The Contributors' Column
George W. Alger is a well-known New York attorney, with an insistent interest in public questions. Added emphasis is given to his paper by the fact that there is now pending in Congress a bill whose purpose is to enlarge the exemption from the AntiTrust laws of certain associations of fruit-growers and others by allowing them to combine to fix the prices of their products and, if deemed essential, to hold them from the market, “any law to the contrary notwithstanding.’ Everybody knows Agnes Repplier of Philadelphia. Charles M. Sheldon, of Topeka, Kansas, is editor-inchief of the Christian Herald. He will be remembered as the much-discussed author of In His Steps, who, as a sequel to the astonishing success of that vigorous tract, conducted a daily newspaper, the Topeka Capital, for one week, in strict conformity with the precepts of the New Testament. Howard Snyder went from Montana some years ago, to become a planter in a remote district of Mississippi. All that he says is born of deeply felt personal experience.
H. C. Porter is a newcomer to the Atlantic, whom we hereby recommend to employers everywhere as the perfect book-clerk. The Elderly Spinster will be remembered by readers of the Atlantic as the author of the unique and poignant ‘Tales of a Polygamous City, which we printed in 1917 and 1918. Richard Le Gallienne, a versatile writer, distinguished both in verse and in prose, is an Englishman long resident in New York. Arthur D. Little is a chemical engineer, whose professional work has been extraordinarily wide and varied. During the war he was in charge of certain special researches for the Signal Corps and Chemical Warfare Service.
Eugene S. Bagger, once a Hungarian, but for many years an American, is now foreign editor of the New York Tribune. The paper that stirred Mr. Bagger to this discussion appeared in the Atlantic for February, 1920. W. Carbys Zimmerman is a Chicago architect, of the firm of Zimmerman, Saxe and Zimmerman. He was State Architect of Illinois for a number of years. Julian Kilman, a writer new to the Atlantic, is connected with the Naturalization Service of the U.S. Department of Labor, at Buffalo, New York. Ralph Philip Boas, head of the English Department of the Central High School, Springfield, Massachusetts, was formerly connected with the English Department of Reed College, Oregon. From a letter written by President Coleman of the 4LL, we quote this pertinent paragraph.
We are, of course, suffering from the depression in the lumber industry. A good many camps and mills are shut down, and our locals, therefore, scattered. On the other hand, it is pretty certain that the cargo shipping mills will continue running through the winter, and that a fair amount of logging will be continued, to supply their needs. The 4ILL organization is holding wages and hours steadily, and is the only force that is doing so. Mills and camps outside of the 4LL have cut wages and have talked of return to ten-hour day. 4LL operators generally have further shown their loyalty by showing preference in this time of curtailment for American citizens and 4LL members. The result has been that, while we have lost in general membership, we have gained in numbers and confidence at the cargo shipping points. A few operators, who have given us halfhearted support in the past, have withdrawn their membership now; but in spite of much uneasiness as to the immediate future of the industry, the leading operators are standing firm with us.
As we go to press, the newspapers state that the Loyal Legion has reached a friendly adjustment of all questions of wages, hours, etc., to govern the relations of its members during the coming season.
Stanwood Cobb is Secretary of the Progressive Educational Association. John Finley, who has, between times, been teacher, writer, poet, professor, college president, and Commissioner of Education of the great State of New York, and has been all the time friend and counselor to thousands, perhaps to tens of thousands, of young men, now joins the management of the New York Times. Such a progression gives new emphasis to the old truth, that all sound journalism is educational, but that the public knows too much to go to school to a journalist who is not, in large measure, an educator. Grace E. Polk, as any reader might know, is a professional probation officer. She is attached to the Juvenile Court at Minneapolis. Francis Edward Clark founded the Society of Christian Endeavor in 1881, and since 1887 has devoted his life to Christian Endeavor work throughout the world, as President of the United Society of Christian Endeavor and of the World’s Christian Endeavor Union, and as editor of the Christian Endeavor World.
G. Lowes Dickinson, for many years a don at Cambridge, England, came into wide popular notice ten years and more ago, when he acknowledged the authorship of those letters of a Chinese official which presented so sardonic a commentary on Western Civilization. Subsequently, a series of books — among them The Greek View of Life and A Modern Symposium — revealed Mr. Dickinson as an artist in English prose. In more recent years, he has devoted his life to the cause of peace. To persons of every political and social faith the present paper should make its separate appeal as the desperate cry of the heart and mind of the Old World to the New, now inseparable through a common experience. Mary Van Kleeck is Director of the Division of Industrial Studies of the Russell Sage Foundation. To all interested persons we would recommend a careful perusal of Bulletin No. 12 of the Women’s Bureua of the U.S. Department of Labor. Hugh Black, a Scotsman by birth, has been Professor of Practical Theology at the Union Theological Seminary ever since he came to the United States in 1906. Albert T. Clay, an Oriental scholar, has been since 1910 Laffan Professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature at Yale. During the past year he has been serving as professor at the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem.
Edward Townsend Booth’s paper on ‘The Wild West,’ in the December number, published by us as the simple and vigorous reaction of an educated young Easterner to the rougher experiences of life, seems to have been taken as an economic or social treatise, and even as an attack upon a wellknown community in the State of Washington. Among the letters it has called forth, the following seems particularly worth printing as the analysis of a type.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
Deductions to be inferred from statements in Edward Townsend Booth’s ‘ The Wild West,’in the December Atlantic, appear to be that society is chiefly responsible for the radicalism and unrest of the ‘ working stiff.’ As an employer on a small scale, for six years, of agricultural workers in the West, I beg to disagree.
Let me give an illustration. I employed a ranch-hand at $100 a month and board for eight months of this year. He came to me penniless, explaining that he had left his former job because of its too easy accessibility to cards and moonshine whiskey, which had taken his earnings, and he wanted to save enough to lease a place for himself. He wore an eleven-dollar hat, twelve-dollar pair of shoes, and sixty-dollar suit. A few days later he told me to buy him a suit of underwear.
‘ Size forty-six! ’ exclaimed the merchant. ’Then it is not for you?’
‘ No, for the man who is working for me.’
‘ For Brown, is it? This grade won’t do for him; he wears good stuff.’
So the dollar-and-a-half grade, which was all that Brown’s employer felt he could afford to wear himself, went back on the shelves, and a twodollar-and-a-half grade came down, which was just what Brown wanted.
Brown could have saved ninety dollars a month without denying himself; but in November he had only $115 to show for his season’s work.
Except for the fact that he was exceedingly competent and never shirked, Brown had all the peculiarities of the ‘working stiff,’as I have known him. There was a note of pride in his voice as he iterated to me during the summer that he was a ‘working stiff’ and a ‘boomer,’and that three months was about as long as he could remain on a job without itching to roam. He had worked for me two months the previous summer, and knowing his statement to be true, I did my best to hold him. He had home-brew, to which he could help himself; I took him to town in the jitney every Saturday night and waited three or four hours until he was ready to return; if he wanted a day off, it was his for the asking, on pay.
Like most of the ‘ working stiffs,’he was moody. Five and six days at a stretch there was not a word out of him — just a snarl. Conversation between us during those periods was limited to outlining the day’s work. One day, while he was indulging in one of his cranky fits, we turned the pigs loose and drove to the stubble-field where there was considerable grain on the ground. I went to town that day, and in the evening Brown remarked, —
‘The pigs did n’t stay long in the stubble.'
It was the first civil word out of him in six days.
‘No?' I replied; and waited.
‘A pig reminds me of a “working stiff,”’ he
‘How’s that?’ I asked.
‘He’s never satisfied.’
I am inclined to believe there is more truth in Brown’s diagnosis of the matter with the ‘working stiff,’ than in Mr. Booth’s statement that his only hope of rehabilitation is in the I.W.W.
Brown contracted no worries and no responsibilities to draw one hundred dollars a month. He had an opportunity to save easily not less than one thousand dollars this year; I had the responsibility of a $12,000 investment, and my receipts for the season were $125 above expenditures. This is the working capital on which I must carry on my next year’s operations and support a family. Really, don’t you think, Mr. Editor, it is the farmer, and not the ‘working stiff’ whose plight is in need of rehabilitation? C. D. G.
As to other statements in Mr. Booth’s paper, we shall have more to say after digesting a mass of material now before us.
Respecting the flight of birds and its discussion in the Atlantic, Mr. Richard Williams sends us a very interesting cutting from the London Times.
At the scientific meeting of the Zoölogical Society on Tuesday evening Colonel Hankin, of the Indian Medical Service, described observations he had made on the flight of flying fishes and the soaring flight of vultures. He said that the two kinds of flight were much alike in their mechanical nature and in the rates of speed attained under different conditions of temperature and weather. He thought that the secret of soaring flight might be penetrated by observations of flying fish. Experiments made in France suggested that eddies formed under the wings were the cause of propulsion, but he admitted that the explanation was still unsatisfactory.
Mr. Handley-Page said that there was a close parallel between the development of the bird and the development of the aeroplane. In a primitive bird, like the fossil archæopteryx, the expanse of wing was relatively small and the tail enormous, the function of the tail being to secure stability. In early aeroplanes, also, the tail was relatively very large. The single curvature of the wings was such that, in the absence of a large tail, any tendency of the nose to rise or fall out of the horizontal position increased, unless it were corrected by the tail. In the more modern doublecurved aeroplane wings, and especially in those with flexible tips, the tendency was toward the automatic correction of deviations from stability, and the tail became less important. Nature had improved bird-models in the same way. But, as an aeronautical engineer, he believed that soaring flight was due to upward currents of warmer air, and that the birds had to flap, or to gain forward motion by descending, when they passed from one upward current area to another.
The papers on Zionism that the Atlantic has printed from time to time are greeted by outbursts of commendation and condemnation. Whether the Ayes or the Noes have it, is difficult for the chairman to tell; but he wishes to be fair, and has asked a well-equipped believer in the movement to comment briefly on Professor Clay’s vigorous paper. We print his reply herewith.
The editor of the Atlantic restricts my comment to three hundred words on Professor Clay’s paper of 6500 words.
I should like to remind Professor Clay that the reëstablishment of the Jewish home-land in Palestine was one of the few war-aims publicly proclaimed by the Allies. The promise of Great Britain, concurred in by the Entente and this country, was a public undertaking made during the war, and by England, France, and Italy written into the public law of the world, pursuant to such undertaking, and not, as Professor Clay suggests, ‘interpolated ’ at San Remo. I do not know what he means by ‘interpolated,’ but by the use of the word he suggests methods not direct and above-board. This suggestion reveals the bias of his mind on this subject. There is no space for the reasons of the Allied undertaking.
I am, therefore, compelled to refer the disinterested reader to Mr. Balfour’s justification of ‘political Zionism’ in his introduction to M. Sokolow’s History of Zionism.
Professor Clay deals with specific items of alleged British administration and Jewish conduct in Palestine. Obviously, the truth as to the issues which he raises calls for detailed discussion. This cannot be done in three hundred words. I can only say that Professor Clay’s exposition is marred by interpretations which, I believe, are unwarranted by the facts, and by omissions which seem to me vital, and is colored by beliefs which seem to me prejudiced.
For a comprehensive statement of the facts,
I beg to refer the reader to a noted Christian theologian, Professor William Worrell of the Hartford Theological Seminary, who was also on the post and had full opportunity for knowledge.
One large consideration the reader of Professor Clay’s paper should bear in mind: the whole Near East is in ferment, and whatever order there is rests on armed force — the whole Near East, that is, except Palestine, which has been a peaceful and progressing community ever since racial and religious mischief-makers were supplanted by the wise and just administration of Sir Herbert Samuel.
The poet’s mind is a territory we love dearly to explore. Let us pause for a moment, then, on this upland of the imagination.
Permit me to respectfully submit to you the enclosed essay in verse, under the title ‘NOT IN AVIATION LIES MAN’S SALVATION. I am well aware that the critics who put technique above ideas will declare these verses as lacking in the essentials of poetry-architecture, and I am willing to admit that with technique of architecture I have little to do. My thoughts come to me on waves of emotion; and as they emerge from the surging surf, they rush through the faculty of speech and appear ready clothed in forms of language, prose or verse, in accord with the mood of the moment. My main and first concern is, how high the plane of these thoughts? How pure the atmosphere they breathe? How deep the mainspring and how worthy the aim and object? If satisfactory in these respects, then I know them to be the children of my living soul, and that is justification enough for me to set them free and send them out into the world to stir the soul-life of Man....
Very respectfully, J. P.
In our youthful games we were always ‘it,’ and the habit it seems, is still strong upon us. Witness the following:—
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
It is so pleasant to know your appreciation of jokes on yourself that I am sending a companion story to your November anecdote of the lighthouse keeper.
We had been reading The Autocrat in class, and I had asked this question in a test: Name another occupation besides the production of literature, in which Holmes engaged.
Here is one answer: ‘Oliver Wendell Holmes produced literature, and also wrote for the Atlantic Monthly A SCHOOLMISTRESS.
Who knows a joke knows Sam Blythe. He knows Chicago, too, and has this to say.
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, Dec. 3, 1920. DEAR ATLANTIC, —
The little stories in the Atlantic about the culture of Boston are interesting — and familiar. Let me cite you Chicago, the real home of Culture.
It came off very hot during the last days of the Republican National Convention in June. A friend and I set out to buy straw hats. We found nothing suitable at two or three hat-places we visited, and asked a mounted policeman, who was sitting with great dignity on his horse at the corner of Madison and State Streets, if he could direct us to a hat-shop.
' Right up the street half a block is a very good one,’ the policeman said. ' Ask for Mr. Ibsen, and he will take care of you. Remember the name — Ibsen — same as that of the great writer.'
Mr. Ibsen took care of us; and I submit that, for culture, Boston has nothing on Chicago.
Faithfully, SAMUEL G. BLYTHE.
Occasionally Boston must cease to talk about itself. The chapter of the humor that circles round the Hub must end with the following anecdote.
In the Boston Girls’ Latin School a class in Greek History was reciting about the cultured tone of general society in Periclean Athens. There were thirty girls in the class, all preparing for college, and the average was sixteen.
lege, average _ ‘ What city is called “ the Athens of America”?’ the teacher asked. Nobody knew! What did the teacher say? She said, ‘Girls, girls, girls!’
M. U. L.
The capable head of our circulation department reports that the rate of Atlantic progress in Texas promises widespread and intimate association with that imperial state. This is good news for the Atlantic; we hope it is not bad for Texas. One correspondent sends this suggestive note from San Antonio as we go to press.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, December 24, 1920. GENTLEMEN, —
The article ‘What is the Reason?' in your January number seems to me to indicate nothing more than would a gust of wind swirling around the corner. A quite sufficient answer is the flood of emigration threatening us from Europe.
The seventeen instanced by Mr. S. Miles Bouton have been in the United States long enough to have experienced its awakening from the awkward, overgrown schoolboy stage of its existence; and if they run away from its ‘growing pains,’they will, in all probability, run into worse economic and political conditions in Europe and wish they were back in the good old U.S.A.
We cannot hope, and should not desire, to hold all those that may come to our shores. Those that go back after having been with us so long will be able to explain, with understanding, the happenings in the U.S., to their neighbors and friends, and will cement, and increase, the goodwill of the nations.
Mr. Bouton points out the need for a better understanding of our foreign-born and nativeborn of foreign parents, and with this I agree fully. Very truly yours, A. J. P.
But to our thinking that is not all. Distinctively American opinion is insular, we think, rather than continental; and therein a vast difference lies.
With this issue the editor welcomes thirteen new contributors to the Atlantic a lucky number, he hopes.