1903: Dr. Chauncey B. Forward

Here is the incredible story of a guy who could not settle down to one thing and simply focus.

From a 1903 issue of Successful American:

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1922: Grocer David Pender

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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What I Learned In a Tarboro Grocery

Keep away from the easy job — when the choice is yours, pick a hard one

by David Pender
President, The D. Pender Grocery Company and The Pender-Dillworth Company, Inc.

Every time I go by a little store on a little side street I wonder if the man behind the counter is properly discontented with his job.

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1922: Editor W. O. Saunders

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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The Autobiography Of A Crank

by W. O. Saunders

I guess I was predestined to be a crank. My father was a Hard-shell Baptist, my mother a Southern Methodist, and I a robust, mischievous, enthusiastic, ambitious American boy, born and raised in a poor little antique Southern town, where three churches struggled to prepare everybody to live a life hereafter and one little two-teacher school half-heartedly taught a few children to read, write and figure their own way through this life.

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1922: Poet Edgar A. Guest

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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What I Owe the Other Fellow

There is no such thing as a self-made man. No one achieves anything by his own efforts alone; all along the way are countless others who contribute to his progress, who help him to reach his goal

by Edgar A. Guest

All my life I have heard about the self-made man. He has been written up in all the leading publications of the world. He has frequently written of himself — not always from a spirit of pride, but often from a desire to inspire others even at the sacrifice of his own modesty.

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1922: Doctor Laura M. Wright

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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At Eighty-two She Manages a Plumbing Shop

Mrs. Laura M. Wright, of Belvidere, New Jersey, celebrated her eighty-second birthday by doing her usual work, which, as manager of a plumbing shop, consisted in taking calls over the telephone, seeing that the plumbers’ assistants left on time and arrived on time for their appointments, meeting customers and supplying their demands. Incidentally, she walked a mile to work in the morning, and walked a mile home at night. “I never,” she said, “miss my mile of oxygen.”

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1922: Handicapped Elmer M. Shunk

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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Loss of Hands Was His Goad to Ambition

In a doorway fronting on Market Street, San Francisco, a crowd pressed close about a young man busily writing cards. Displayed on the table were examples of the writer’s penmanship, exhibiting the ornate flourishes of the professional penman.

A hobo of about thirty, watching the performance with unfeigned surprise and admiration, exclaimed, “Say, young feller, if you can make a living without hands, I reckon I ain’t got no call to be a hobo.”

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1922: Businessman Sylvanus F. Bowser

Note: Here is a man anyone would have thought an unfortunate soul with no hope and no chance — yet he succeeded despite everything.

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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A Story That Makes You Take a New Grip on Yourself

If Sylvanus Bowser, with less than four months of schooling in his whole life, and with sickness, poverty, and hardship to contend with, could build up a business which girdles the earth, what decent excuse can the rest of us give for failure?

by John Kidder Rhodes

The teacher of a little country Sunday-school in Indiana, in the early sixties, offered a Bible as a prize for the pupil who was able to commit to memory the largest number of verses from the Scriptures within a given time. One of the pupils was a thirteen-year-old boy, timid and awkward, who lived with his parents in the neighborhood.

He never had been to school. . . . He did not know how to read. . . . He knew only the letters of the alphabet. . . . But he determined to win that Bible!

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1922: Writer Nina Wilcox Putnam

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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“Why I Have Got So Far So Good”

All kidding to one side, the reason I got things at first was because I had to, or the grocer would have marked our family off his list. Later I got them because I wanted them so bad that a lady such as myself can’t say it and keep polite. And finally — but you’ll have to read to the end of this piece to find that out, because I ain’t got the nerve to put it here at the top

by Nina Wilcox Putnam

Over to the West Side Ladies’ Wednesday Club on West Main Street, New York City, the other afternoon, which I had went to it on account of being and with the further knowledge at I would not only be encouraged to talk about myself when I got there, but that the Pres. would slip me a unobtrusive envelope for same at the blow-off — well, over to this club I got asked a question which comes to every author at least once in their life.

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1922: Theater Producer Sam Harris

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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How a Messenger Boy Became a Big Theatrical Producer

The interesting career of Sam Harris, who as a youngster sampled several kinds of jobs, but slowly and surely found his way to the realization of his main ambition

by Mary B. Mullett

At least half a dozen persons, in talking to me about Sam Harris, have said something like this: “Tell you what you ought to do: you ought to call his story ‘A Tale of Three T’s’ — Telegrams, Towels, and Theatres. You see, he was a telegraph boy and he was in the towel supply business; and now he is one of the best theatrical producers in the country. So there you have him; literally ‘to a T.’ Pretty good, eh?”

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1922: Writer Dr. Frank Crane

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:

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Personal — And Indiscreet

The story of my travel on the Long Road of Life, from my boyhood ambitions, through the experiments of young manhood, on to the time when I could call myself “The Happiest Man I Know”

by Dr. Frank Crane

This article is going to look egotistic, because it will be about myself. But that is not my fault. I did not write this piece and offer it to The American Magazine. It was ordered by the Editor.

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