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

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eleven, I was sent to the public school, where I was soon promoted with
two others. The next year father and mother moved into a larger town, so
that I had a few months of real home life before my father's death in
April, 1893.

Then my mother, her mother, and I went to Wisconsin to live with a
married sister of mine whose husband was the Presbyterian minister there.
I entered the fourth grade of the public school that fall; but, by the end
of the school year, I had completed the fifth grade.

My mother died in May, 1896. I continued to live with my sister. Finished
the seventh grade that June, but entered preparatory school that fall. In
November, 1897, my brother-in-law moved to Iowa, and I made the mistake of
deciding to go with him. While living in Wisconsin, I had become
acquainted with a fine lot of boys. One of them organized a small military
company; I was elected quarter-master and, later, lieutenant. I now know
that that was because we were considered 'rich,' Also in Wisconsin I
overcame some of my extreme bashfulness in regard to girls, derived from
babyhood experiences. In fact, one reason I decided to leave Wisconsin was
the fear that the friendship with one girl might become too serious; I was
beginning to shun responsibility.


In Iowa I entered the high school and completed the tenth grade the next
June (1898). My elder brother was my official guardian and he wanted me to
make a change. As a result, in September, 1898, I had my first experience
of being away alone by entering a famous academy. There I earned the
reputation of being a 'grind,' and graduated second in my class in June,
1901. While there I went out for football, and made the third team and
even played once on the second. My poor eyesight hindered me somewhat, but
still more the fact that I was not eager to fall down on the ball on the
hard ground when it did not seem to me necessary. I was quite ready to get
hurt, if there was any reason for it. That, too, was a mistake on my part.

That September I entered Harvard University. My father had left some
insurance, and mother left some of it to me for a college education. She
expected, as did my sisters and brothers, that I would become a minister.
By the end of my Freshman year I had decided that I could not do so, but
from that time I was unable to decide what I did want to do or could do.
Consequently I did not get the good out of a college education that I
might have. Moreover, though I stood fairly well in most of my classes, I
did not always understand the subjects as well as the professors thought I
did. As soon as it became possible to elect subjects, I dropped Latin,
Greek, and German, and specialized in history, economics, etc. I graduated
'Cum Laude,' But that was really a failure, considering what I might have

But I did well enough to receive recommendation for a $500 fellowship that
enabled me to return for another year. I did work which caused me to be
recommended for an A.M. degree. But I felt that I had so little in
comparison with others, that I was actually ashamed to receive it.
Socially, however, that extra year was a very delightful one for me.

During two summers as an undergraduate, I worked at Nantasket Beach
selling tickets in the bathing pavilion for $50 a month, besides room and
board. I made good, much to the surprise of the superintendent.


So then I was finally through college in June, 1906. It is almost
incredible how very childlike I still was, so far as my attitude toward
the world was concerned. I had high ideals, and I wanted to get into
business, but where or how I did not know. Moreover, my money was gone. A
student gave me a note with which I intended to get his previous summer's
job as a starter on an electric car line owned by a railway company. The
position was abolished, however, so I became a conductor on a suburban
line. Unfortunately, my motorman was a high-strung, nervous Irishman, who
made me so nervous that I often could not give the signals properly, and
who made life generally unpleasant for me. He professed a liking for me
and did prevent one or two serious accidents. At the same time, he said I
was the first 'square' conductor he had ever worked with, and, no doubt,
he missed his 'extra,' After three weeks of him, and of the general
public's idea that I must, of course, be knocking down fares, I resigned.
However, the superintendent offered me a job as 'inspector' of registers
on the main line, a job that he was just creating. When the rush was over
after Labor Day, I was again out of a job. I might have secured a
clerkship with the railway company, but I was foolish enough not to try.

A few weeks later found me established in the district office of a
correspondence school not very far from New York City as a representative.
At first I gave good promise of success, but I lost my enthusiasm and
belief in the school and became ashamed to be numbered as one of its
workers because of the character of most of the local field force at that
time and before my time. The reputation of the school in that place was
not very good. Also I was not successful in collecting the monthly
payments from those who had hard luck stories or had been lied to by the
man who had enrolled them. By the end of two months I was ready to quit,
but my immediate superior begged me to stay, in order to keep him from
having to break in a new man just then. At the end of about four months I
did resign to save being kicked out. Mind you, I was to blame, all right;
for I had given up a real continuous effort beyond the merest routine and
the attempt to collect the monthly payments. While I was there I did write
a few contracts, among them a cash one amounting to $80. But, toward the
end, my lack of success was due to my utter disgust with myself for being
so blamed poor and for shirking.


Going back to a brother in New York, I tried to land a job, but, of
course, in such a state of mind, I could not. Then I went to my older
brother in Cincinnati, where he was, and is, the pastor of a large church.
Unfortunately, he did not take me by the back of the neck and kick me into
some kind of work, any kind. At last, in March, 1908, he helped me to come
out West. I landed in Los Angeles, and indirectly through a friend of his
I secured a job on an orange ranch in the San Gabriel Valley, which I held
until the end of the season. Once more I was happy and contented. It was
certainly a pleasure to work.

That fall, or rather winter (1908), I secured a place near San Diego,
where I had shelter and food during the winters and small wages during the
active seasons in return for doing the chores and other work.

I had become possessed with a desire for an orange grove, and refused to
consider how much it would take to develop one. I was finally able to
secure a small tract of unimproved land. But I found that the task of
clearing it would be too great for me because of the great trees, so for
this and other reasons I snatched at a chance to file on a homestead in
the Imperial Valley. This was in May, 1910. Later that summer I was able
to sell my piece of land near San Diego at a profit, so that in September
I went over to get settled on my homestead. I employed a fellow to help me
make a wagon trail for a mile or more and to build my cabin for me. I
moved in the first of November. Early in 1912 I decided it would be
impossible to irrigate enough land there to make a living at that time.
Also the difficulties of living alone so far out in the desert were
greater than I had anticipated. With the help of a friend, I was able to
make final proof in July and pay the government for the 160 acres, instead
of having to continue to live on it. I did stay, however, until the
general election in 1912.


Then I went to Los Angeles to get something to do. The town was full of
people seeking work, as usual, most of whom could present better records
than I could. To be sure, my friends and even my old correspondence school
boss gave me splendid recommendations, but I felt my lack of business
training and feared that 999 out of any 1,000 employers would not take a
chance with me on such a record as I had. Consequently I did not try very
hard. For a while I was with a real estate firm trying to secure
applications for a mortgage. The commission was $25, but, naturally, that
did not go far toward expenses. It was not long before I was in a bad
mental condition again through worrying, self-condemnation, and
uncertainty. It would not have been difficult to prove that I was

Finally an acquaintance of mine, a prominent lawyer, took up my case. He
has a good personal and business friend who is the general manager of a
large oil company with headquarters here in Bakersfield. When first
appealed to, this gentleman refused point blank, because he had a bad
opinion of college graduates in general (I really don't blame him or other
business men); but the lawyer used his influence to the utmost with the
result that I came up here in March, 1913, and was sent up into the oil
fields. I was put under the civil engineer, and for two months I was sort
of 'inspector' and 'force account' man in connection with the building of
a supply railroad, but I gradually worked into the regular surveying crew,
first as substitute rear chainman, and then as the regular one. Before
long I was head chainman. I could have remained a chainman with the same
crew to this time, but I left a little over a year ago, as there once more
seemed a chance to earn a place in the country.


A young fellow, now located near Bakersfield, whom I had known in San
Diego, told me great tales that I was too anxious to believe, and finally
made some fine promises to help me get a piece of what he said was his
land and to bring it to a productive state. But when I reached his place,
in February, he was not ready, willing or able to carry out his promises.
He kept me hanging on, however, and as I had used up my savings in a
month's attendance at the short course of the State agricultural college
and in bringing my goods from Bakersfield, I was compelled to get work
from him as one of his orchard gang. I helped to set out several hundred
trees and berry plants, and later knew what it meant to hoe for ten hours
a day. I left him the latter part of July in order to work out a scheme I
had thought of.

[Illustration: FIG. 25. "Sydney Williams." For analysis see pages 206 to
210. Here is a fine, capable intellect, good sense of humor, optimism,
cheerfulness, great refinement, and excellent critical powers in art and
literature. But there is a deficiency of practicability. Note smallness
and flatness of brows, narrowness of head just above the ears, fineness of
features and height of head in center, above temples.]

[Illustration: FIG. 26. "Sydney Williams." Note flatness of brows;
smallness and fineness of features; fineness of texture; height of
forehead and crown.]

[Illustration: FIG. 27. Prof. Adolf von Menzel, Sociologist. A man of
great intellect, especially interested in theoretical and statistical
studies of people, in the mass, but not greatly interested in practical,
material affairs. Note immense dome of forehead and head, with flatness at

[Illustration: FIG. 28. Edgar Allan Poe, Poet. Impractical, deficient in
financial sense, but keenly alive to a world of fancy, ideals, dreams,
imagery, beauty, mysticism and tragedy. Note high forehead, wide above,
flat at brows and concave at sides; small nose and mouth, deep-set, gloomy
eyes; dark complexion; and lack of symmetry and balance in head and

[Illustration: FIG. 29. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Author. Highly
intellectual, sentimental, impractical, sensitive, emotional. A man of
high ideals and beautiful thoughts, and creative power. Note high,
dome-shaped head; flat, high brows, fine, delicate features; weak mouth,
and general softness of contour and expression.]

[Illustration: _Copyright by Harper & Brothers, N. Y_.
FIG. 30. Thomas De Quincy, Author. A man of fine, discriminating, logical
intellect along purely mental lines, but impractical in material affairs.
Note high, prominent forehead, with flat, poorly-developed brows, weak
nose and mouth and narrow head.]

[Illustration: FIG. 31. O. Henry, at the age of thirty. Impractical,
lacking in desire for money and financial judgment. Creative, humorous, a
lover of human nature, mild, rather easy-going, idealistic, constant. Note
high forehead, flat at brows, full at sides along top, concave nose, full
lips, prominent chin.]

[Illustration: FIG. 32. Edwin Reynolds, of Wisconsin. Of the practical,
matter-of-fact, literal type of intellect. Interested in facts, keenly
observant, quick in thought, alert and positive in his mental activities.
Note high, sloping forehead, very prominent at the brows, large nose, high
in the bridge and well-developed.]

"The first part of September I moved back to Bakersfield. I tried out my
scheme by mail on two of the most prominent men in the country (one of the
times when I had plenty of nerve). It did not work and the time did not
seem auspicious for trying it on a greater number, especially as I did not
have money enough to do it properly.

"While still working for the orchard man, I began to do some work in
getting subscriptions for the Curtis publications. I did get a few. Later,
about the middle of October, I went to Los Angeles, where I had a booth at
an exhibition for three weeks in the interest of a publishing house. But
it did not pay expenses, and I was deeper in debt than ever. I landed in
Bakersfield nearly 'broke.' Thanks to the kindness of the people where I
roomed and boarded, I was able to pull through until I obtained a loan
last week, secured by a mortgage on my homestead.

"I was entirely unable to force myself to do any real canvassing while I
was absolutely in need of each commission, but, now that I once more have
a bank account, I hope to make myself keep at it until I can feel
moderately successful. That is the one job I have fallen down on over and
over (I have not even mentioned many of the attempts), and I believe I
could be a real salesman if I could only get over my fear of approaching
people on any proposition of immediate profit to me."

Here we have in detail the old, old story. How often have you heard of the
man who graduated with high honors at the head of his class and was unable
to make a living afterward? How many men of highest scholarship have you
met who could not make a living for themselves and their families? Not
long ago we were offered the services of a man who had degrees from
several universities in America and Europe, who was master of several
languages, and who was glad to offer to do a little translating at
twenty-five cents an hour.


What handicaps these men? They have good intellects, or they would be
unable to win high honors in colleges and universities. It is fitting that
they should educate themselves highly, since they are so capable of
attainment in scholarship. Surely, they ought to do some intellectual work
of some kind, because they are not fitted for manual labor. Where do they
belong? What is their particular type? What opportunities are there for
their unquestioned talents?

Here is what we wrote to Sydney Williams:

"From photographs and data submitted, I should judge your type of
organization, character and aptitudes to be as follows:

"You have inherited only a fairly good physical constitution. You will
always need to take care of yourself, but there is absolutely no reason
why you should worry in regard to your health.

"Under stress and strain your nervous system may give you trouble, and
there may be some tendency to digestive disturbances, but if you will
practice moderation, live on a well-balanced and sensibly selected diet,
and keep yourself from extremes of every kind you will probably maintain
very fair health and strength for many years.

"Intellectually you have a good, active mind of the theoretical type. Your
mind is quick to grasp theories, ideals, abstractions, and such intangible
and purely mental concepts. Your imagination is active, and is inclined to
run away with plans, schemes, and inventions, with speculations and with
visions of future prospects. However, your plans and inventions are liable
to be purely along mental and intellectual lines, rather than practical.

"You do not observe well. You are a little too careless in regard to your
facts. You therefore have a tendency to go ahead with your theories and
your plans upon insufficient data or upon data which are not accurate
because they have not been properly verified.

"This deficiency in observation also handicaps you, because you do not
see things in their right relation, and your judgment is, therefore,
liable to be erratic and unsound.

"You should compel yourself to get the facts. You should suspend judgment
until you have made sure that all of the premises from which you argue to
your conclusions are sound and accurate. Take nothing for granted. Compel
yourself to stick to the facts. Not only ask yourself the question, 'Will
it work?' but make sure that the affirmative answer is absolutely accurate
before you go ahead.

"Many of your characteristics are those of immaturity, notwithstanding
your years, your education, and your experience. You still retain many
youthful tendencies. You are inclined to be impulsive. You are very
responsive emotionally, and when your emotions are aroused you are prone
to decide important matters without reference to facts, reason, and logic.
Another very youthful characteristic in you is your tendency to be
headstrong, wilful, stubborn, and opinionated. When you have arrived at
one of your swift conclusions you find it very difficult to take advice.
Even when you do listen to what others say, you do not listen well. Your
mind jumps ahead to conclusions that are erroneous and which were never in
the mind of the person giving you the advice.

"As you can readily see, it is this inability to get competent counsel
from others, coupled with your own lack of observation and lack of
deliberation, that leads you into so many situations that turn out to be
undesirable. Here, again, you need to go more slowly, to act more
according to your knowledge and less according to impulse, to make sure
that you understand what other people say, especially when seeking for
advice. As a result of your rather emotional character, you are liable to
go to extremes and do erratic things, to be over-zealous for a short
period; also, at times, to be high tempered, although your temper quickly
evaporates. In all of these things you will see the need for cultivation
of more self-control, more poise, more calmness, more maturity of thought,
speech, and action.

"You are very idealistic. Your standards are high. You naturally expect
much. It is your hope always, when making a change, that you will get into
something which will more nearly approach perfection than the thing you
are leaving.

"But you are also critical. Indeed, you are inclined to be hypercritical,
to find too much fault, to see too many flaws and failures. For this
reason, nothing ever measures up to your ideals--you are always being

"You need to cultivate far more courage. By this I mean the courage which
hangs on, which meets obstacles, which overcomes difficulties, which
persists through disagreeable situations. Your impulsiveness leads you
into plenty of things, but you are so hypercritical, and you become so
easily discouraged when eventualities do not measure up to your ideals,
that you fail to finish that which you start.

"Naturally, of course, if you were to be more deliberate and more careful
in forming your judgments, you would find things more nearly ideal after
you got into them. Then, if you would stick to them, you could make a much
greater success of them.

"Your intention to be honest, is, no doubt, above reproach. However, your
conduct or the results may at times be equivalent to dishonesty, being so
regarded by others. This, of course, is the result of your immaturity,
your impulsiveness, and your tendency not to see things through.

"You are very keenly sensitive. With your great love of beauty and
refinement, anything which is coarse, crude, and ugly in your environment
is very depressing to you. You also find it difficult to associate happily
with those who are coarse and crude by nature. Unquestionably, such people
frequently hurt you cruelly when they have no intention of doing so. It
would be well if you would learn to accept other people for what they are
worth, rather than being so critical of them and so easily hurt. Praise
and blame are usually meant impersonally and should be so received. In
other words, people praise or blame the deed and not the doer.

"Your appreciation of financial and commercial values and methods is
deficient. This is due to many different things, but principally to your
lack of observation, your inability to see things in their right
relations, and your limited sense of values. For these reasons you are not
and cannot become vitally interested in financial and commercial affairs.
If your wants were supplied, and you had something interesting to do,
money would receive practically no consideration from you. For your own
sake, you ought to attach more importance to monetary considerations,
cultivate a greater sense of values, develop more practical commercial
sense. On the other hand, however, you should not attempt any vocation in
which a high development of these qualities is necessary.

"In practical affairs, you show a tendency not to learn by experience.
This is because of deficiency in your observation of facts. You do not
really understand the essential facts of the experiences through which you
pass, and, therefore, they do not impress or teach you.

"In your choice of a vocation you should make up your mind once for all
that, on account of the qualities I have described, you are not commercial
or financial, and, therefore, you do not belong in the industrial or
commercial world. Your talents are educational, dramatic, professional,
literary. You are decidedly of the mental type. Your world is a mental
world, an intellectual world. Ideas, ideals, and theories are the things
with which you can deal most successfully.

"Owing to your distaste for detail, and the difficulty you have in
applying yourself to a task until it is finished, and also on account of
your very keen and sensitive critical faculties, you are probably better
fitted for success as a critic than as a producer.

"A position in a house publishing books and magazines, where your duty
would be to read, analyze, and criticise manuscripts, would offer you far
better opportunities than anything you have yet attempted.

"You could probably do well in a mail-order house as correspondent.

"You also have some dramatic ability which, if developed and trained,
might make you a success, either on the stage or in the pulpit. In this
connection, I merely call your attention, in passing, to the
opportunities in the motion picture drama. Here is where dramatic ability
is everything and the heavier demands upon the actor in the ordinary
drama, especially in the way of physical development, voice, etc., do not

"Another line which might possibly interest you would be that of a
salesman in an art or music store, where customers come to you, or in a
book store. You probably would do better selling to women than to men.

"Whatever you do, you should work under direction, under the direction of
some one whose judgment, wisdom, honesty, and high principles you respect.
Under wise leadership you have your very best opportunities for success.
In attempting to be your own manager and to go your own way, you suffer
from the serious handicaps to which I have already referred.

"In selecting from among the vocations I have enumerated the one that is
best for you, you will, of course, be guided very largely by
opportunities. At this distance I do not know just which is your best
opportunity, and, therefore, cannot counsel you definitely to undertake
any one of these vocations in preference to the others. If the opportunity
is at hand, perhaps the position of literary or dramatic critic with a
publishing house would be most congenial for you and offer you the best
future. If not, then one of the others. You might even undertake a
position as salesman in a book store or an art store while preparing or
waiting for an opening in one of the other lines suggested.

"Whatever you undertake, however, compel yourself, in spite of obstacles,
in spite of your very natural criticisms of the situation, to stick to it
until you make a success of it.

"As you grow older, if you will patiently and conscientiously cultivate
more deliberation, more practical sense, more self-control, and more
poise, you will become more mature in judgment and gradually overcome to a
greater and greater degree the handicaps which have so far interfered with
your progress and the best and highest expression of your personality."


To make a long story short, Sydney Williams and men of his type have
unusual intellectual powers of analysis, criticism, memory, abstraction,
and philosophy. They can master hypotheses, higher mathematics, and Hebrew
irregular verbs, but they are babes in all practical affairs. They have
some such conception of the plain facts of human nature, ordinary
financial values, and efficient methods of commerce as a man with color
blindness has of the art of Corot. Like the children they are, these
people seldom suspect their deficiencies. Oftentimes they are ambitious to
make a success in a commercial way. They try salesmanship, or, if they
have a little capital, they may embark in some ambitious business project
on their own account. They even go into farming or agriculture or poultry
raising, or some kind of fancy fruit producing, with all of the optimism
and cheerfulness and confidence in their ability that Sydney Williams felt
for his orange growing. When they fail, it is more often through their own
incompetence than because some one comes along who is mean enough to take
candy from a baby. They usually dissipate their assets by impracticable
schemes before the unscrupulous can take them. The only hope for such men
is to learn their limitations; to learn that, even though they may be
ambitious for commercial success, they are utterly unqualified for it;
that, although they may wish to do something in the way of production or
selling, they have neither talent, courage, secretiveness, persistence,
nor other qualities necessary for a success in these lines. They are too
credulous. They are too impractical. They are too lacking in fighting
qualities, and, therefore, too easily imposed upon. They are usually lazy
physically and find disagreeable situations hard, so that they are out of
place in the rough-and-tumble, strenuous, hurly-burly of business,
manufacturing, or ordinary professional life.

Perhaps a few stories would indicate what these men can do, do well, and
what they can be happy and satisfied in doing. There is a real need for
them in the world.


George R. came to us late one evening in a little town in Illinois. He was
nervous, weak, and diffident.

"I am now," he said, "a salesman in a dry goods store. But I have only
held the job three months and do not expect that I will be permitted to
remain more than a week or so longer. I have been warned several times by
the floor-walker that my errors will cost me my position. God knows, I do
my best to succeed in the work, but it is like all the other positions
I've held. Somehow or other I don't seem to be able to give satisfaction.
While I am on my guard and as alert as I know how to be against one of the
things I've been told not to do, I am just as sure as sunshine to go and
do some other thing which is against the rules. If I don't do something
against the rules, then I forget to do something I was told to do. If I
don't forget to do something I've been told to do, then I am quite likely
to make some outlandish mistake that no one ever thought of framing a rule
to fit. The result of it all is that in about another week or, at the
most, two, I'll be out of employment again. I have tried driving a
delivery wagon. I've tried grocery stores. I've tried doing collections. I
began once as clerk in a bank. Immediately after leaving college, I
started in as newspaper reporter. I've been a newsboy on railroad trains.
I sold candies and peanuts in a fair ground. I have been night clerk in a
hotel. I've been steward on a steamboat. I've been a shipping clerk in a
publishing house, and I have been fired from every job I have ever had.
True enough, I've hated them all, but, nevertheless; I have tried to do my
best in them. Why I cannot succeed with any of them, I don't know, and yet
I have a feeling that somehow, somewhere, sometime, I will find something
to do that I will love, and that I can do well."

"Music," we said, "unquestionably music."

"Do you think I could?" he said wistfully. "Music has been my passion all
my life long. It has been my one joy, my one solace in all my wanderings
and all my failures. But I have always been afraid I would fail also in
that, and, if I should, it would break my heart sure. But if you think I
have the talent, then I shall give my whole time, my whole thought, my
whole energy to music hereafter."

It was rather late in life for this young man to begin a musical career.
While he had always been fond of music, he had been sent to college for a
classical course by parents to whom a classical course meant everything
that was desirable in an education. He had learned to play the piano, the
violin, the guitar, the mandolin, and some other instruments, without
education, because of his natural musical talent. He played them all as he
had opportunity, for his own amusement, but, because of his ambition for
commercial success, had never thought of music as a career. We wish we
might tell you that this young man was now one of the foremost composers
or conductors of his time. It would make an excellent story. Such,
however, is not the case.

He devoted himself to securing a thorough musical education, supporting
himself and paying his expenses in the mean-while by playing in churches,
musicales, motion picture shows, and other places. He also received a few
dollars nearly every week for playing the violin for dances and other
functions in a semi-professional orchestra. Truly this was not "art for
art's sake." Any critical musician could probably tell you that such use
of his musical talent forever shut off any hopes of his becoming a true
artist. On the other hand, it did fill his stomach and clothe him while he
was securing a sufficient musical education to enable him to make a very
fair living as teacher on various musical instruments and as a performer
at popular concerts, recitals, etc. Best of all, he was happy in his work,
felt himself growing in success and, while there were probably heights
which he never could scale and to which he may have turned his longing
eyes, he doubtless got a considerable amount of satisfaction out of the
fact that he was no longer being kicked around from pillar to post in the
commercial world.


Herbert Spencer felt that he was a complete and utter failure as a civil
engineer, but he made a magnificent success as a scientist, essayist, and

The number of great authors, scientists, philosophers, poets, actors,
preachers, teachers, lecturers, and musicians who were ludicrously
impractical is legion. Literature abounds in stories of their
idiosyncrasies. These people deal with abstractions, ideas, with theories,
and with emotions. They may be very successful in the spinning of
theories, in the working out of clever ideas, and in their appeal to the
emotions of their fellow-men. They may write poetry which is the product
of genius; they may devise profound philosophy. This is their realm. Here
is where they are supreme, and it is in this kind of work they find an
expression for all of their talent.

Right here there is need for careful distinction. There is a great
difference between the impractical man who has energy, courage, and
persistence, and the impractical man who is lazy and cowardly. No matter
what a man's natural talent may be, it takes hard work to be successful in
such callings as art, music, the pulpit, the stage, the platform, and the
pen. Inspiration may seem to have a great deal to do with success. But
even in the writing of a poem inspiration is probably only about five per
cent.; hard work constitutes the other ninety-five per cent. It is one
thing to have vague, beautiful dreams, to be an admirer of beauty, to
enjoy thrills in contemplation of beautiful thoughts or beautiful
pictures. It is quite another thing to have the energy, the courage, and
the dogged persistence necessary to create that which is beautiful.


We offer no golden key which unlocks the doors to success. Much as we
regret to disappoint many aspiring young men and women, we must be
truthful and admit that there is no magic way in which some wonderful,
unguessed talent can be discovered within them and made to blossom forth
in a night, as it were. Many people of this type come to us for
consultation, evidently with the delectable delusion that we can point out
to them some quick and easy way to fame and fortune. Again we must make
emphatic by repetition the hard, uncompromising truth that laziness,
cowardice, weakness, and vacilation are incompatible with true success. No
matter what a man's other aptitudes may be, no matter how great his talent
or his opportunities, we can suggest absolutely no vocation in which he
can be successful unless he has the will to overcome these deficiencies in
his character.

Many a man is deluded into the fond supposition that he is not successful
because he does not fit into the vocation where he finds himself. The
truth is that he probably is in as desirable a vocation as could possibly
be found for him. The reason he is not successful is because he has failed
to develop the fundamental qualities of industry, courage, and


When the impractical man learns his limitations he is all too likely to go
to extremes in depreciating his own business ability. Many such people are
seemingly proud of their deficiencies in business sense. "I am no business
man. You attend to it, I'll trust you," they say. While a lack of natural
business ability may not be a man's fault, it is nothing to be proud of.
You may not be born with keen, financial sense, but that is no reason why
you may not develop more and more of it and make yourself a better
business man. As a matter of fact, every man is in business--he has
something to sell which he wishes the rest of the world to buy from him.
He has himself, at least, to support, and more than likely he has others
dependent upon him. He has no right, therefore, to neglect business
affairs and to permit others to impose upon him and to steal from him and
from those dependent upon him the proper reward for his labor.

Even the youth who is poor in mathematics can learn something about
geometry, algebra, and trigonometry; even he who "has no head for
language" can learn to speak a foreign tongue and even to read Latin or
Greek. It is not easy for either one of them and perhaps the one can never
become a great mathematician nor the other a great linguist, but both can
learn something, both can improve their grasp of the difficult subject.
There are probably few readers of these pages who have not in their school
days overcome just such handicaps in some particular subject of study.

In a similar way those who are impractical and have little business sense
can improve in this respect and they ought to. Such people ought to study
practical affairs, ought to give their attention to financial matters. In
fact, one of the best ways to increase financial judgment is to form the
intimate acquaintance of some one who has a keen sense of financial
values. If such a person can be persuaded to talk about what he knows, the
impractical man will do well to take a keen interest in what he says, to
qualify himself to understand it, and, if possible, to get the point of
view from which a good business man approaches his problems and studies
his affairs. Actual practice is, of course, necessary for development, and
the impractical man ought to take an interest in his affairs and ought to
do his best to handle them. Naturally, he needs to seek competent counsel
in regard to them, but he should pay some attention to the counsel given,
try to learn something from it, watch results of every course of action
and in every possible way study to make himself more practical and less
theoretical and abstract in his attitude toward life in general and toward
business affairs in particular.

Not long ago we attended a meeting of two and three hundred of the most
prominent authors, poets, and playwrights in America. We were not at all
surprised to note that nearly every one of those who had made a financial
success of his art was a man of the practical, commercial type who had
developed his business sense along with his artistic or literary talent.


Some years ago we formed the acquaintance of a delightful man who is so
typical of a certain class of the impractical that his story is
instructive. When we first formed the acquaintance of this gentleman he
was about thirty years of age, rather handsome in appearance, with great
blue eyes, very fine silky blonde hair, and a clear, pink, and white
complexion. His head, somewhat narrow just above the ears, indicated a
mild, easy-going, gentle disposition. The large, rounded dome just above
temples was typical of the irrepressible optimist. His forehead, very full
and bulging just below the hair line, showed him to be of the thoughtful,
meditative, drearily type, while flatness and narrowness at the brows told
as plainly as print of the utter impracticability of his roseate dreams.

True to his exquisite blonde coloring, this man was eager, buoyant,
irrepressible, impatient of monotony, routine, and detail--social and
friendly. True to his fine texture, he shrank from hardship, was
sensitive, refined, beauty loving and luxury loving. Because of his mild
disposition and optimism and also because of his love of approval, he was
suave, affable, courteous, agreeable. He made acquaintances easily and had
many of the elements of popularity.

Because he was ambitious to occupy a position of prominence and
distinction, because he wished to gratify his luxurious and elegant
tastes, and because in his irrepressible optimism it seemed so absurdly
easy to do, he was eager to make a large fortune. Lacking the
aggressiveness, energy, willingness to undergo hardship and to work hard
and long, patiently enduring the hours and days of drudgery over details
that could not be neglected, he dreamed of making millions by successful


It is easy to see why a man of this type, with his futile dreams of easy
conquests in the field of finance, should have scorned the slow and
painful process of acquiring an education. Yet the tragedy of his life was
that his only hope of usefulness in the world was through the careful
cultivation and development of his really fine intellect. It is also easy
to see why such a man would lack the patience to learn a trade even if he
had had the manual skill to carry on any trade successfully--which he had
not. For the same reasons he would not take pains to qualify himself for
any occupation, although he might have made a fair success in retail
salesmanship perhaps, notwithstanding his far greater fitness for
educational, ministerial, or platform work. On the contrary, he roamed
about the country occupying himself at odd times with such bits of light
mental or physical work as came his way. Being without training and taking
no real interest in his work, he never retained any job long. Sometimes,
lured by the will-o'-the-wisp of some fancied opportunity to make a
million, he gave up his work. Sometimes he merely got tired of working and
quit. But most often he was discharged for his incompetence. It is
difficult indeed for any man to attend properly to the cent-a-piece
details of an ordinary job when he is dreaming of the easy thousands he is
going to make next week.

This charming gentleman was always out of funds. Although he carefully
tonsured the ends of his trouser legs, inked the cuffs of his coat,
blackened and polished his hose and even his own, fine, fair skin where it
showed through the holes of his shoes, and turned his collars and ties
again and again, he was nearly always shabby. On rare and ever rarer
occasions he would do some relative or friend the inestimable favor and
honor of accepting a small loan, "to be repaid in a few days, as soon as a
big deal I now have under way is consummated." These loans were his only
successes in the realm of practical finance. Inasmuch as the repayment of
them was contingent upon the closing of an ever-imminent, but never
consummated, "big deal," they cost him nothing for either principal or
interest. For a few weeks after the successful negotiation of one of these
loans, he would be resplendent, opulent, fastidious, even generous. All
too soon the last dollar would slip through his unheeding fingers. If
during a period of affluence he had succeeded in establishing a little
semblance of credit, he would maintain his regal style of living as long
as it lasted. Then he would come down to the hall bedroom or even the
ten-cent lodging house, the lunch wagon, and the pawn shop. But even at
the lowest ebb of his fortunes, he never seemed to lose his cheerfulness,
his good nature, his grand manners, and his easy, confident hope and
conviction about the huge sums that were to come into his possession
"within a few days."


Do not imagine that this man's dreams of great and easy fortunes were mere
idle fancies--far from it. He was nearly always engaged in negotiations
for some big deal. One of his favorite pastimes was to hunt up large
holdings of real estate offered for sale, go to the owners, represent
himself as a real estate broker, and secure permission to put these
properties on his "list." This permission obtained, he would go about
trying to find buyers. But his ideas of real estate values, of the
adaptation of properties to purchasers, of the details of a real estate
transaction and of salesmanship were so vague and so impractical that if
he ever succeeded in selling a piece of real estate, we have not yet heard
of it. He lacked the practical sense necessary to inform himself upon such
important matters as taxes, assessments, insurance rates, trend of
population, direction and character of commercial expansion, bank
clearings, freight shipments, volume of retail and wholesale business,
projected municipal and public service improvements, crop reports, output
of manufacturies, and many other items which form the basis for
intelligent negotiation, in a real estate deal. He could talk only in
glittering generalities, and his suggestions were usually so impracticable
that he failed to secure the confidence of those who were in a position to
purchase properties so valuable as those he invariably hit upon for his
ambitious projects.


Here, then, was a man of unusual intelligence and capacity along
theoretical, abstract, philosophical, and spiritual lines. His intentions
were good. He was kindly, sympathetic, generous to a fault, refined,
ambitious, high principled at heart and a thorough gentleman by birth,
training, and instinct. Yet, because of a lack of clear knowledge, his
life has been one of hardship, privation, disappointment, disillusionment,
galling poverty, and utter failure. He has been subjected to ridicule and
the even more blighting cruelty of good-natured, patronizing, contemptuous
tolerance. His reputation is that of a lazy, good-for-nothing,
disreputable dead beat and loafer. And yet, in a sense, nothing is further
from the truth. Notwithstanding his many disappointments, no one could
have been more sincere than he in believing that just around the corner
fortune awaited him.


The fundamental difficulty with the impractical man is two fold. First,
his powers of observation are so deficient that it is difficult for him to
obtain facts. It is an axiom of conscious life that there is pleasure and
satisfaction in the use of well-developed powers and a disinclination to
use powers which are deficient in development. Because it is difficult for
the impractical man to obtain facts, he has little desire to obtain them.
He takes little interest in them, does not appreciate their value. He,
therefore, assumes his facts, takes them for granted or proceeds almost
wholly without them. Even when he does take the trouble to ascertain the
facts, he is inclined to be hasty and slipshod in his methods. He,
therefore does not obtain all of the necessary information bearing upon
his problem. He does not painstakingly verify his knowledge through
repeated observations, under all kinds of conditions. So he is frequently
mistaken and reasons to his conclusions upon supposed facts which are not
facts at all.

Second, the impractical man, as a general rule, has well-developed powers
of reason, logic, and imagination. His mind easily and unerringly leaps
from premises to conclusion and weaves long and beautiful chains of
reasoning, each link perfectly formed. The only trouble is that none of
the chains are attached to anything solid and substantial at either end.
With highly developed powers of imagination, it follows that the
impractical man loves to dream, to build castles in the air. When he
attempts to form a judgment or reach a conclusion, he may possibly begin
by attempting to ascertain the facts. But observation for him is a slow
and painful process. He does not enjoy it. He has no patience with it.
Mere facts restrict him. Practical reasoning is like walking painfully,
step by step, along a narrow, steep pathway, leading to a fixed
destination at which the traveler arrives whether he wills it or not. The
impractical man's form of reasoning, starting at the same place, soars
into the air, dips and sweeps in magnificent and inspiring curves and
finally sets him down at whatever destination seems most desirable to him.
His well-developed powers of imagination are usually more than willing to
supply the deficiencies in his powers of observation. In his own realm he
is a valuable member of society--often becomes rich and famous. But he is
a misfit in any vocation which deals wholly with concrete things.


The impractical man is easily recognized. He may be blonde or brunette,
large or small, fine textured or coarse textured, energetic or lazy,
aggressive or mild, friendly or unfriendly, ambitious or unambitious,
honest or dishonest--but his mark is upon his forehead. If his brows are
flat or if his forehead immediately above and at the sides of his eyes is
undeveloped or only a little developed, his powers of observation are
deficient. He is not interested in facts and his judgment is based upon
hasty and mistaken premises. As a general rule, in such cases, the upper
part of the forehead is well developed. This is always the case if the man
is intelligent. If the forehead is both low and retreating and flat at the
brows, then the individual lacks both power of observation and reasoning
power, and is very deficient in intellect.

Figures 27 and 28 and 29 and 30 show some very common types of the
impractical man. Note the flatness of the brows in every case. Figures 32,
50, and 54 show the foreheads of practical men.



The born artist has a passion for creation. This is true whether his art
expresses itself through paints and brushes, through chisel and stone, on
the stage, through musical tones, through bricks and mortar, or through
the printed page. The born artist may or may not have, as companion to his
passion for creation, a hunger for fame, an ear which adores applause. Few
artists, however, have ever become famous who were not spurred on by an
eager desire for the plaudits of their fellows.

It is possible to have the passion for creation without the hunger for
fame. It is also possible to have a hunger for fame without the passion
for creation. In the "Light That Failed," Kipling tells of little Maisie,
who toiled and struggled, not to create beauty, but for success. Yet, poor
Dick, who loved her, was forced to admit that there was no special reason
why her work should be done at all.

Horace Annesley Vachell, in "Brothers," tells the story of Mark Samphire's
tragedy. "When, after three years of most gruelling, hard work as an art
student, he turned to his great master and asked: 'When you were here last
you said to a friend of mine that it was fortunate for me that I had
independent means. You are my master; you have seen everything I have
done. Pynsent knows my work, too, every line of it. I ask you both: Am I
wasting my time?'

"Neither answered.

"'No mediocre success will content me,' continued Mark. 'I ask you again:
Am I wasting my time?'

"'Yes,' said the master gruffly. He put on his hat and went out.

"'He's not infallible,' Pynsent muttered angrily.

"'Then you advise me to go on? No, you are too honest to do that. I shall
not go on, Pynsent; but I do not regret the last three years. They would
have been wasted, indeed, if they had blinded me to the truth concerning
my powers.'"


The art schools of Paris! History, fiction, reminiscence, your own
knowledge, perhaps your own experience, join in piling mountain-high the
tale of wasted years, blasted ambitions, broken hopes and shattered
ideals. Worse than this, perhaps, they tell of homes, galleries and shops
disfigured with mediocre work and criminally hideous daubs.

The music studios of Paris, Berlin, New York, and other large cities, the
schools of dramatic art, the theological seminaries, and the departments
of literature in our universities could add their sad testimony.
Theatrical managers, editors of magazines, publishers, art dealers, and
lyceum bureaus are besieged by armies of aspiring misfits.

Probably there is no more difficult and hazardous undertaking in all the
experience of the vocational counsellor than that presented by people of
this type. The mere fact that a young man has painted scores of pictures
which have been rejected has no bearing on the case. Artistic and literary
history is studded with the glorious names of those who struggled through
years of failure and rejection to final success. This is, in fact, true of
nearly all of the great artists and writers. True, the mere dictum of any
authority, however high, would have very little effect in turning the true
creative artist from his life work, but what a pity it would have been if
Richard Mansfield, Booth Tarkington, Mark Twain, and a host of others had
paid any attention to the advice of those who told them they never could
succeed! And yet, unless the vocational counsellor can encourage and urge
on those who have the divine spark, and turn back from their quest those
who have it not, he has failed in one of his most important tasks.


Let us, therefore, examine some of the elements of success in art. We have
seen that the born artist has a passion for creation. He _must_ draw, or
paint, or act, or sing, or write. That which is within him demands
expression and will not be denied. His love is for the work and not for
the reward or the applause. These are but incidental. His visions and
dreams are of ever greater achievements and not of an ever increasing
income or wider popularity. Work well done and the conscious approval of
his own mind are the sweetest nectar to his soul.

But this passion of creation is, perhaps, not enough in itself. "Art is a
jealous mistress." Even the passion for creation must wait upon slowly and
painfully acquired technique, and, in the case of painting, sculpture,
instrumental music, and some other forms of art, upon inherent capacity
and manual skill. Many an artist's soul is imprisoned in a clumsy body
which will not do its bidding.

"Art is long," and he who is unwilling or unable to keep alive the divine
spark through years of poverty had better turn back before he sets forth
upon the great adventure. Searching the portraits of the world's great
artists, living and dead, you will not find a lazy man amongst them.


During our school days we made the acquaintance of Larime Hutchinson, then
a lad of twenty, shy, self-conscious, pathetically credulous, and hobbled
by a prodigious ineptitude which made him a favorite butt for schoolboy
jokes and pranks. Larime was in great disfavor with the teachers because
he almost never had his lessons. He was also in disfavor with the college
treasurer because he did not pay his bills. Larime's father was a country
minister and could send him only a few dollars a month. The rest of his
financial necessities he was supposed to meet by sawing wood, mowing
lawns, attending furnaces, and other such odd jobs. But Larime never could
hold these jobs because he was too lazy to do them well. He was also in
high disfavor with his schoolmates, first, because of his timidity and
self-consciousness; second, because of the strange air of superiority
which, paradoxically enough, he managed to affect even in spite of these
handicaps. A little confidential consorting with this peculiar young man
soon revealed the fact that he yearned to be heralded with great acclaim
as "The Poet of the New World." Not only did he yearn; he confidently
expected it. Nay, more; he already was "The Poet of the New World," and
awaited only the day of his acknowledgment by those who, despite their
prejudices and envy, would eventually be compelled to accord him his true
position. To prove his claims, Larime read us some of his "poetry." It was
bad, very bad, and yet it was not quite bad enough to be good.

Such visions of glory as obscured Larime Hutchinson's sensible view of the
practical world are, perhaps, common enough in adolescence, and, as a
general rule, work no serious harm. There were, however, two fatal defects
of character in this case. The first was that Larime continued to dream
and to write what he thought was verse, when he ought to have been at work
plowing corn, for he had qualities which, with industry, would have made
him a successful farmer. Second, he was mentally too lazy for the drudgery
even the greatest poet must perform if he is to perfect his technique.


The case of Marshall Mears, a young man who consulted us a few years ago
with reference to his ambition to become a journalist and author, well
illustrates a different phase of this same problem. This young man was of
the tall, raw-boned, vigorous, active, energetic, industrious type. There
was not a lazy bone in his body. In addition to his energy, he had unusual
powers of endurance, so that he could work fifteen, eighteen, or twenty
hours a day for weeks at a time without seeming to show any signs of
fatigue. He was ambitious for success as a writer. He was willing to work,
to work hard, to work long, to wait for recognition through years of
constant effort. He had secured a fairly good education and, in many ways,
seemed well fitted for the vocation he had chosen to pursue.

A careful examination, however, showed two fundamental deficiencies in
Marshall Mears which training could only partially overcome. First, his
was one of those narrow-gauge, single-track minds. He was incapable of any
breadth of vision. His mind was completely obsessed with details. He would
go to a lecture, or to a play, and invariably, instead of grasping the
main argument of the lecture, or the lesson of the play, he saw only a few
inconsequential details of action in the play, and remembered only stray
and somewhat irrelevant statements made by the lecturer. A novel or an
essay appealed to him in the same way. Present to him a business
proposition and his whole attention would be absorbed by some chance
remark. He was a devoted admirer of the late Elbert Hubbard and he had
longed for years to hear the great man lecture. Finally his opportunity
came and he was greatly elated, and not a little excited, as he looked
forward to what he believed to be one of the treats of a lifetime. When he
returned from the lecture, as we had feared, instead of being uplifted and
delighted, he was manifestly disappointed.

"Didn't you like the lecture?" we asked.

"I cannot understand," he complained, "why as intelligent a man as Hubbard
should split his infinitives."

Naturally, a man with a mind like this could not construct a plot or
outline an article. His writings, like his conversations, were long drawn
out, meandering and painfully tiresome recitations of trifling and, for
the most part, irrelevant detail.

We counselled him to lay aside his pen and take hold of plow handles
instead. He has since become a successful farmer, perfectly happy, working
out all the infinitude of minutiae in connection with the intensive
cultivation of small fruits.


Still another phase of this problem is presented by the case of N.J.F.
This man also wanted to be an editor and writer. He was a big,
fine-looking fellow, fairly well educated, had some ability in written
expression, and frequent good ideas. With his aptitudes, training, and
talents, it seemed, at first sight, that he certainly ought to be able to
succeed in an editorial capacity. Further examination showed, however, a
lamentable lack of discrimination, a deficient sense of the fitness of
things, and consequently, unreliable judgment. These deficiencies are
worse than handicaps to an editor. They are absolute disqualifications. An
editor's first duty is to discriminate, to sift, to winnow the few grains
of wheat out of the bushels of chaff that come to his mill. Editors must
have a very keen sense of the fitness of things. It is true that the
discriminating reader of newspapers and magazines may be tempted to feel
at times that this sense of the fitness of things is very rare in editors.
Unquestionably, it could be improved in many cases, and yet, on the whole,
it must be admitted that newspaper and magazine editors perform at least
one important function with a very fair degree of acceptability, namely,
they purvey material which is at least interesting to the particular class
of readers to whom they wish to appeal. If readers could be induced to
wade through for a week the masses of uninteresting material which is
submitted, they would doubtless have far greater respect for the
intelligence, criticism, peculiarities, and sense of fitness of things of
the editors.

But we digress. N.J.F. was incapable of sound judgment, not because he did
not know the facts, but because, instead of reasoning logically to his
conclusion, in accordance with the facts, he was entirely governed by his
rather erratic feelings. In other words, he could not reason well from
cause to effect; he did not understand people, and so could not sense what
would interest them, and his powers of criticism, such as he possessed,
were destructive rather than constructive.

Contrary to our advice, N.J.F. persisted in his editorial ambitions and in
time managed to persuade the owner of a certain publication to entrust him
with its editorial management. Almost immediately the periodical began to
lose subscribers. Down, down, down went its circulation until it almost
reached the vanishing point. Finally, it expired. The trouble was not that
its pages contained anything bad, harmful or illiterate, but simply that
there was page after page of dry, discursive, uninteresting, valueless
material. It was a pity, because, under a competent editor, the periodical
in question had occupied an important and useful place in the current
literature of the period, and also because, as a dealer in coal, lumber,
lime, and building materials, N.J. F. would have been a useful and
successful member of the community.

[Illustration: FIG. 33. John Masefield, Poet. Idealistic,
sentimental, dreamy, impractical, but intensely responsive to beauty,
rhythm and imagery. Has creative power. Note high, straight forehead, very
high head, fine texture, finely chiseled features, and dreamy, mystic

[Illustration: FIG. 34. Edward DeReszke, Opera Singer. Great
artistic and musical talent, with capacity for sentiment and emotion. Note
width of brows; dome of head over temples; fulness of eyes, curves of
nose, cheeks and lips, Also large physical frame, especially chest and

[Illustration: _Copyright by A. Dupont, N.Y._
FIG. 35. Puccini. Composer. Has artistic talent and creative ability
together with, energy, ambition, persistence, courage, determination.
Rather mild in disposition. Not a particularly good business man. More
interested in music than in money. Note width of forehead at eyes and at
upper corners and its narrowness between; high nose; brunette color;
square, strong jaw and chin; straight, firm mouth, and calm, determined

[Illustration: FIG. 36. John S. Sargent, R.A., Portrait Painter.
Keen powers of observation, high ambition, great energy, fine
discrimination, excellent powers of expression, and social qualities. Note
unusual development of brows, height of head; fulness of forehead at
center; fulness of eyes, large, high nose, and fulness of backhead.]

[Illustration: _Photo by American Press Association._
FIG. 37. Pietro Mascagni. Composer. Musical, emotional sensuous,
impulsive, spasmodically energetic. Note width of forehead at brows, full
lips, dimpled chin, heavy cheeks, thick-lidded eyes, large nose, and
intense, ardent expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 38. Richard Burton. Author. Has fine,
sentimental, idealistic, artistic and literary talents, intellectual,
creative and inventive ability, together with energy, determination, and
ambition. Note height and width of forehead; fulness back of upper
corners; large, but finely chiseled features, and thoughtfully intense,
but calm, serious, poised expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 39. Mendelssohn, Composer. Very refined, sensitive,
responsive, emotional and delighted with appreciation and applause.
Creative, musical, capable of great industry and perseverance. Note width
of forehead at brows; large, glowing eyes; finely chiseled, regular
features; short upper lip; beautifully curved lips; high head, rounded
above temples. Compare this with Figure 20.]

[Illustration: FIG. 40. Massenet, Composer. Artistic ability, backed up
by ambition, energy, determination, courage, and persistence. Note width
of lower portion of forehead; large, well-formed nose; firm mouth, jaw and
chin; height and width of head; square hands and finger-tips. Also very
emotional and intense nature. Note round, dome-shaped head, smooth
fingers, and dreamy expression.]


The greatest artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers are men of genius
and are, therefore, in a sense, abnormal. Lombroso, in his work, "The Man
of Genius," produces a great deal of interesting evidence showing the
similarity between the manifestations of genius and those of insanity.
Lombroso's conclusions have been more or less discredited, but later
investigations and practically all students agree that the true genius is
more or less an abnormality. In his case, some one or two faculties are
developed out of all reasonable proportion to the others. Naturally
enough, in such cases there is no need for a vocational counsellor. The
genius devotes himself to his music, or his painting, or his writing,
because there is nothing else he can do, nothing else in which he takes
any interest, and because the inner urge is so powerful as to be

But grossly deceived are those who imagine that the fire of genius burns
away any necessity for drudgery. On the other hand, genius seems to
consist very largely of a capacity for almost infinite drudgery. A
prominent engineer once said to us that all great inventions which become
commercially practicable are the joint product of a genius and a drudge,
or rather, of a genius and a corps of drudges. The genius, in a flash of
inspiration, conceives a new idea. Having conceived it, he can only sit
down and wait for a new inspiration, while the drudges take his idea, work
out its details, modify and conform it to conditions, and, finally,
harness it to the commercial wagon. This sounded well and has a great deal
of truth in it. Yet the most slavish drudge in the Edison laboratories and
factories is Edison himself. The hardest worker in all the Westinghouse
plant was Westinghouse. And who but the Wright brothers themselves made a
commercial success of the aeroplane? Sometimes, it is true, one man
conceives an idea which he is unable to work out and which must be made
practical by others, but more often than not he stumbles on the idea more
by accident than because he is looking for it. So the young man or the
young woman who has hopes of winning fame in the world of art, music, or
literature should assay himself or herself first of all for a willingness
to work, to work hard, and to work endlessly.


Such energy is indicated by the large nose, high in the bridge, which
admits large quantities of oxygen into the lungs; by high cheek bones,
oftentimes by a head wide just above the ears, by square hands and
square-tipped fingers, by hard or elastic consistency of fibre.
Persistence and patience are indicated by brunette coloring and plodding
by a well-developed and rather prominent jaw and chin. Havelock Ellis and
other anthropologists have noted the fact that dark coloring is more
frequently found in artists and actors than light hair, eyes, and skin.

Artistic, musical, and literary ability are as various in their
indications as they are in their manifestations. One man is a painter,
another a sculptor, another an architect. One man paints flowers, another
landscapes, another portraits, another allegorical scenes, and still
another the rough, virile, vigorous, or even horrible and gruesome aspects
of life. One musician sings, another plays the violin, still another the
piano, and another the pipe organ. One conducts a grand opera, another
conducts a choir. One musician composes lyrics, another oratorios, another
ragtime, and still another symphonies. One man writes poetry, another
stories, another essays, another history, another philosophy, and still
another the hard, dry, mathematical facts of science. Obviously, it would
only confuse the reader were we to attempt to describe the physical
appearance of all these different classes.


In general, we may say that an appreciation of form, color, proportion,
size, and distance is indicated by well-developed brows, broad and full at
the outer angles, and by eyes set rather widely apart. But size, form,
color, and proportion are but the mediums through which the artist's soul
conveys its message. Whether or not one has the soul which can conceive a
worthy message is indicated by the expression of the eyes, an expression
which cannot be described but which, once seen and recognized, can never
afterward be mistaken.

Inherent capacity for music is indicated by a forehead wide at the brows.
Going over the portraits of all the famous composers and performers, you
will find that while they differ in most other particulars, they are all
alike in the proportionate width of the forehead at the brows. The kind
and quality of music one may create depends partially upon training and
partially upon the kind and quality of his soul, which, again, expresses
itself in the eyes.

Capacity for literature and expression is indicated by fulness of the eye,
by heighth and width of the forehead, and, perhaps, especially by the
development of the head and forehead at the sides just above the temples
and back of the hair line. Any portrait gallery of great authors will show
this development in nine out of ten (see figures).

The artistic, musical, or literary man with fine, silken hair, fine,
delicate skin, small and finely chiselled features, and a general
daintiness of build will express refinement, beauty, tender sentiments,
and sensitiveness in his work, while the man with coarse, bushy or wavy
hair, coarse, thick skin, large, rugged features, and a general ruggedness
and clumsiness of build, even when his size is small, will express vigor,
virility, ruggedness, and even gruesomeness and horror, in his work. There
may be in his productions a wild, virile type of beauty, as in the music
of Wagner and the sculpture of Rodin, but the keynote of his work is
elemental force.

The dilettante has conical hands, with small, tapering fingers; this is
the hand which is popularly supposed to accompany artistic temperament.
He loves art. He appreciates art. He may even win fame and fortune as a
competent critic of art, but he cannot create it. Your true artist has
square, competent hands, with blunt, square-tipped fingers. The hands
shown in figure 57 page 317 are those of a music lover who can neither
play nor sing. Those in figure 58 are the hands of a true artist on the
piano and pipe organ. The true producing artist nearly always has square
hands, with large thumbs set near the wrist, thus giving a wide reach
between tip of thumb and tip of forefinger, as shown in figure 58. Actors
and operatic singers sometimes have conical hands, with tapering fingers.
They express emotion and beauty with voice, gesture, and facial expression
rather than with their hands.

In the world of art and literature many are called but few are chosen. The
pathway to the heights is steep and rugged and there are many pitfalls.
There are many by-paths. Furthermore, it is cold and lonesome on the
mountain-top. Before anyone sets out on the perilous journey he should
read Jack London's "Martin Eden," Louis M. Alcott's autobiography, the
story of Holman Hunt, the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and the
biographies of others who have attained fame in these fields.



In the old days the physician was often a priest. There was mystery,
magic, authority, and power in the profession. There were almost royal
privileges, prerogatives, robes, insignia, and emoluments.

Humanity sheds its superstitions slowly. Science and common sense have
smitten and shattered them for centuries, yet many fragments remain. And
so there is still a good deal of mysticism, magic, and awe connected with
both the art of healing and the priesthood. Hence, the lure of these
professions. Romantic and ambitious youth longs to enter into the holy of
holies, looks forward with trembling eagerness to the day when authority
shall clothe him like a garment, when his simple-hearted people, gathered
about him, will look up to him with adoration in eyes which say, "When you
speak, God speaks."

There are other appeals to aspiration in the professions. When the layman
seeks for social preferment, he must bring with him either the certificate
of gentle birth or the indorsement of his banker. The professional man has
a standing, however, far in excess of what he might command as the result
of his financial standing.

The profession of law, in like manner, has, in the minds of the common
people, always set a man apart from his fellows. About his profession,
too, there is the charm of mystery, the thought of thrilling flights of
oratory and high adventure in the courts of law, of opportunities for
great financial success, and for political preferment.

Of late years the profession of engineering has called to the youth of the
land with an almost irresistible voice. The development of steam and
gasoline engines, of the electric current, and of a welter of machinery
called for engineers. The specialization of engineering practice into
production, chemical, industrial, municipal, efficiency, mining,
construction, concrete, drainage, irrigation, landscape, and other phases,
has still further increased the demand. Some few engineers, by means of
keen financial ability in addition to extraordinary powers in the
engineering field, have made themselves names of international fame, as
well as great fortunes. All these things have fired the ambitions of our
youth, and the engineering schools are full.


Our colleges and universities, in their academic courses, do not fit their
students for business, neither do they fit them for any of the
professions. They are graduated "neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red
herring," so far as vocation goes. Being an educated man, in his own
estimation, the bearer of a college degree cannot go into business, he
cannot "go back" into manual labor. So he must go forward. There is no way
for him to go forward, so far as he knows, except to enter some technical
school and prepare himself for one of the "learned professions."

Go into the graduating class in any college or university, and ask the
young men what their plans for the future are. How many of them will reply
that they are going into business? How many of them that they are going
into agriculture? How many that they are going into manufacturing? Our
experience is a very small percentage. Many of them have not yet made up
their minds what they will do. The great majority of those who have made
up their minds are headed toward the law, medicine, the ministry, or
engineering. This is a great pity. Why should the teachers and counselors
of these young men encourage them in preparing themselves for professions
which are already over-crowded and which bid fair, within the next ten
years, to become still more seriously congested? Perhaps the professors do
not know these things. If so, a little common sense would suggest that it
is their business to find out. Nor would the truth be difficult to learn.

In "Increasing Home Efficiency," by Martha Brensley Bruere and Robert W.
Bruere, we read:

"We have pretty definitely grasped the idea that the labor market must be
organized, because it is for the social advantage that the trades should
be neither over-nor under-supplied with workers; but it seems to shock
people inexpressibly to think that the demand for ministers and teachers
and doctors should be put in the class with that for bricklayers and
plumbers. And yet the problem is quite as acute in the middle class as
among the wage-workers. Take the profession of medicine, for instance, a
calling of the social value of which there can be no question, and which
is largely recruited from the middle class. The introduction of the
Carnegie Foundation's Report on Medical Education says:

"'In a society constituted as are our Middle States, the interests of the
social order will he served best when the number of men entering a given
profession reaches and does not exceed a certain ratio.... For twenty-five
years past there has been an enormous over-production of medical
practitioners. This has been in absolute disregard of the public welfare.
Taking the United States as a whole, physicians are four or five times as
numerous in proportion to population as in older countries, like
Germany.... In a town of 2,000 people one will find in most of our States
from five to eight physicians, where two well-trained men could do the
work efficiently and make a competent livelihood. When, however, six or
eight physicians undertake to gain a living in a town which will support
only two, the whole plane of professional conduct is lowered in the
struggle which ensues, each man becomes intent upon his own practice,
public health and sanitation are neglected, and the ideals and standards
of the profession tend to demoralization.... It seems clear that as
nations advance in civilization they will be driven to ... limit the
number of those who enter (the professions) to some reasonable estimate of
the number who are actually needed,'

"And in the face of this there were, in 1910, 23,927 students in
preparation to further congest the profession of medicine! It's an
inexcusable waste, for, though there's much the statistician hasn't done,
there's little he can't do when he sets his mind to it. If he can
estimate the market for the output of a shoe factory, why not the market
for the output of a professional school? It ought to be possible to tell
how many crown fillings the people of Omaha will need in their teeth in
1920 and just how many dentists must be graduated from the dental schools
in time to do it."


So much for the physician. While we have not at hand any exact statistics
in regard to lawyers, there is a pretty general feeling amongst all who
have studied the subject that the legal profession is even more
over-crowded than the medical. God alone knows all the wickednesses that
are perpetrated in this old world because there are too many lawyers for
proper and necessary legal work and so, many of them live just as close to
the dead line of professional ethics as is possible without actual
disbarment. And yet, with all their devices and vices, the average lawyer
is compelled to get along upon an income of less than $1,000 a year.

The ministry is, perhaps, even more over-crowded than either medicine or
law. There are several reasons for this. In the first place, there are
from four to a dozen churches in most places where one would render far
better service. These churches are, many of them, poorly supported, and,
therefore, inefficient. Yet each must have a pastor. Second, the fact that
a theological or pre-theological student can secure aid in pursuing his
education tempts many young men into the ministry. Recently a university
student called upon us. He told us he was working his way through the
university by supplying pulpits on Sunday. "But it's hard work," he
confessed, "particularly when one must enthusiastically proclaim things he
does not believe." This young man was, doubtless, an exception, but we
have seen many poorly equipped for the ministry, "studying theology
because they could not afford to take some other post-graduate work."

How greatly over-crowded this ancient and honorable profession has become
may be guessed by the fact that a fine, intelligent man may spend four
years in preparatory school, four years in college, and three years in a
theological seminary, may acquire twenty-five years of successful
experience, and still receive for his services only $500 a year. Moreover,
he is expected to contribute to the cause not only all his own time and
talent, but also the services of his wife and children. This, of course,
is pretty close to the minimum salary, but the great majority of
ecclesiastical salaries range very low--nor have they responded to the
increase in the cost of living.

After all, the question is not one of the over-crowding of a profession,
but of fitness for success in it. No matter how many may be seeking
careers in any profession, the great majority are mediocre or worse, and
the man with unusual aptitude and ability to work and work hard easily
outstrips his fellows and finds both fame and fortune. The trouble is that
the lure of the professions takes thousands of men into them who are
better fitted for business, for mechanics, for agriculture, and for other


Because they have the capacity to work hard, because they are
conscientious and because they have some ordinary intellect and common
sense, many men make a fair success in medicine, in the law, in the
ministry, as college professors, as engineers, or in some other
profession. All through their lives, however, they have the feeling that
they are not doing their best work, that they would be better off, better
satisfied, and happier if engaged in some other vocation. How well every
true man knows that it is not enough to have kept the wolf from the door,
it is not enough even to have piled up a little ahead. Every man of red
blood and backbone wants to do his best work, wants to do work that he
loves, work into which he can throw himself with heart and soul and with
all his mind and strength. Merely to muddle through with some
half-detested work, not making an utter failure of it, is no satisfaction
when the day's work is done. Not only the man himself, but all of us, lose
when he who might have been a great manufacturer and organizer of
industry fritters away his life and his talents as a "pretty good doctor"
or a "fair sort of lawyer."

Judge Elbert H. Gary was far from being a failure as a lawyer. Yet his
life might have been a failure in the law in comparison to what he has
accomplished and is accomplishing as the great head and organizer of the
largest steel business in the United States. Oliver Wendell Holmes was
successful as a physician and yet what would the world have lost if he had
devoted his entire time and attention to the practice of medicine! Glen
Buck once studied for the ministry. Imagine big, liberty-loving, outspoken
Glen Buck trying to speak the truth as God gave him to see the truth and
at the same time keep his artistic, literary, financial, and dramatic
talents confined within the limits of a pastor's activities. So it is that
some men are too meek and too small for the professions--others too
aggressive, too versatile, and too independent for the routine of
professional life. Still others have decided talents which qualify them
for unusual success in other vocations. If a man has unusual intellectual
attainment, he either does or does not acquire extensive education. If he
does not, the probabilities are that he will enter business; he will
become a merchant, a manufacturer, a promoter, a banker, or a railroad
man. In some one of the departments of industry, commerce, transportation,
or finance, he makes a place for himself by hard work, beginning at the
bottom. If, on the other hand, circumstances are such that he can secure
an education, then he passes by business, manufacturing, transportation,
finance; he must forsooth become a doctor, a lawyer, a preacher, an
editor, or an engineer. The question of vocation is thus, all too often,
decided by the incident of education and not according to natural


The young man who is ambitious to enter upon a profession ought to study
himself carefully before beginning his preparation. He ought to know, not
guess, whether he is qualified for the highest form of success in his
chosen vocation. And there is no reason why he should not know. In the
appendix to this work we have outlined the leading characteristics
required for success in medicine. Some of these are absolutely
essential--others contributory. Among the essentials are health, a
scientific mind, pleasure in dealing with people in an intimate way,
ability to inspire confidence, and courage. Many a young man has taken
highest honors in medical school only to fail in practice because he could
not handle people successfully, or because he lacked the courage to face
the constant reiteration of complaints and suffering by his patients. Sick
people are selfish, peevish, whimsical, and babyish. It takes tact,
patience, understanding, and good nature to handle them successfully.


It takes a combination of fox and lion to make a successful lawyer. And
yet we are besieged with sheep and rabbits who are eager to enter law
school or who have passed through law school and are wondering why they do
not succeed in their profession.

There are at least two general types of lawyers, the court or trial lawyer
and the counselor. The first must be a true catechist, a convincing public
speaker, keen, alert, resourceful, self-confident, courageous, with a
considerable degree of poise and self-control. He may be either
aggressive, belligerent, and combative, or mild, persuasive, and
non-resistant, but shrewd, intelligent, resourceful. A timid, dreamy,
credulous man has no business in the law. A lawyer may love peace, but he
should be willing to fight for it.

Because legal ethics forbid a lawyer to advertise or solicit business
openly, it is necessary for him to secure a standing and clientele by
indirect methods. Best of these is making and keeping friends, by mingling
with all classes and conditions of people, by political activity, and in
other ways making one's self agreeable and useful in the community. Thus a
lawyer draws to himself the attention of the most desirable class of
people. In order to be successful in this, the lawyer must possess
qualities of sociability and friendship. A man who is not naturally social
or friendly is not well qualified for any profession. Unless he intends to
work with a partner who has these qualifications, and who will be the
business getter of the firm, he would better leave the law alone.


The second class of lawyer, the counsellor, is more of the judicial type.
He is quite likely to be stout or to have the indications of approaching
stoutness. He should be calm, deliberate, cautious, prudent, capable of
handling details, a man with a splendid memory and with the capacity for
acquiring a great fund of knowledge about all kinds of things. He should
be able to take an interest in almost any kind of business or profession
and quickly master its fundamentals.


Men of the high-strung, nervous, timid, self-conscious, sentimental class
are sadly out of place in the law. While they may be abundantly well
equipped for success from an intellectual standpoint, physically and
emotionally they are utterly unfit for it. A young man once sought us for
counsel who had spent many years in colleges and universities acquiring
one of the finest legal educations possible in this country. Because of
his intellectual equipment, the study of the law was fascinating to him,
and both his parents and his professors in law school expected him to make
a brilliant success in practice. What was his intense disappointment, as
well as theirs, when he opened an office, to find that almost everything
connected with the practice of law was distasteful to him, so that he
found himself incapable of doing it successfully. For several years he had
made a desperate attempt to succeed and to learn to like his profession,
but every day only made him hate it more ardently. As a natural result he
did poorer and poorer work at it.

It was no wonder to us that this young man did not like the practice of
law. In the first place, he was fond of change and variety. His was not a
nature which could address itself to one task and concentrate upon that
hour after hour and day after day, such as carefully scrutinizing every
detail of a case and perfecting his preparation of it for presentation in
court. In the second place, his was an unusually sensitive, refined,
responsive, and sentimental disposition. So fine were his emotional
sensibilities that it was almost more than he could endure to hear--as he
was compelled to day after day--the seamy, inharmonious, sordid, and
criminal side of life. The recital and consideration of these things
depressed him, made him morbid and sapped his vitality and courage. For
the swift repartee, keen combat, and mutual incriminations of the court
room he was utterly unfitted. Any criticism was taken personally. He found
it impossible to let the jibes, criticisms, and heated words of his
opponents trickle off from him as easily as water does from a duck's back,
which is the proper legal mental attitude in regard to such things. He
told us that sharp, harsh, or bitter words entered his soul like barbed
iron and he was upset and unstrung for hours afterward. A man with such an
emotional nature as his and such an intellect is especially qualified for
literature, and we are glad to say that he is now making a very flattering
success in this particular field.


Aside from spiritual qualifications, success in the ministry depends
chiefly upon two talents: First, ability to speak well in public; second,
social adaptability. The second is perhaps the more important. We have
heard many ministers who were only indifferent public speakers, but who
made a great success of their callings because of their social aptitudes,
their ability to meet and mingle with all kinds of people, their
cheerfulness, their optimism, their helpfulness, their tact and diplomacy.
A traveling evangelist may depend principally upon his power as a public
speaker, but the pastor of a church must depend far more upon his ability
to make and keep friends among the members of his congregation and in the

The minister, of all the professional men, is most in need of ambition, a
desire to please others and to help others, spiritual quality,
humanitarianism, benevolence, faith, hope, veneration for the Deity, and
for the supernatural elements of religion. The day has gone by when the
solemn, joyless preacher can command a large congregation. People to-day
want a religion which is bright and cheerful, which offers a surcease from
the cares and sorrows of ordinary life. They want to be cheered,
encouraged, inspired, and uplifted, rather than depressed and made sad and
melancholy. Therefore, the successful preacher will not permit his intense
conviction of the seriousness, earnestness, and solemnity of his calling
interfere with his exhibiting always a bright, cheerful, and attractive

To be successful the pastor must take an interest in all the members of
his congregation; he must sympathize with them, mourn with them when they
mourn, rejoice with them when they rejoice, cheer them when they are
discouraged, counsel them when they are perplexed. Indeed, he must enter
into their lives fully and wholly, also tactfully and diplomatically.

Perhaps the most successful preachers of the day are medium or blond in
color. While those of dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair, are more
inclined to be religious, more inclined to take life seriously, more
inclined to look forward and upward to the spiritual and the supernatural,
and are also more studious, more capable of deep research and profound
meditation, they do not, as a rule, have the social qualities, the
aggressiveness, the cheerfulness, and the adaptability of the lighter
complexioned people.


When engineering first became a profession there were only two classes of
engineers, the civil and the military. Engineers in those days were
chiefly concerned with the making of surveys and the construction of roads
and bridges. The steam engine had not yet been made a commercial
possibility, therefore there was almost no machinery in existence, and
such little as there was did not require a professional engineer for its
designing or operation. Nothing was known of electricity. Very little was
known of chemistry and almost nothing was known of industry as it has been
organized to-day. Since that time there has been an almost incredible
development along all of these lines. As the result we now have almost as
many kinds of engineers as there are classes of industry. There is the
civil engineer, the mining engineer, the construction, the irrigation, the
drainage, the sewage disposal, the gas production, the hydraulic, the
chemical, the electrical, the mechanical, the industrial, the efficiency,
the production, the illuminating, the automobile, the aeroplane, the
marine, the submarine, and who knows how many other kinds. Indeed, there
are also social engineers, merchandising engineers, advertising engineers,
and even religious engineers. Naturally, it requires a slightly different
kind of man to succeed in each one of the different branches of
engineering, and it would be too great a task for the reader to try to
wade through all of the qualifications here. It would also, no doubt, only
result in confusion and a lack of understanding of the real fundamentals.

Fundamentally the engineer should be medium in coloring. The extreme blond
is too changeable and usually not fond enough of detail to succeed in a
profession which requires so much concentration and accuracy. Practically
all successful engineers have the practical, scientific type of forehead.
By this we mean the forehead which is prominent at the brows and, while
high, slopes backward from the brows. Usually those succeed best in
engineering who are medium in texture. The fine-textured individual,
however, if he is qualified for engineering, will take up some of the
finer, higher grades of it and make fine and delicate material or
machinery, or will engage in some form of engineering which requires only
intellectual work. Practically all successful engineers are of the bony
and muscular type or some modification of this type. This is the type
which naturally takes interest in construction, in machinery, and in
material accomplishment and achievement. Engineering practice usually
requires painstaking accuracy and exactitude. Indeed, this is perhaps more
than any other one qualification fundamental for success in engineering.


This, then, is the composite photograph of the successful professional
man: He is more mental than physical; more scientific, philosophic,
humanitarian, and idealistic than commercial; more social and friendly
than exclusive and reserved; more ambitious for professional high standing
or achievement than for wealth or power. Unless the aspirant to
professional honors has some or all of these qualifications in a
considerable degree, he would better turn his attention to some other
vocation where there is not so much competition. Those who have some, but
not all, of these qualities would do well in other vocations, such as
literature, finance, commerce, or manufacture. Many physicians become
authors, inventors, or financiers; many lawyers become financiers or
manufacturers; many engineers become good advertising men, manufacturers,
or merchants. All such would have done better to begin in the vocation to
which they afterward turned.

A good rule for the young man or the young woman to follow is to make up
his or her mind to enter some other vocation rather than a profession
unless he or she is markedly well qualified to outdistance the crowd of
mediocre competitors and make an unusual success.

[Illustration: _Photo by Paul Thompson_.
FIG. 41. Front face view of ex-Senator Root. The width of head, large, but
well-formed and well-balanced features, firm mouth, chin and jaw, and
expression of alertness and confident strength all indicate the unusually
well qualified executive.]

[Illustration: _Copyright, by Rockland, New York_.
FIG. 42. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. A man of marked personality, shrewdness,
ambition, courage, determination, self-reliance, persistence, and energy.
Added to these were humanitarianism, reverence, optimism, kindliness,
humor, eloquence, and organizing ability. Note high, dome-like head;
prominent brows; fulness of the eyes and surrounding tissues; large, bony
nose; long upper lip; firm mouth; square jaw and prominent chin; large,
well-formed ears; short fingers, and shrewd, kindly expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 43. Rufus Isaacs, Baron Reading, Lord Chief Justice
of England. Keen, penetrating, alert, analytical, resolute, self-reliant,
courageous, persistent, non-sentimental, practical financial. Note
comparatively low, wide forehead, long upper lip, thin lips, square-set
jaw and chin, long, large nose, with somewhat depressed tip, large ears,
and flatness of the top of the head.]

[Illustration: _Copyright by Harris & Ewing, Washington, D. C_.
FIG. 44. Hon. Elihu Root, former United States Senator from New York.
Practical, energetic, ambitious, intellectual, with courage, critical
faculties, ambition, shrewdness, idealism, and a keen knowledge of human
nature in excellent balance. Note high, long head; high forehead,
prominent at brows, large, well-formed nose; prominent chin, general
splendid balance of head and face proportions, and calm, poised, but keen
and forceful expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 45. Harland B. Howe, Lawyer. Practical,
matter-of-fact, shrewd, non-sentimental, energetic, ambitious, determined,
and courageous. Note wide, high forehead; prominent at brows rather square
above; high head, large nose, short, thin upper lip, and square, prominent
jaw and chin.]

[Illustration: _Copyright by Harris & Ewing, Washington, D. C_.
FIG. 46. The late Justice Horace H. Lurton, of the United States Supreme
Court. Excellent example of judicial type. Practical, matter-of-fact,
comparatively unemotional, calm and poised. Note prominence at brows,
comparative flatness just above temples, strong jaw and chin, calm,
unwavering expression.]

[Illustration: _Photo by Pach_.
FIG. 47. Prof. William H. Burr, of Columbia University. Member of Isthmian
Canal Commission. A fine example of professional type. Great intellect,
energy, ambition, shrewdness, determination, and constancy, with
refinement, idealism, sympathy, and friendliness. Note high, full
forehead; large, long, but finely chiseled, nose; high head, narrow and
straight at sides; fine texture; friendly expression.]

[Illustration: FIG. 48. Hon. John Wesley Gaines, Ex-Congressman from
Tennessee. A fine example of the dramatic orator and politician. Refined,
sensitive, responsive, courageous, ambitious, energetic, friendly. Note
high, long head, prominent nose, short upper lip, prominent chin, finely
chiseled features, and spirited expression.]



This chapter is not written for the purpose of adding one whisper to the
impassioned controversies at present raging over women's work. So far as
it is within our power, we shall refrain from taking sides with either
that army which contends that woman is in every way the equal of man and
should be permitted to engage in all of man's activities on an equal
footing with him, or with that other army which declares that woman's
place is the home and that every woman should be a wife, mother, and

Doubtless there are many wholesome and needed reforms being agitated with
reference to women's work. Doubtless, also, there are many pernicious
changes being advocated by both the sincere but mistaken and the vicious
and designing. It is not the purpose of this chapter to discuss these
reforms or to favor or to oppose any of them. We shall, in this chapter,
discuss the problem of vocation for women under present conditions.


The present day finds women at work in practically every field of human
endeavor. There is no profession, business, trade, or calling which does
not count women amongst its successful representatives. Nor does the fact
that a woman has married, has a home and children, debar her from
achievement in any vocation outside the home which she may choose. Madam
Ernestine Schuman-Heinck, with her eight children; Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
with her ten children; Katherine Booth-Clibborn, with her ten children;
Ethel Barrymore, with her family; Mrs. Netscher, proprietor of the Boston
Store in Chicago, with her family; Mary Roberts Rhinehart, with her
children; Madam Louise Homer, with her little flock, and thousands of
others are examples of women who have been successful not only as
home-makers but also in art, literature, professional or commercial

Since this is true, it follows that, theoretically at least, woman may
choose her profession in precisely the same way that man chooses his.
Practically, however, this is not true in most cases. Undoubtedly, a very
large majority of women have happily married, are sufficiently provided
for, and are happier, healthier, more useful, and better satisfied with
life in the home than anywhere else. Notwithstanding the fact that our
girls, almost without exception, enter upon the important vocation of
wifehood, motherhood and home-making with almost no proper training, their
aptitudes for the work are so great and their natural intuitions in regard
to it so true, that unquestionably, large numbers of them in the United
States are happy and satisfied and have no part and no interest in all the
hue and cry in regard to women's rights or women's work.


The natural tendency of the majority of women for maternity and
home-making must be taken into consideration. Some boys play with weapons,
others with machinery, still others are interested in dogs and horses.
Some boys are natural traders, others love to hunt and fish, while you
will find an occasional lad curled up in a big chair in the library
absorbed in a book. But practically all girls play with dolls, which is a
sufficient evidence of the almost universality of the maternal instinct in
women. The pity is that our educational traditions, almost without
exception, are those handed down to us from schools and universities which
educated boys and men only. We are therefore educating our girls to be
merchants, lawyers, doctors, accountants, artists, musicians; in fact,
almost anything but mothers. Twenty years ago, this was universally true.
To-day, fortunately, the light has begun to break, and in many schools,
both public and private, we are beginning to teach our girls domestic
science, the care and feeding of infants, pre-natal culture, home
management, economic purchasing, and other such important subjects.


Occasionally we find a girl who has no talent for housework or home
management. She is not particularly interested in it. She finds it
monotonous and distasteful. For these reasons she probably does not do it
well. On the other hand, she may have keen, reliable commercial instincts
and be well qualified for a business career, or she may be educational,
artistic, literary or professional in type. Such a woman has, of course,
no business trying to keep house. She may have a strong love nature and
ardent maternal desires. If so, there is no reason why she should not
marry and become the mother of children. If she does, however, she should
turn the management of the home over to someone else and seek
self-expression and compensation in the vocation for which she is best
fitted. This, of course, is no easy matter. Many men either have violent
or stubborn prejudices against any such arrangement. Whether or not she
can take her true place in the world depends upon the courage,
determination, tactfulness, and personal force of each individual woman.


There is one occupation for women which is thoroughly established,
entirely respectable, socially uplifting, and fully approved by even the
most conservative and fastidious. This is teaching. The result is that the
profession of teaching, for women, is overcrowded and becoming more
overcrowded. The work done is, on the whole, mediocre or worse, and, as a
result of these two conditions, the pay is pitifully small considering the
importance of the results.

Because women can become teachers without losing one notch of their social
standing in even the most hide-bound communities, thousands of women
become teachers who ought to be housewives. Thousands of others struggle
in the schoolroom, doing work they hate and despise, for a miserable
pittance, when they might be happy and successful in a store or an
office. We have met women teachers who ought to have been physicians;
others who ought to have been lawyers; others, many of them, who ought to
have been in business; and still others, thousands of them, who ought to
have been in their own homes. And, naturally enough, we have also met
women in the professions and in business and in their homes who ought to
have been teachers--but not nearly so many.

The true teacher has three fundamental qualifications. First, a love of
knowledge; second, a desire to impart knowledge, and third, a love of
young people. Added to these should be patience, firmness, tactfulness,
knowledge of human nature, facility in expression, reasoning power,
enthusiasm, and a personality which inspires confidence. Can any county
superintendent discover these qualities by means of the examination upon
which first, second and third-grade certificates are based? Have the
members of any average school board the discrimination necessary to
determine the presence or absence of these qualities in any candidate who
brings her certificate?


The business world suffers from the presence in the ranks of its workers
of thousands of hopelessly inefficient girls who have no aptitudes for
business, or even for the minor detailed processes of commercial activity.
They take no real interest in their work. They have no particular ambition
for advancement. Their one motive for condescending to grace the office
with their presence at all is to earn pin-money or, perhaps, to support
themselves in some fashion until they marry. It is true that some of these
girls might be taught to be reliable and efficient in their work if they
could be persuaded to take an interest in it, to look upon it as something
more potent and more important than a mere stop-gap. Many of them, no
doubt, could be trained to earn salaries which would pay them to continue
in business even after marriage.


Others of these girls are utterly unfitted for office work. Some of them
would succeed very well as teachers, some as artists, and others as
musicians. Like so many of their brothers, however, they have followed the
line of least resistance--regardless of their aptitudes. Most of these
girls belong in the home. They are quite justified in looking forward to
matrimony as their true career. How much better if they would only earn
the necessary pin-money in domestic service! From a monetary point of
view, thirty dollars a month, with board, room, laundry, and many other
necessities furnished, is a princely compensation compared with the five
or eight dollars a week received by most girls in an office. From an
economic point of view, the coming into our homes of thousands of
intelligent, fairly well educated, trained, and ambitious young women
would be a blessing and benefit. Socially, of course, the first young
women who adopted such a radical change in custom would be pariahs. They
would also, doubtless, suffer many hardships in the way of irregular
hours, small, dark, stuffy rooms, unreasonable mistresses, no adequate
place to entertain their friends, and other such injustices. But, with a
higher and more intelligent class of household servants, doubtless these
abuses would disappear.

We opened this chapter with the disavowal of any intention to advocate
reform. We make this one exception. We most earnestly hope that such a
reform may be consummated. At the same time, we have an uneasy suspicion
that we are sighing for the moon.


The whole problem of household management is just now a very serious one.
When the maid is ignorant, untrained, and, as is so often the case, slack,
wasteful, and inefficient, the situation is, in all conscience, bad
enough. But when the mistress is only a little less ignorant than her
servant, is equally slack, and perhaps even more inefficient, the high
cost of living gets a terrific boost in that household, while comfort,
wholesomeness, and adequacy of living are correspondingly depressed. One
of the saddest elements in our consultation work is the stream of both men
and women who lack courage, aggressiveness, initiative, mental focus, and
personal efficiency generally because they are deficient in physical
stamina. Their whole life is, as it were, sub-normal. With inherent
qualifications for success, they are, nevertheless, threatened with
failure because, to use the language of the ring, "they lack the punch."
The trouble with nine out of ten of these unfortunates is that they are
under-nourished. Not because they do not get enough food, but because
their diet is not properly balanced, is served to them in incompatible
combinations, is badly prepared, poorly cooked, unpalatable, and
doubtless, in many cases, served in anything but an appetizing manner.

Napoleon is quoted as having said that an army fights with its stomach.
The man who goes out to do battle for commercial or professional success
from an ill-managed and inefficient kitchen and dining-room is as badly
off as the army with an inadequate commissary department. Yet, while the
commissary department of the modern army receives the most scientific and
careful supervision, many a man must leave his kitchen in the hands of a
wife who received her training in music, literature, modern languages, and
classics, or in a business college, and of a servant who received what
little training she has as a farm laborer in Europe.

There is no denying the truth that if housewives themselves were
scientifically trained, we should have a far higher average of training
and efficiency amongst domestic servants. One of the consequences of our
deplorable self-consciousness in the matter of sex is that we have been
too prudish frankly to train our girls to become successful wives and
mothers. The result is that, when it becomes necessary for them to earn
money before their marriage, instead of gaining experience in
housekeeping, cooking and purchasing, they have taken up the stage,
teaching, factory work, office work, and retail selling. As we have seen,
a great many of them are misfits in these callings. Good food is wasted,
good stomachs are impaired, and good brains and nerves deteriorate
because, as a general rule, only those who are too ignorant or too
inefficient for office work or factory work can be induced to take service
in our kitchens.



Place a quinine tablet and a strychnine tablet of the same size on the
table before you. Can you, by looking at them, smelling of them, or
feeling of them, tell them apart? Would you know the difference instantly,
by their appearance, between bichloride of mercury tablets and soda
tablets? Down in the basement of a manufacturing chemist's huge building,
there is a girl placing tablets in boxes and bottles. They come to her in
huge bins. One tablet looks very much like another. Upon her faithful,
conscientious and unerring attention to every minute detail of her rather
routine and monotonous work may depend the fate of empires.

In an office on the main floor of this same building sits a man directing
the policy of the entire industry. Upon him rests the responsibility for
the success of the enterprise a year, five years, twenty years ahead. He
gives an order: "Purchase land. Build a factory for the making of carbolic
acid. Equip it with the necessary machinery and apparatus. Purchase in
advance the needed raw materials. Be ready to put the product on the
market by the first of September." The execution of that order involves
minute attention to thousands of details. Yet, if the man who gave it were
to consider many of them and render decision upon them, the business would
rapidly become a ship in a storm with no one at the helm.

The work of the girl in the basement, sorting tablets, may turn out to be
far more important in the world's history than the work of the man in the
front office, managing the business. It is just as important, therefore,
that she should be fitted for her vocation as that he should be fitted for


Fortunately for carrying on the business of the world, there are many
people who love detail, take delight in handling it, find intense
satisfaction in seeing that the few little parts of the great machinery of
life under their care are always in the right place at the right time and
under the right conditions. Since there is such an incalculable mass of
these important trifles to be looked after, it is well that the majority
of people are better detail workers than formulators of policies and
leaders of great movements. Tragedy results when the man with the detail
worker's heart and brain attempts to wear the diadem of authority. He
breaks his back trying to carry burdens no human shoulders are broad
enough to bear. He is so bowed down by them that he sees only his mincing
footsteps and has no conception of the general direction in which he is
going. Nine times out of ten he travels wearily around in a little circle,
which grows smaller and smaller as his over-taxed strength grows less and

When you put a man of larger mental grasp in charge of a wearying round of
monotonous details, you have mingled the elements out of which a cataclysm
sometimes comes. These are the men who, with the very best intentions in
the world, fail to appear with the horseshoe nail at the correct moment.
To be there, at that time, with the horseshoe nail is their duty. Nothing
greater than that is expected of them. Yet, because their minds grasp the
great movements of armies in battles and campaigns, they overlook the
horseshoe nail and, as the old poem says:

"For the want of the nail, the shoe was lost;
For the want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For the want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For the want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For the want of the battle, the kingdom was lost--

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