Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 303



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

Page 303

body in favor of woman suffrage, and talked at length with such leaders in the movement as Susan B. Anthony, Julia Ward Howe, Anna Howard Shaw, and Jane Addams.

All this time Bok had kept his own mind open. He was ready to have the magazine, for whose editorial policy he was responsible, advocate that side of the issue which seemed for the best interests of the American woman.

The arguments that a woman should not have a vote because she was a woman; that it would interfere with her work in the home; that it would make her more masculine; that it would take her out of her own home; that it was a blow at domesticity and an actual menace to the home life of America—these did not weight with him. There was only one question for him to settle: Was the ballot something which, in its demonstrated value or in its potentiality, would serve the best interests of American womanhood?

After all his investigations of both sides of the question, Bok decided upon a negative answer. He felt that American women were not ready to exercise the privilege intelligently and that their mental attitude was against it.

Forthwith he said so in his magazine. And the storm broke. The denunciations brought down upon him by his attitude toward woman’s clubs was as nothing compared to what was now let loose. The attacks were bitter. His arguments were ignored; and the suffragists evidently decided to concentrate their criticisms upon the youthful years of the editor. They regarded this as a most vulnerable point of attack, and reams of paper



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