Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 343



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

Page 343

decided in favor of the former. But so strong a public sentiment had been created against the whole business of patent medicines by this time that the jury gave a verdict of only sixteen thousand dollars, with costs, against the magazine.

Undaunted, Bok kept on. He now engaged Mark Sullivan, then a young lawyer in downtown New York, induced him to give up his practice, and bring his legal mind to bear upon the problem. It was the beginning of Sullivan’s subsequent journalistic career, and he justified Bok’s confidence in him. He exposed the testimonials to patent medicines from senators and congressmen then so widely published, showed how they were obtained by a journalist in Washington who made a business of it. He charged seventy-five dollars for a senator’s testimonial, forty dollars for that of a congressman, and accepted no contract for less than five thousand dollars.

Sullivan next exposed the disgraceful violation of the confidence of women by these nostrum vendors in selling their most confidential letters to any one who would buy them. Sullivan himself bought thousands of these letters and names, and then wrote about them in the magazine. One prominent firm indignantly denied the charge, asserting that whatever others might have done, their names were always held sacred. In answer to this declaration Sullivan published an advertisement of this righteous concern offering fifty thousand of their names for sale.

Bok had now kept up the fight for over two years, and the results were apparent on every hand. Reputable



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