Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 207



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

Page 207

  If you wish to print anything print this letter; it may have some value, for it may explain to a reader here and there why it is that in interviews as a rule men seem to talk like anybody but themselves.
Sincerely yours,


The Harpers had asked Bok to write a book descriptive of his autograph-letter collection, and he had consented. The propitious moment, however, never came in his busy life. One day he mentioned the fact to Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes and the poet said: “Let me write the introduction for it.” Bok, of course, eagerly accepted, and within a few days he received the following, which, with the book, never reached publication:

How many autograph writers have had occasion to say with the Scotch trespasser climbing his neighbor’s wall, when asked where he was going

Bok again!

  Edward Bok has persevered like the widow in scripture, and the most obdurate subjects of his quest have found it for their interest to give in, lest by his continual coming he should weary them. We forgive him; almost admire him for his pertinacity; only let him have no imitators. The tax he has levied must not be imposed a second time.
  An autograph of a distinguished personage means more to an imaginative person than a prosaic looker-on dreams of. Along these lines ran the consciousness and the guiding will of Napoleon, or Washington, of Milton or Goethe. His breath warmed the sheet of paper which you have before you. The microscope will show you the trail of flattened particles left by the tesselated epidermis of his hand as it swept along the manuscript. Nay, if we had but the right developing fluid



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