Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 278



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

Page 278

the public-school system; a man’s relation to his church, and kindred topics.

The anonymity of the articles soon took on interest from the positiveness of the opinions discussed; but so thoroughly had Colonel Roosevelt covered his tracks that, although he wrote in his usual style, in not a single instance was his name connected with the department. Lyman Abbott was the favorite “guess” at first; then after various other public men had been suggested, the newspapers finally decided upon former President Eliot of Harvard University as the writer.

All this intensely interested and amused Colonel Roosevelt and he fairly itched with the desire to write a series of criticisms of his own articles to Doctor Eliot. Bok, however, persuaded the colonel not to spend more physical effort than he was already doing on the articles; for, in addition, he was notating answers on the numerous letters received, and those Bok answered “on behalf of the author.”

For a year, the department continued. During all that time the secret of the authorship was known to only one man, besides the colonel and Bok, and their respective wives!

When the colonel sent his last article in the series to Bok, he wrote:

  Now that the work is over, I wish most cordially to thank you, my dear fellow, for your unvarying courtesy and kindness. I have not been satisfied with my work. This is the first time I ever tried to write precisely to order, and I am not one of those gifted men who can do so to advantage. Generally I find that the 3,000 words is not the right length



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