Monthly Archives: December 2012

1922: Doctor Laura M. Wright

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:


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.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Medicine, Women

1922: Handicapped Elmer M. Shunk

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:


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.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Physical Handicap

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:


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!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Engineering

1922: Writer Nina Wilcox Putnam

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:



“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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Women, Writing

1922: Theater Producer Sam Harris

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:



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?”

Continue reading


Filed under Theater

1922: Writer Dr. Frank Crane

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:


(Some text above obliterated, perhaps by reflective tape.)

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.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Writing

1922: Cattleman Murdo Mackenzie


1) A man who needs a gun is no man
2) No effort is ever wasted, even if unpaid
3) Knowledge can be spent repeatedly, money just once
4) Circumstances can be better than any “life plan”
(For numbers two and four, also see: 1922: General Manager Edward M. Skinner)

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:



Do You Use Fair Play or “Gun Play” to Gain Your Ends?

In the heyday of Western “bad men” Murdo Mackenzie refused to carry a gun. The pistol toters killed themselves off; but Mackenzie, by straight thinking and fair dealing, lived to become one of the world’s cattle kings

by Neil M. Clark

The very name, Murdo Mackenzie, carries a hint of something interesting. No one needs to be told that the name comes from Scotland. It is as Scotch as the heather in the Highlands, where Murdo Mackenzie was born.

That was in 1850; and in the seventy-two years which have passed since that time Mackenzie has lived an extraordinary life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Business

1922: Child Prodigy Harold M. Finley

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:


How Do You Account for This Unusual Boy?

Harold M. Finley may not know as much as your boy, but he certainly knows a great deal for a little fellow of five. He is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Harry M. Finley, of McConnellsville, Ohio. His father is a lawyer. The boy is ready for all the fun that is going. He enjoys his little automobile, his tricycle, and his blocks. But when he uses his mind he is different. His fame has spread so far that Professor R. L. Morton, of the Ohio University, visited McConnellsville and subjected him to a series of tests, which were later put on record in the “Journal of Educational Research.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Children

1922: General Manager Edward M. Skinner

From a 1922 issue of The American Magazine:



Can You Size Folks Up As This Man Does?

Experiences and ideas of one of the shrewdest credit men in the United States

by Allen Sinsheimer

I was talking with Edward M. Skinner, of Chicago, who is recognized as one of the best credit men in the country — a man with a positive genius for sizing up the human beings with whom he comes in contact. And I had asked him how he could determine, in the course of a short conversation with a person, a stranger, whether or not that person was honest.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Business

1920: Engineer Charles Lee Cook

Two notes:

1) Writer B.C. Forbes is he who co-founded Forbes magazine.

2) I became interested in Cook because Forbes apparently did an entire book about him with the same title as this article.

From a 1920 issue of The American Magazine:



A Genius Who Never Walked a Step

The extraordinary story of Charles Lee Cook — a Louisville invalid, who, against great odds, has achieved wonders

by B. C. Forbes

A cripple who has never been able to walk a step in his life, and who was taken from school when seven years of age, recently refused a forty-thousand-dollar-a-year job.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Engineering, Physical Handicap