Edward William Bok   [1863-1930]

Later Founder/Leader

Edward W. Bok was born in Den Helder, The Netherlands on October 9, 1863. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1870 when he was only six years old.

Edward had to quit school when he was in his early teens to help support his family which had encountered financial problems. In 1876, at age 13, he joined Western Union Telegraph as an office boy. This bump in his life did not deter him from continuing to develop himself intellectually. Edward was a born entrepreneur and writer and before the age of twenty he was publishing a magazine and writing nationally- syndicated articles for the press.

In 1889 when Edward was 26, he accepted an offer from Cyrus H. K. Curtiss to become the editor of the "Ladies Home Journal". With support of the parent organization, Curtiss Publishing, Edward Bok built the Journal into the world's most widely circulated magazine. The Journal provided industry leadership with such innovations as high-quality illustrations, different covers for each issue and marketing research.

The Journal under Bok's leadership provided guidance to its leadership in fashions, home design, etiquette, and ethics. It also criticized patent medicines, encouraged parental sex education for children, and advocated progressive educational reforms.

Bok remained as the Journal's General Editor and Publisher for thirty years until 1919 when he retired from the Journal. Following his retirement he wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning book: "The Americanization of Edward Bok: The Autobiography of a Dutch Boy Fifty Years After", published by Charles Scribner's and Sons in 1921, and republished by Bartleby.com in 2000.

Bok's Pulitzer prize-winning autobiography was not the only book he published. Earlier he had published "Successward" in 1890, "The Young Man and the Church" in 1896, "The Young Man in Business" in 1900, "Her Brother's Letter" in 1906, "The Edward Bok Books of Self-Knowledge", consisting of five volumes, in 1912, and "Why I Believe in Poverty" in 1915. He also wrote "Two Persons" in 1922, "A Man from Maine" in 1923, "Twice Thirty" in 1925, "Dollars Only" in 1926, "You, A Personal Message" in 1926, "America Give Me a Chance" in 1926, and "Perhaps I Am" in 1928.

Following his Journal retirement he also devoted considerable time to philanthropy. The major targets for his gifts were citizens who contributed in an extraordinary way to the citizens of the City of Philadelphia, his home base during his publishing years. These gifts included an annual $10,000 award to the major civic contributor to the Philadelphia community, plus other smaller awards. In 1923 he created the American Peace Award of $100,000 for the best plans to ensure world peace.

In 1929 President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the Bok Sanctuary in Lake Wales, Florida. The sanctuary was a gift by Bok to the American people. It is still a significant tourist attraction in Central Florida to this day, and it is a National Historic Landmark.

Edward Bok married Louise Curtiss in 1896. They had two sons, William Curtiss Bok [1897] and Carey William Bok [1905]. Bok died in Lake Wales, Florida in 1930 and is buried at the Tower on the Edward Bok Sanctuary in Lake Wales, Florida.

 

 

REFERENCES

The Americanization of Edward William Bok

 

E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON; GOOGLE: Kindle Store Pegels

 

PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC

EIGHT PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE ROOSEVELTS, VANDERBILTS AND OTHERS, 2015

FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015

PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015

 

DUTCH PEGELS INVOLVED IN WARS

ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017

FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015

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