problem, while not fully solved, had at least revealed a solution
which was commercially valuable.

His years of self-denial and toil seemed to be about to end in success.
But he found that he had only begun another long period of discouraging
and almost desperate work. It was a struggle to scrape together the
necessary funds for securing a patent. If he was to complete and perfect
his invention, he must have more capital. So, with his model, he made the
rounds of manufacturers of engines, manufacturers who used engines,
railroads, steamboat companies, electric light and power companies; in
fact, everywhere he thought he might get some encouragement and financial
assistance. His little family was living on short rations. He himself had
not eaten as he ought for years. One after another, the men in authority
said: "Yes, your proposition looks good, but I don't think it can ever be
made practical. Some of the brightest men in the engineering profession
have spent years trying to solve that problem, and have not found the
answer to it. I do not believe that it will ever be found. You seem to
have come near it, but yet you have not found it, and we cannot see our
way clear to put any money into it."


T. argued, pleaded, and demanded an opportunity for a demonstration, but
all in vain. Then, one day, a lawyer, who had been consulted by T., said:
"I have no money to invest in anything myself, but I'll tell you frankly
and honestly, it looks good to me. Now, I happen to be on very good terms
with Mr. J. over at the T. & B. Company. He has been interested in this
problem for years and has worked along toward its solution. He understands
every phase of it, and I believe he will do something with your device.
Unless I am mistaken, he will be interested in it, and will give you an
opportunity to demonstrate it. If your demonstration works out as well as
you think it will, he has the authority to put you in a position where you
can go ahead and perfect it if it is perfectible. I will give you a letter
of introduction to him." And thus began T.'s prosperity. He now lives in a
beautiful home on a wide boulevard. His invention, still short of
perfection, but highly valuable, is coming slowly into use, and would
probably be in very widespread use were it not for the fact that he is
constantly working on it, perfecting it, improving it, and hoping finally
to have a complete solution to the problem.



"My life is a failure," wrote Sydney Williams to us, "and I do not know

In middle life my grandfather Williams moved his family across the Potomac
River from Virginia in order to study to enter the ministry. He is said to
have freed some slaves at that time, so he must have been a 'planter,' He
became a Congregational minister. My grandfather Jacobs was a carpenter;
but, as I knew him, and for some years before my birth, he was a helpless
invalid from paralysis on one side.

My father graduated from college and then became a minister. He preached
for many years, then he took up work with a religious publishing house,
finally having charge of the work at St. Paul. He was there, I believe,
when he was elected president of a small school for girls. He assumed his
new duties in June and I was born the following November. (I am the
youngest of eleven children, of whom there are now three boys and five
girls still living, three boys having died while still babies before my

Until I was nearly twelve years old we lived at the girls' school, which
father succeeded in greatly enlarging. Mother taught me to read a little
and write a little. She and others read to me a great deal. I had no
playmates except my nephews and nieces, to whom I was continually being
pointed out as a 'model.' Out of the sight of the grown-ups, I was not
always such a model as they could have wished; yet I did feel a certain
amount of responsibility that was oppressive and repressive. When nearly

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