Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 129

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 129

was a Scribner table in a neighboring restaurant, and evenings saw the Scribner department heads mingling as friends. It was a group of young men who understood and liked each other, with the natural result that business went easier and better because of it.

But Bok did not have much time for evening enjoyment, since his outside interests had grown and prospered and they kept him busy. His syndicate was regularly supplying over a hundred newspapers: his literary letter had become an established feature in thirty different newspapers.

Of course, his opportunities for making this letter interesting were unusual. Owing to his Scribner connection, however, he had taken his name from the letter and signed that of his brother. He had, also, constantly to discriminate between the information that he could publish without violation of confidence and that which he felt he was not at liberty to print. This gave him excellent experience; for the most vital of all essentials in the journalist is the ability unerringly to decide what to print and what to regard as confidential.

Of course, the best things that came to him he could not print. Whenever there was a question, he gave the benefit of the doubt to the confidential relation in which his position placed him with authors; and his Dutch caution, although it deprived him of many a toothsome morsel for his letter, soon became known to his confrères, and was a large asset when, as an editor, he had to follow the golden rule of editorship that teaches one to keep the ears open but the mouth shut.

This Alpha and Omega of all the commandments in

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