Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 346



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

Page 346

magazine, of all magazines, to take up this subject would be like a bolt from the blue in tens of thousands of homes. But this very fact, the unquestioned position of the magazine, the remarkable respect which its readers had for it, and the confidence with which parents placed the periodical on their home tables—all this was, after all, Bok thought, the more reason why he should take up the matter and thresh it out. He consulted with friends, who advised against it; his editors were all opposed to the introduction of the unsavory subject into the magazine.

“But it isn’t unsavory,” argued Bok. “That is just it. We have made it so by making it mysterious, by surrounding it with silence, by making it a forbidden topic. It is the most beautiful story in life.”

Mr. Curtis, alone, encouraged his editor. Was he sure he was right? If he was, why not go ahead? Bok called his attention to the fact that a heavy loss in circulation was a foregone conclusion; he could calculate upon one hundred thousand subscribers, at least, stopping the magazine. “It is a question of right,” answered the publisher, “not of circulation.”

And so, in 1906, with the subject absolutely prohibited in every periodical and newspaper of standing, never discussed at a public gathering save at medical meetings, Bok published his first editorial.

The readers of his magazine fairly gasped; they were dumb with astonishment! The Ladies’ Home Journal, of all magazines, to discuss such a subject! When they had recovered from their astonishment, the parents began to write letters, and one morning Bok was confronted



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