Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 64

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


Page 64

society called The Philomathean Society, made up of young men connected with Plymouth Church, of which Henry Ward Beecher was pastor. The debates took the form of a miniature congress, each member representing a State, and it is a curious coincidence that Edward drew, by lot, the representation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The members took these debates very seriously; no subject was too large for them to discuss. Edward became intensely interested in the society’s doings, and it was not long before he was elected president.

The society derived its revenue from the dues of its members and from an annual concert given under its auspices in Plymouth Church. When the time for the concert under Edward’s presidency came around, he decided that the occasion should be unique so as to insure a crowded house. He induced Mr. Beecher to preside; he got General Grant’s promise to come and speak; he secured the gratuitous services of Emma C. Thursby, Annie Louise Cary, Clara Louise Kellogg, and Evelyn Lyon Hegeman, all of the first rank of concert-singers of that day, with the result that the church could not accommodate the crowd which naturally was attracted by such a programme.

It now entered into the minds of the two young theatre-programme publishers to extend their publishing interests by issuing an “organ” for their society, and the first issue of The Philomathean Review duly appeared with Mr. Colver as its publisher and Edward Bok as editor. Edward had now an opportunity to try his wings in an editorial capacity. The periodical was,

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