Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 258



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

Page 258

It was an interesting experiment in photographic civics. The pity of it is that more has not been done along this and similar lines.

The time now came when Bok could demonstrate the willingness of his own publishing company to do what it could to elevate the public taste in art. With the increasing circulation of The Ladies’ Home Journal and of The Saturday Evening Post the business of the company had grown to such dimensions that in 1908 plans for a new building were started. For purposes of air and light the vicinity of Independence Square was selected. Mr. Curtis purchased an entire city block facing the square, and the present huge but beautiful publication building was conceived.

Bok strongly believed that good art should find a place in public buildings where large numbers of persons might find easy access to it. The proximity of the proposed new structure to historic Independence Hall and the adjacent buildings would make it a focal point for visitors from all parts of the country and the world. The opportunity presented itself to put good art, within the comprehension of a large public, into the new building, and Bok asked permission of Mr. Curtis to introduce a strong note of mural decoration. The idea commended itself to Mr. Curtis as adding an attraction to the building and a contribution to public art.

The great public dining-room, seating over seven hundred persons, on the top floor of the building, affording unusual lighting facilities, was first selected; and Maxfield Parrish was engaged to paint a series of seventeen panels to fill the large spaces between the windows and



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