ROLLINS COLLEGE BULLETIN
SELECTED FACULTY PAPERS
EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON
JESSIE B. RITTENHOUSE
BAROQUE: A SECOND BLOOMING
/THE MAN WHO TAUGHT THE WORLD TO READ
EDWIN OSGOOD GROVER
HUMAN ENGINEERING AND ORGANIZED
Winter Park, Florida
ROLLINS COLLEGE BULLETIN
Vol. xxxvi JUNE, 1941 No. 4
Issued Quarterly; Admitted as Second-class Matter at Winter Park,
Florida, Post Office, under Act of Congress of July, 1894.
As editor of the College Bulletin I have long
cherished the hope that we might at intervals devote
an issue of the Bulletin to original papers written
by members of the College faculty. This year the
opportunity presents itself.
Because of limitations of budget, not all of the
papers offered could be published. Therefore, the
committee on selection, composed of Dr. Fred Lewis
Pattee, chairman, Dean E. C. Nance, and Dr. R. M.
Smith, has carefully read all contributions and
chosen four as the most suitable for publication
at this time.
It is hoped that this issue of the Bulletin will
find interested readers.
w. S. A.
EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON
By JESSIE B. RITTENHOUSE
Conference Leader and Consultant in the
Art of Poetry Writing
WHENEVER I think of Edwin Arlington Robinson it is of a
man of gravity, and yet humor was his prevailing char-
acteristic. .It was humor, however, with a difference. It
was never the wisecracking variety, the story-telling sort. You do
not remember Robinson's laughter, you remember his smile. His
humor was of the subtle type, the humor of tenderness, tolerance and
One cannot imagine Robinson caricaturing anything, depicting
its absurdities, except as he depicts those of Miniver Cheevy, with
a tolerant smile. The paradox of Robinson was that he lived vicari-
ously, his own life moved within a limited range, yet he was
always extending it dramatically. Only human beings interested
him; ideas, abstractions lacked meaning until they were embodied
in a life. How did they animate a human being, how did they impel
him? This was the significant thing.
No one can read the sonnet, On the Night of a Friend's Wedding,
and not get something of an insight into Robinson's heart in his
If ever I am old and all alone
I shall have killed one grief, at any rate;
For then, thank God, I shall not have to wait
Much longer for the sheaves that I have sown.
The devil only knows what I have done,
But here I am, and here are six or eight
Good friends, who most ingenuously prate
About my songs, to such and such a one.
But everything is all askew tonight, -
As if the time were come, or almost come,
For their untenanted mirage of me
To lose itself and crumble out of sight,
Like a tall ship that floats above the foam
A little while, and then breaks utterly.
The poem is all by way of implication, but who can mistake it,
can fail to hear the unspoken words? His friends may prate about
his gifts, his art but life? Ah, that is a different matter. Others
may link their personal lives to Life in the universal sense, to Love,
while he is giving his to the immense loneliness of Art. For no one
who knew Robinson can doubt that he was a lonely soul. To me,
he always seemed to live fathoms deep within himself, however fond
he was of the few friends whom he took unreservedly into his life.
He had several men friends who were very close to him and with
whom he had genuine comradeship, but people in general did not
touch his life and there were few women who could feel themselves
wholly at ease with him.
Few are familiar with the inner history of any life. Robinson's
most intimate friends may know of some early association, some
thwarted romance of his youth, which accounted for his rather
solitary years as most of us knew him, but his financial struggle
in his youth and the fact of his deafness would seem sufficient
reason for his life shaping itself as it did. It is certain that in his
later work he dwelt upon marriage, the psychology of the sexes,
the tragedy of human relationships as they affected men and women.
His mind ran upon these questions almost like an obsession, most of
his later narratives turning upon these themes; whereas in his earlier
work he created a gallery of men, single portraits, types who
stand out sharply and far more finely drawn than those in the
later narratives. Robinson was a man's poet, he understood men and
by no means always did he understand women. He could not depict
as faithfully those phases of life which he had not experienced and
much of his later work will fall away.
It is worth noting that when he gives us the finest analysis
of the mind of a man in relation to some woman who has been in his
life, the woman is already dead. The psychological reaction is
shown, as in Cavender's House or The Glory of the Nightingales.
I have always felt the last-named book to be one of Robinson's
noblest and subtlest. In that tremendous study of hate and its
recoil, Avon's Harvest, one hears the feet of Avon's wife passing
back and forth outside the closed door. This has always seemed
to me a symbol of the relation of Robinson to women they are
off-stage in his life and his art. In their effect upon men they
come alive but seldom in themselves.
Robinson's deafness, isolating him and turning him back upon
himself, was a very real thing and one that I have not heard men-
tioned as a factor in his life. He was very sensitive about it and it
was sufficient in groups to shut him out from the general conversa-
tion. In this way he lost the familiar touch-and-go of little gath-
erings, congenial friends drawn together upon informal occasions.
He was often in these groups or perhaps one should say occasionally
in them, but he much preferred the two or three with whom he could
To the "Poets' Parties" which I gave for several years just
prior to the annual dinner of the Poetry Society of America,
Robinson would rarely come because he said it was of no use, since
he could not enter into the spirit of the occasion. However, when
he did come he would ask me in advance to let him sit upon a couch
with some one whom he knew well, such as Mrs. Markham, Anna
Hempstead Branch, or the MacKayes, people with whom he could
converse readily. It is certain that the fact of his deafness had
much to do with the character of his work, turning his mind into
more subjective channels than it might have turned had he himself
had a more outgoing life. While he was by nature the psychologist,
the analyst of human motive and behavior, the subjective character
of his work was, I think, intensified in him by the wall which his
deafness created around him.
He was happier and more at ease at the MacDowell Colony
than at any other place where I ever saw him. I was never a mem-
ber of the Colony but spent several weeks there one summer at the
guest house down on the little wildly-flowing river, the Nubanusett,
and was almost daily up at the Colony proper.
Robinson's studio was far and away the most beautifully located
cabin in the Colony, although all, in the great tract of virgin forest,
are magical in their setting. The studio which Robinson occupied,
and which must have seemed more like home to him than any
that he knew in New York, was of stone and stood at the edge
of a slope looking away through the pine woods to Monadnock. The
trees had been so trimmed as to frame the mountain and exclude
everything else. They seemed to converge in the effect of a funnel
with the mountain as the final vista. I never saw quite such an effect
unless it be where one looks through the gate of the Little Garden
of the Knights of Malta and sees the dome of St. Peter's in the
I was so thrilled by the sight that I dashed off a rhymed
picture of it and gave it to Robinson that night at dinner. It is
nothing as poetry but, since it sets the picture, I will give it:
When I saw Monadnock
From your study door,
Shining in a silver mist
Pine trees focussing
Just this sight -
Then I had a moment of pure delight!
I have seen the Jungfrau
Hooded in her snows
And seen Mont Blanc at sunset
Crimson as a rose,
But such a keen and sudden thrill
I never felt before
As when I saw Monadnock
From your study door.
Robinson always kept his table at the Colony, though others
changed weekly so that fellowship might be stimulated. It was
a great privilege to sit at Robinson's table. I was there only as
a guest, but I had the pleasure of sitting by Robinson several times
in this informal way and saw him thus at his best and in what
most nearly constituted to him a family relation. It was here that
his humor showed itself and his innate comradeship. He was en-
tirely one of the group with none of that isolation which shut him
out in larger gatherings.
On Sunday nights it was the custom of the Colony to take
supper with Mrs. MacDowell upon the porch of her home. These
were delightfully informal occasions and Robinson entered into
them in the same spirit as the others. Much of his important work
was written at the Colony and the little studio will become a
shrine to Robinson lovers.
Robinson was almost the only poet in America who made of poetry
a vocation, rather than an avocation. From the time he left the custom
house in New York until his death he devoted himself entirely to
the writing of poetry, and in those earlier years he went through
the same crucifixion that all writers without private income must
endure until their work is established. When I first knew Robinson
he was still in the custom house and was living at the Judson on
Washington Square with his friends, Wm. Vaughn Moody and
Certainly three more gifted men would rarely be found under
one roof. Moody was then writing The Great Divide and Torrence
was writing the beautiful poetry of his youth and working upon
drama. It was not long after Theodore Roosevelt, as President,
had declared in the Outlook that a new genius had arisen in the
person of Robinson, and Robinson had walked the floor exclaiming,
"I shall never live it down! I shall never live it down!"
This incident was told to me at the time by one of his friends
who was present, and is authentic. Robinson feared that he would
become a nine days' wonder, would be exploited, and that the
orderly and slow course of his work would be hindered. He had
the artist's spirit, the long-range view, he knew how much growth
was yet before him. He knew that nothing would be more serious
than to have it interfered with by exploitation, by anticipation of
results still far in the future.
He did accept at the hands of Roosevelt the position of in-
spector in the custom house and held it for some time, in fact until
the government required inspectors to don uniforms. Then Robinson
resigned; he could not submit to outward labels and insignia. This
alone is as characteristic as anything connected with Robinson's
career. He had no other means of support and no warrant of the
future. His books were not yet profitable. Indeed, until after the
publication of Tristram he never had an adequate living from his
work, and after leaving the custom house he entered upon one of
the dark periods of his life, financially speaking, living, if I
remember correctly, in a very limited way down on Tenth Street.
None of his more important books had yet been published, and
his reputation still rested largely upon the Scribner reprint of
Children of the Night and upon Captain Craig. The Town Down
the River not one of his best books did not appear until 1910,
and The Man Against the Sky, which was to place him among the
finest poets of his generation, was to await the year 1916. Yet I
have often wondered if the little incident of the uniforms was not
a heaven-sent one, as far as Robinson was concerned, as it would
have been impossible for him to do the work of the next few years
had he been obliged to divide his time between his own desk and
that of the custom house.
In the way of personal friendship Robinson became intimate
with the Roosevelt family and was of course grateful to the President
for his appreciation, however much he feared it as a spectacular
thing. I remember very well in later years, when Corinne Roose-
velt Robinson, who was a great favorite with the poets of New
York, used to have teas at her house, which Colonel Roosevelt, then
ex-President, would attend, seeing Robinson in happy conversa-
tion with the Colonel. Did he not also write a poem upon Theodore
Roosevelt at the time of his death? As a matter of fact, this rec-
ognition of his early work by a President of the United States
was almost the only dramatic event in Robinson's life. There may
have been many of which the world knew nothing, but this was
the only one which was outwardly dramatic.
I would place next to it, as something that came to him when
he had matured his gift and was ready to accept the world's
plaudits, the reception that was given, not only voluntarily, to
Tristram, but staged in advance by his friends that such a reception
might not miscarry. Robinson had long been recognized as one
of the most important poets of his time but his books had purely
an artistic success, they went over the heads of the average reader
and still belonged to the choice few.
With Tristram, from its subject and from the fact that it was
the most human and moving of Robinson's books, there was hope
of winning the larger audience that the poet needed and a group
of his friends deliberately staged a reception for it. Simultaneous
reviews of the book appeared in the leading papers and periodicals,
written by close friends of Robinson such as Carl Van Doren, Ben
Ray Redmond and others, and immediately after their appearance
a public reading of Tristram was given at the Booth Theatre by
Beatrice Forbes Robertson, with a large and representative audience
in attendance. Following the reading, tea was served in the parlors
of the Booth, and Robinson was present. This was a great concession
on his part. He had not attended the reading but he came to the tea
so as not to disappoint those who had taken such an interest in
his work. The feat was accomplished. By calling attention to the
book in this intensive way, it became at once of public moment, of
popular appeal. The newly organized Literary Guild made Tristram
its current choice and this gave it a large initial sale. Robinson told
a close friend at the time that up to the publication of Tristram he had
never made more than five hundred dollars from any individual
book and that he had then, only a few months after its publication,
made five thousand from Tristram. There followed the Pulitzer Prize
which, although Robinson had twice previously received it, had not
created a general public for his work. It was Tristram which did this
for him. Henceforth he was assured of a good sale for whatever he
might publish. He wrote too much and his later work weakened,
or rather one should say that his latest work weakened, as several
of his representative volumes followed Tristram; but he had had a
long period of writing since 1896 when he published at his own
expense the little pamphlet, The Torrent and the Night Before,
now a collector's item.
When the Poetry Society of America was being organized in
1909, fifty poets, those regarded as the most important at that time,
were asked to be charter members. Robinson was the only one of
the fifty who refused, and as I was secretary I remember his letter
which said that, to his idea, poetry was a solitary art and he did
not believe in organization connected with it. "A solitary art", this
surely it was to Robinson, a lifelong dedication taking the place of
wife, child, home, and largely of outward contact. I have always
felt that the unutterable pathos of Mr. Flood's Party came from a
deep fibre in Robinson himself. I am glad that he did not live to know
the loneliness of age, the further isolation which time brings to
BAROQUE: A SECOND BLOOMING
By VIRGINIA ROBIE
Associate Professor of Art
AROQUE was a link between the Classic and the Romantic,
a bridge between sixteenth century Italian and eighteenth
century French, the prologue of Rococo and the epilogue of
Renaissance. It was architecturally serious and ornamentally friv-
olous, fantastic in detail and monumental in structure.
Several years ago in this country there was a brief flash of
Baroque soon to be submerged in Swedish Modern, but the great
seventeenth century style had merely withdrawn for the moment
from the public eye. Interior decorators kept it well in mind. Now,
chastened and subdued and remoulded to suit present-day conditions,
it is having a second blooming.
The psychology back of the Baroque flare of 1937 was amusing,
but not inconsistent. It was a perfectly natural reaction to the long
dominance of the tailored line in house furnishing. It was cake and
jam after prolonged whole wheat; light opera after Bach. The wonder
is that Baroque had gone so long undiscovered. It needed something
as austere as Modern to make its entrance possible. In its literal
interpretation, however, it could not stay, for it is unrelated to
twentieth century living and even more to twentieth century thinking.
It needs grandeur in dress and manners. It needs colossal figures
in arts and letters and politics. It needs space and leisure, and
the knowledge to use leisure. It has no kinship with streamlined
cars, planes and present-day clothes.
The 1941 version of a long-neglected style bears watching. It
differs from the seventeenth century original as does today's
Victorian from the nineteenth century edition. It is an adroit min-
gling of old and new, of curve and straight line, of Baroque grace
and Modern severity.
Visitors fortunate enough to see Perylon Hall, the Terrace Club
and the Club of the National Advisory Committee of the New York
Fair will remember how skillful was the merging of Baroque
detail with Modern structure. Here was ably shown what could be
done with Baroque guided by judgment and skill. Imagination
should be added and taste underscored. Perhaps in no other period
style is the latter so necessary. In no other style is there such a
wealth of ornament. Training is necessary no one will deny it -
but training alone never made a great interior decorator.
The Fair proved a wonderful opportunity for the related crafts.
It came at a time when new uses were being made of metals, woods,
fabrics and leathers, when new color combinations were being tried
out and when the functional note, although strongly emphasized,
seemed more flexible, more graceful; perhaps merely more human.
Interesting comparisons were afforded by the private rooms of
this Fair with those of a Century of Progress. The Trustees' Lounge
and the Century Club represented the last word in the decorative
arts of 1933. Watson and Boaler, of Chicago, chose sophisticated
Modern for the exclusive Century Club. Several artists worked on
the big Trustees' Lounge with its lobby done in jade green, black
and silver, its red lacquer staircase and its dramatic second floor
enlivened with murals of the old World's Fair with special emphasis
on the costumes of the gay nineties. There was not a hint of Baroque
anywhere. It was apparently buried in the past.
So many people combined to make "The World of Tomorrow"
a great object lesson in beauty that individual mention is almost
impossible. Among decorators whose interiors added charm and color
and, in several instances, distinction, may be mentioned Miriam
Miner Wolff, Walter Dorwin Teague, Virginia Connor, James
Amster, Hortense Reit, Margaret McElroy, Josephine Link working
in the beautiful Florida Building, and hosts of others.
Peter Paul Rubens was an outstanding figure of seventeenth
century Baroque, but it is a mistake to call him the father of the
movement. When Rubens built his famous house in Antwerp,
Baroque had long been in the making. It took root in Italy with
the waning influence of those great families who had created
standards of taste. With the decline in power of the Medici family
of Florence, the Sforza of Milan, the Farnese of Rome and the
Gonzaga of Mantua, the decorative arts deteriorated. Fine art was
dying, for many of the Renaissance masters had passed away, and
industrial art, more dependent on patronage, became a weak imita-
tion of former things. The flame had burnt out. Individual designers,
freed from restraint and without the traditions of the old guilds,
sought expression in new forms. It was the old story of the pendulum,
and with the vigor of a robust age it swung long and far. It touched
France, Spain and England, Germany and the Low Countries, giving
and taking in the process. Flanders with its close political connection
with Spain had its own interpretation. Protestant Holland never
responded as did her Catholic neighbors. As you study Dutch in-
teriors as painted by the "little masters", note the reserve of walls
Catholicism played an important part in the history of the style.
To combat the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Knox, with their ban
on beauty, the church gave vast commissions to local and foreign
artists. Chapels and shrines richly ornamented after the taste of
the hour may be studied today in Flanders, Spain and Italy.
England toward the end of the seventeenth century sponsored
Holland, and with the marriage of Dutch William and Jacobean
Mary the tie strengthened. There is little true Baroque in the
furniture of the joint reign of these sovereigns, unless the huge
cupboards may be thus classed, but it is a quiet expression robbed
of both exuberance and charm.
Charles II was the real exponent of the style on English soil, just
as was Louis XIV in France. Charles was Baroque even to wigs.
Having spent most of his exile at the court of Louis he sought to create
a miniature Versailles on return to his own country. After the
severity of Oliver Cromwell and the Protectorate, England was in
a mood for the suave and graceful in decoration, as in manners.
It was the swinging of the pendulum again, but mild and brief in
comparison with that of France and Flanders. While it lasted gardens
bloomed on the principles laid down by La Notre, architecture de-
veloped on lines advocated by Mansard, and furniture grew florid-
and comfortable. With the coming of William and Mary a much-
needed simplicity filtered into handicraft. True Baroque for England
was over. Not so across the channel where Flanders and France had
more than come into their own. The traditions of Rubens lingered
long after his death, extending far beyond his canvases. Not many
of the world's great painters have been so fortunate. Peter Paul
was of Flemish descent and long Italian residence, a wonderful
combination for a man of gifts, good looks and ample fortune. When
he returned to Antwerp full of honors he was well equipped
to play the role of court painter to any monarch. His house, completed
about 1620, followed the Genoa type of Baroque, less florid than the
Venetian, but sufficiently grandiose to mark a new era in the
architecture of the city. Interiors embellished by pillars and pilasters,
heavily carved in shells, scrolls and cherubs, made a consistent
setting for massive furniture of similar design. It was an age of
curves and flowing lines, of ornament piled on ornament, saved
from the grotesque by perfection of detail, glorious color and sound
craftsmanship. As in all monumental styles, the costumes of the day
closely followed. From the looms of Lyons, Ghent and Genoa came
rich dress fabrics matching in beauty the decorative textiles.
With Louis XIV Baroque became a great style, controlled and
vitalized, the finest expression of the trend; cold, formal, sometimes
oppressively magnificent, but never vulgar. Rococo was a protest
against Baroque, a demand for decoration and furniture smaller
in scale, less formal, more intimate, luxurious rather than gran-
In Germany, Baroque developed on sculptural lines. Carved
figures almost three-dimensional upheld the huge pediments of
ponderous cabinets and cupboards. Nymphs, caryatids and mermaids,
nearly free standing, showed marvelous technique and even greater
imagination. Today they may be seen in the museums of Germany
defying the centuries. Spain went a step farther, combining Italian
color with German elaboration, and adding a third element derived
from the Moors. Spain contributed the word baroco, a pearl of
Venetian Baroque provided the highlight of the movement. Color-
ful as a sunset on the Grand Canal, it contained many phases common
to the general trend with something added peculiarly its own.
As with earlier styles, Venice proclaimed her commercial supremacy
with the Near East. She conveyed the fact in some intangible way
that she was still mistress of the seas. There was more than a touch
of Oriental opulence in the blending of rare woods, intricate metal
work and sumptuous brocades. Add to this foundation the gorgeous
costumes, and seventeenth century splendor is visualized. Doors
in the Venetian house were sculptured frames in which every motif
of the late Renaissance took on new life. When combined with Black-
amoors and Grecian goddesses ornament could hardly go farther.
Undoubtedly the Italians handled the free standing figure with
distinction, particularly the Blackamoor, Ethiopian or Abyssinian,
as variously called. With the lottery attendant on the revival of any
great style, it was the picturesque Blackamoor our decorators
offered several years ago as the piece de resistance. This would have
greatly entertained the old designers who sometimes lost their sense
of proportion but seldom their sense of humor. It was an over-
developed sense of humor, possibly, the quest for the "amusing",
that led to the Blackamoor ad lib. He has had his day and no one
will begrudge it, but no one will call him back.
Baroque as now developed will never be oppressively "period".
The room with every last detail carefully tuned to one definite style
has apparently faded into the background. Modern ideas of comfort
have dealt it a hard blow. Many of the old-time period rooms were
wonderfully attractive empty. As models they were successes; as
working backgrounds for everyday living, failures. Here, of course,
is where talent ends and genius begins making the period room
live. Perhaps even greater genius lies in combining a style as
remote as Baroque with the household gods of today; in making
the seventeenth century take on new meaning and charm in a
twentieth century house.
THE MAN WHO TAUGHT THE WORLD TO READ
By EDWIN OSGOOD GROVER
Professor of Books
ROBABLY the most tragic chapter in the romance of the book
is that dealing with the life of John Gutenberg, the man who
taught the world to read.
Nowhere is there a piece of paper bearing John Gutenberg's
name as printer, and for four hundred years after his death, or
until Von de Linde's first critical research in 1878, people were
not sure that it was he who gave the world the great gift of movable
type. Even today we award him the honor because of indirect rather
than of direct evidence. Some one has said of Gutenberg: "There
is no other instance in modern history, excepting possibly Shake-
speare, of a man who did so much, and said so little about it".
In his Outline of History we find H. G. Wells scolding antiquity
for not discovering movable type long before the day of John Gu-
tenberg. He complains particularly of the famous group of scholars
who built up the Alexandrian Library in Egypt. The reason for the
slight influence of this great collection of seven hundred thousand
books lay in the fact that these old scholars merely collected and
recorded the wisdom of the past. They failed to disseminate it. It
was only by making a pilgrimage to Alexandria that a scholar
could benefit by this vast storehouse of wisdom.
As a matter of fact, the attitude of the Egyptian scholars, as well
as those of the later monastic period, was that of monopoly, or
scholarly exclusiveness, which sought to confine rather than to
disseminate knowledge. It was the art of printing that heralded the
advent of the growing power of the common people through the
diffusion of printed books, first in Latin, the language of the priests
and a small group of scholars, and then in the vernacular of the
various countries. "Public opinion" was born with the printing press.
Not until John Gutenberg had done what H. G. Wells lightly
calls an "obvious thing", in the invention of movable types, did
learning and the spirit of inquiry escape from its prison house of
exclusiveness. To Gutenberg undoubtedly belongs the honor of
"giving freedom to thought and wings to words".
John Gutenberg was born in the prosperous city of Mayence,
or Mainz as the Germans spell it, probably in 1399. At that time
Mayence was one of the most important of the so-called Free Cities,
the seat of an Archbishop, with a population of nearly one hundred
The name of Gutenberg's father was Friele Gaensfleisch zur
Laden, zu Gutenberg. The latter two names are those of mansions,
or estates, added to the family name of Gaensfleisch, to distinguish
the various branches of the family. He was a man of position, a mem-
ber of the city council of Mayence, and of the landed gentry who
were the ruling aristocrats. He died in 149/ Gutenberg's mother's
name was Elsgen (Elizabeth) Wyrich, and her family's early home
is by some believed to have been the castle Gutenberg that still
stands on the upper Rhine near Vaduz. Documents, however, seem
to show that her father owned the mansion "zum Gutenberg" in
Mayence. As was the custom, she took the name of the mansion and
was known as Elsgen zum Gutenberg. When John was born he
took the surname of his mother, not in chivalry, but, as was the
custom in Germany, to prevent the extinction of her family since
she was the last of her line. In this way "John Gooseflesh" became
John Gutenberg or "John Good Hill", the hero of our story. Spelling
seems to have been a matter of small moment those days for the
language itself was still very flexible. In one German document
we find Gutenberg's name spelled in three different ways. His
contemporaries spelled it Gutenberg, Gudenberg, or Gudenburch
as their fancy dictated.
At the time of Gutenberg's birth about 1399, Mayence was the
chief ecclesiastical city of the German states, and because of its
great commercial prosperity it was known as "Golden Mayence".
The city was built on the left bank of the Rhine near the mouth
of the river Main. It was an historic city even in John Gutenberg's
day, being one of the oldest cities in Germany. The Romans had a
fortified camp there about 13 B. C. and the town that grew up
about the fortress was called Moguntiacum. The foundations of the
great cathedral, whose tower rises three hundred feet, were laid be-
fore the year 1000, and the present church structure was more than
two hundred years old when Gutenberg was a boy and went to
The emperor Charlemagne, early in the ninth century, had lived
in a palace near Mayence and had given the city many special
privileges, so that later in 1118 it was one of the earliest towns to
be made free and independent. It thus became a small aristocratic
republic with the archbishop and the nobles ruling often with diffi-
culty the common people, who loved liberty and were willing to
fight for it. For this reason, there continued for several centuries
an intermittent struggle for supremacy between the nobles on the
one hand and the tradesmen's guilds and plebeians on the other.
This struggle, as we shall see, later played an important and
significant part in the romance of the printed book.
As a young man Gutenberg heard the romantic story of how
Joan of Arc had recently 'driven the English king out of France,
and tales of the battle of Agincourt where the English had defeated
the French in a battle disastrous to the latter. In Italy, Leonardo
da Vinci and Raphael were painting their marvelous pictures, and
in Genoa a few years later the boy Columbus would be dreaming
over his school books of unexplored seas and distant lands.
Into such a world came John Gutenberg, the inventor, the scien-
tist, the dreamer, who was to teach the world to read and make
learning a free gift to all.
Four great names mark the end of the Middle Ages:
1. John Gutenberg, who unchained man's intelligence and gave
it wings. (Born about 1399.)
2. Christopher Columbus, who opened new physical worlds by
discovery. (Born about 1450.)
3. Martin Luther, who opened new spiritual realms. (Born in
4. Nicolaus Copernicus, who gave the world a new idea of the
universe. (Born in 1473.)
No one can say which of these four men made the largest
contribution or did the most to elevate the spirit of man and open
doors to new worlds. In unchaining intelligence, Gutenberg certainly
laid the first cornerstone of modern civilization. By his invention
of movable types, he drew learning from the monasteries and
convents, where it had been so miraculously preserved, and gave it
to the world. He converted the leaden bullet, which up to that time
had been the chief instrument used to spread "civilization", into
twenty-six little lead soldiers whose onward march during nearly
five centuries has brought light and knowledge and freedom
to mankind. It was among the first of the great inventions which
have served to make the world smaller.
Many things had happened to prepare the stage for the invention
of printing, regarded by many as man's greatest invention. The art
of making paper had been brought from China by adventurous
traders, and had been developed to a high degree in Italy, France
and Holland. Scribes had found paper much cheaper and easier
to handle than parchment, and by the eleventh century illuminated
missals began to appear on rag paper. This paper is as firm and
beautiful today as when it was first written upon, eight hundred
The Chinese had also taught the Western merchants how to engrave
on wood and metal, the same method which the Chinese are still
using in making their lovely wood-block prints.
A heavy black ink made of lampblack and water-soluble glue
had already been used in producing the sacred-image prints and
block books, and only needed to be improved to make it available
for the printing press.
The fundamental idea of the primitive printing press had also
been developed and used in pressing sheets of hand-made paper,
as well as in extracting olive oil and wine.
The scribes had long used both oil- and water-colors, as well
as gold and silver, in illuminating their gorgeous manuscripts. The
art of casting metals was already widely practiced on the con-
tinent where a large trade had sprung up in the sale of medals.
It is evident that the "invention of printing" was not the work
of one man, but rather the bringing together by John Gutenberg
of the contributions of many men. The whole stage had been set,
but it needed the imagination of some constructive mind like Guten-
berg's to bring the parts together and give them the breath of
life. This Gutenberg did.
It was only natural that this new art of printing should be opposed
by the scribes, whose trade was seriously interfered with and finally
destroyed. For centuries printing was controlled by the Church as
something dangerous to the established order. In many countries
it was opposed by the civil authorities as an encouragement to
democracy which it undoubtedly was. Owing to these various
sources of opposition, the "divine art" of printing, as Gutenberg
humbly called it in the only colophon that can be safely ascribed
to him (the Catholicon of 1460), had a precarious and romantic
existence for many centuries.
In 1420 when John Gutenberg was about twenty-one years of age,
the tradesmen and workers of Mayence rose in revolt against the
authority and corruption of the nobles who had ruled the city
for their own pleasure and profit. Having obtained control of the
city government they proceeded to banish the nobles and the members
of the old families from the city. John Gutenberg's father was com-
pelled to flee. The family turned to nearby Strassburg, another Free
City, where John Gutenberg's name is recorded in 1420 and also
in 1427 and 1428.
While in Strassburg Gutenberg is said to have become engaged
to Fraulein Ennel von der Iserin Thuere who later brought suit
against him for breach of promise. In the Act of Reconciliation
between the two factions of Mayence, dated March 28, 1430, young
John Gutenberg is recorded as being still absent from Mayence,
although the old families, shorn of their power, had been permitted
to return. He evidently stayed in Strassburg until the death of his
mother in 1433, and is last recorded there in 1444.
It was during these years of exile in Strassburg that Gutenberg
set himself the task of discovering a way to duplicate books without
the tedious task of copying them letter for letter in writing. Although
he had lost his property through the revolution in Mayence, he earned
a substantial income in Strassburg polishing metal mirrors and
cutting precious stones. He became known as a skilled worker
and a man of scientific knowledge. His reputation finally attracted
the attention of some of the leading men of the city, and three of
them came to Gutenberg and urged him to teach them his several
arts. One was John Riffe, the Bailiff of Lichtenau; another was
Andrew Heilman, a money-lender of Strassburg; and another,
Andrew Dritzehen. Gutenberg agreed, and a formal contract was
entered into, in which he contracted to teach his three partners the
art of mirror-making, the art of cutting stones, and "a certain art"
which was always referred to as a "secret".
In 1438 Andrew Dritzehen died and his brother Claus sought to
inherit his brother's third interest in the partnership. Gutenberg
claimed that his brother had not completed the payment for his
share in the enterprise and refused to admit Claus to the partner-
ship. The partners could not agree and suit was entered against
Gutenberg in the law court in Strassburg. The case came to trial
in 1439, before Judge Cuno Nope, who on the 12th day of December
of that year granted a decision in Gutenberg's favor.
Mention is made in the testimony of witnesses of "four pieces"
placed, disassembled, in a "press" at Dritzehen's house and that
when Gutenberg sent his servant with instructions to see that the
"secret" remain guarded, "the thing" had disappeared. The most
fantastic hypotheses have been concocted to explain these famous
"four pieces". Volumes have been written about them by Germans,
Hollanders and Frenchmen and the controversy is not yet settled.
We may safely ignore the oft-repeated legends of "Carved
Wooden Types". Gutenberg was a metal worker and undoubtedly
attacked the problem with the tools of his craft, engraving and
casting. That much we learned from the Strassburg law suit and
other evidence, in spite of the secrecy which Gutenberg had every
reason to maintain in regard to his early work.
For more than three hundred years the testimony of the trial was
forgotten in the court records in Strassburg until it was discovered
by Schoepflin, the Keeper of the Records, who placed it for safe-
keeping in the library at Strassburg and published it in German and
Latin in 1760 under the title Vindiciae Typographicae. The original
documents perished with the library when it was destroyed by fire
from German guns during the war of 1870 an irreparable loss.
Fortunately, copies, translations, and some reproductions had been
made, and some very recent finds in other archives corroborate
Schoepflin's data and remove forever the accusation of forgery. In
the trial the Goldsmith Dunne testified that he had, since 1436, prof-
ited to the extent of one hundred guilders by furnishing "what
pertains to printing" the first mention of the word "drucken"
or to print.
Still, Gutenberg managed to live on at the monastery of St.
Arbogastus, outside the city walls, doing secret work. He paid his
taxes, according to the records, and enjoyed the privileges which
would indicate his financial independence and his rank. As late as
1444 Gutenberg's name appears on the list of arms-bearing men
to be supplied to the city by the Goldsmiths' Guild. Incidentally,
this fact is another indirect proof that Gutenberg was not engaged
in making "wooden types", for the Guilds with their strict rules
did not permit a craftsman to work in the field covered by a sister
"union", in this case that of the cabinet makers, wood carvers and
Banditry and petty warfare in that region were rampant; and
Gutenberg apparently preferred to remove to a safer place. He
was now free to return to Mayence where he had well-to-do relatives
and where he could expect furtherance of his plans. However, he
was not recorded in Mayence until 1448, and where he spent the
intervening years remains an unsolved mystery much to the chagrin
It is quite possible that Waldfoghel, who is mentioned in recently
discovered documents in Avignon, France, as trying to dispose
of a set of metal letter forms, apparently punches, in 1445, was one
of Gutenberg's discharged Strassburg workmen who had learned a
part of the secret.
The bronze statue of John Gutenberg in Strassburg represents
him as having just pulled from his press a sheet of paper bearing
the prophetic words, "And Light was".
The earliest record of Gutenberg's reappearance in Mayence is
in October, 1448, when he persuaded his kinsman Arnold Gelthus to
borrow one hundred and fifty guilders for him from two money-
lenders named Reyhart Brumsser and John Rodenstein. Gutenberg
did not disclose to his relatives for what reason he wanted the money,
but the fact that he at once leased from his uncle John Gaensfleisch
the house which he used both as a home and a workshop is significant.
By this time Gutenberg had acquired considerable skill in manip-
ulating types. During the two years from 1448 to 1450, Gutenberg
doubtless printed many experimental sheets and pamphlets, always
keeping in mind his grand plan for printing the Bible in a format
that would rival the ornate vellum copies that had been for cen-
turies a product of the skilled hands of the scribes.
There are extant printed fragments of a calendar for the year
1448 and leaves of several editions of a widely-used Mediaeval
school-book called Donatus, all of which may have come from John
Gutenberg's press, and may be the first examples of "job printing"
in the world.
The year 1450 should be memorable not only to those interested
in the art of printing but to all who are concerned with scholarship
in any form, for in that year, still undaunted by his more than fif-
teen years of labor and the debts he had incurred, Gutenberg once
more sought financial help to enable him to carry to success his
secret art of printing with movable types. He found a ready patron
in John Fust, a goldsmith and money-lender, whose brother Jacob
was then the burgomaster of Mayence. A keen and shrewd business
man, such as John Fust had already proved himself to be, would
clearly not have risked eight hundred guilders, which was then a
young fortune, on Gutenberg's invention, if he had not been con-
vinced of its value. In drawing up his contract Fust secured for him-
self all the profits of a partnership without assuming any of its
obligations. He agreed to lend Gutenberg eight hundred guilders at
six percent interest for a period of five years. All the tools and
materials made by Gutenberg during the five years were to be
mortgaged to Fust as security. Each year Fust was to provide
one hundred and fifty dollars additional capital, with which to buy
paper, ink and vellum, and pay the wages of the workmen required
in the execution of the momentous project. In return Fust was to
have one half of all the profits, yet he was to render no service,
or be responsible for any of the debts in the partnership. Gutenberg's
unquenchable faith in the ultimate value of his great invention
evidently led him to accept these hard terms.
With this new capital, Gutenberg immediately began to work out
his great dream of printing an edition of the Bible, modeled on
the finest specimens of that day. Slowly, letter by letter, he cast and
recast and fitted his font of type in his little handcasting device, until
he had a large enough font with which to begin composition. With
fastidious taste he laid out his monumental page, setting the virile
black-letter type in two columns of forty-two lines to a page. The
wide margins of pure white rag paper made a spotless field for the
black and lustrous ink. Because his only models were the hand-
written service books of the Church, he followed the many abbrevia-
tions used by the scribes partly to make the lines of equal length
and partly to conserve the writers' time and work. He also left blank
spaces for the illuminators to add the initials in water colors and
gold. The magnitude of Gutenberg's undertaking is evident when
we realize that his Bible filled twelve hundred and eighty-two
pages twelve by seventeen inches in size and had to be printed in
sheets of four pages each.
The more one studies the Gutenberg Bible and the conditions
under which it was produced, the more one marvels that it ever came
into being. How with untrained workmen, hand-cast type, and a
rudely constructed wooden press, it was possible for John Gutenberg
to produce a volume of twelve hundred and eighty-two large folio
pages, which still sparkle after nearly five hundred years, is one
of the marvels of history. The secret, of course, lies in the artistic
mind and skilled hand of John Gutenberg, the great dreamer, who
was satisfied with nothing short of perfection.
Bibliophiles have tried in vain to describe this book. It has been
1. "The most precious piece of printing in the world."
2. "An example of printing that has never been surpassed."
3. "The greatest of all typographical monuments."
4. "The earliest and also the greatest book in the world."
Others have spoken of it as "the most precious masterpiece of the
earliest Christian art of printing", and said "let no man see it
without reverently raising his hat".
The Gutenberg Bible is not only precious as the first book printed
with movable types, but it is also one of the rarest books in the
world. It is four times as rare as the First Folio edition of Shake-
speare. Only forty-one copies are known to exist, and more than
twenty of these are imperfect or incomplete. Of the forty-one copies
there are twelve which are printed on vellum, but only three of
these are perfect.
The first nine pages of the Bible, and also pages 258 to 263 have
forty lines to the page, pages 11 and 264 have forty-one lines,
while all other pages have forty-two lines to the page. Just what
compelled Gutenberg to change to forty-two lines has long been
a mystery. Some have thought that his aesthetic sense demanded less
space between lines but one does not print fifteen pages, page
by page, before making so radical a change. A much more natural
explanation is that it became apparent that the paper supply would
not be sufficient; it had been under-estimated. As it had been dif-
ficult to obtain the necessary quantity of paper several kinds are
mixed in the Bible a reduction of the size of the body on which
the type was cast was considered a lesser calamity. So with infinite
labor Gutenberg twice filed down his type to give it a slightly smaller
"body", which permitted him to set the remainder of the Bible with
forty-two lines to the page. As the work progressed all the type
was probably recast on a smaller body. The number of lines has
given it the name of the "42-line Bible" to distinguish this book
from the "36-line Bible" in larger type which was published probably
in Bamberg, about 1460.
Many of the opening pages of the various books of the Gutenberg
Bible are richly illuminated in water-colors and gold, with a large
number of decorative initials throughout the volume. The capital
letters are also touched with water-color. The books were sold in
sheets unbound and unilluminated. Most of the books appeared to
have been bound originally in two volumes, one for the New Testament
and one for the Old. The Vollbehr copy, now in our Library of
Congress, is the only one bound in three volumes, although one of
the Paris copies has been rebound in four volumes.
In order to achieve his ideal of a beautiful book Gutenberg em-
ployed as his assistant a young German calligrapher and copyist by
the name of Peter Schoeffer, who had studied art, as he records in
one of his manuscripts, in the "most glorious University of Paris".
Young Peter Schoeffer caught the enthusiasm of his master and ap-
plied himself industriously to improving both the design of the type
and the process of casting. Meanwhile in 1452 Fust made Guten-
berg a second loan of eight hundred guilders with which to carry
on his work.
While John Fust had no actual responsibility in Gutenberg's shop
he was, of course, vitally interested in the progress of the venture,
and he quickly noted the efficiency of young Peter Schoeffer. Here
was a man who was a practical worker, rather than a dreamer who was
forever unsatisfied and continually trying to improve upon what he
had already accomplished. Why should not he be put in charge of
the shop? No doubt young Schoeffer, who later proved himself utterly
disloyal and unscrupulous, encouraged this idea in the mind of
Fust. All the while the pile of printed sheets of the great Bible be-
came higher with each day. Yet by 1454 the work was only a little
more than half completed.
Pope Nicholas V, three years before, had granted an Indulgence
to any of the faithful who from May 1, 1452, to May 1, 1455, should
contribute generously to the fund being raised to help the King of
Cyprus in his struggle with the Turks. Paulinus Chappe was ap-
pointed his emissary with the exclusive right to sell these Indulgences
When the dramatic news came of the fall of Constantinople to the
Turks, on May 29, 1453, de Castro who was selling the Indulgences
in Mayence, thinking that Cyprus had also been captured, absconded
with all the money that he had collected. He was afterwards captured
and sent to prison for embezzlement. This scandal greatly injured
the sale of the Indulgences in Germany, and as the privilege ex-
pired May 1, 1455, Chappe evidently decided to increase the output
by having the Indulgences printed instead of being written by the
scribes. For this significant reason, he came to the only print shop
in the world, and had them struck off in large quantities by John
Gutenberg, with blank spaces left for filling in the purchaser's name
and that of the seller. Thirty-six copies of these Indulgences printed
on vellum about eleven by seven inches in size are known to exist,
all of them bearing the printed date 1454 or 1455. They are all
printed in the same type as the 42-line Bible.
The printing of these Indulgences further delayed the work on
the great Latin Bible, and it apparently convinced John Fust and
Peter Schoeffer that there was more money in "job printing" than
in massive Bibles that required years to complete. Fust's five-year
mortgage was soon coming due, and Gutenberg had no money with
which to repay the principal or meet the interest. This gave Fust
the opportunity, of which he selfishly took advantage. Instead of
renewing the loan, he foreclosed his mortgage and took possession
of Gutenberg's shop. Peter Schoeffer who was then twenty-six years
old, and soon to become Fust's son-in-law through marriage to his
daughter Christine, was put in charge of the shop. John Gutenberg,
the mirror-maker, the dreamer, the firm believer in his "divine art",
was turned out to begin again his weary search for a patron who
believed in him and his great invention.
In the law suit which followed it developed that John Fust had
not lived up to certain terms of his agreement, especially the verbal
assurance given in 1452 that no interest need be paid on the second
loan of eight hundred guilders provided Fust was to share in all
profits of the shop, not merely in the Bible venture, and was to
acquire actual partnership privileges. Fust finally demanded pay-
ment of the entire principal with compound interest amounting to
two thousand and twenty-six guilders a veritable fortune! Jacob
Fust, the Burgomaster, brother of John Fust, was one of the judges
who sat in judgment on the case. Gutenberg lost the suit on legal
technicalities and the first printer in the world was driven from his
shop with his first book still unfinished.
While Gutenberg had now lost the results of nearly twenty years
of labor, he was not broken in spirit nor without friends. He was near-
ing sixty years of age, and his long hours of work in his dimly
lighted shops must have begun to tell on his eyesight. But he was
vigorous in mind, and Fust and Schoeffer's possession of nearly all
his types and equipment and his nearly completed Bible stirred
Gutenberg's spirit to rivalry rather than to revenge.
Conrad Humery, a physician in Mayence, at once came forward
and offered to provide funds for Gutenberg to open a new shop.
Gutenberg still had some materials and punches, which had not
been purchased with the money he had borrowed from Fust, and a few
of his old workmen were loyal to him. There is evidence that by the
fall of 1456 Gutenberg's new plant was in operation in Mayence.
He is credited with issuing from this new press several "Letters of
Indulgence", The Catholicon, or Latin lexicon and grammar, and
As a reminder of old misfortune, Gutenberg, in 1461, was again
summoned into court for non-payment of twenty dollars, which he
had agreed to pay annually to the chapter of St. Thomas in Strass-
burg. Fortunately, Dr. Humery had retained the title to all the
material in Gutenberg's shop, or he would have been deprived a
third time of his working tools and equipment to cancel a debt.
Meanwhile, Fust and Schoeffer had been busy at the old Gutenberg
plant completing the 42-line Bible, which they are believed to have
issued in 1455. This was followed in 1457 by a magnificent Psalter,
which was the first book in the world to bear the name of the
printer, the place where it was printed, the date of its completion,
and the "printer's mark" or "device", the forerunner of all the
fine printer and publisher emblems seen in colophons or on title
The year 1462 was a year of tragedy for the two then existing
printing presses in the world. Count Diether of Isenburg who was
Archbishop of Mayence had quarrelled with Pope Pius II, and
the latter supported Adolph II of Nassau in his claims to the arch-
bishopric. As a result of this quarrel for supremacy between these
two archbishops, the city was attacked by Adolph with a "band of
mercenary savages", and on the night of October 27, 1462, the city
of Mayence fell before the invaders. The citizens who had remained
loyal to Archbishop Diether were murdered in the streets or driven
into exile, their houses burned, and the entire city sacked. In the
conflagration the Fust and Schoeffer printing plant, which was then
operating twenty-four presses, was destroyed, together with Guten-
berg's smaller plant.
John Gutenberg, the dreamer of great dreams, the man who un-
chained intelligence and gave it wings, was left to struggle against
a hard fate in the nearby village of Eltville, where in the home of
his mother's relatives he attempted once more to resume the art
of printing. The last official record we have of Gutenberg is dated
1465, when the gracious Archbishop Adolph who had captured
Mayence appointed Gutenberg one of the Gentlemen of his Court
in a document which reads:
"We, Adolph, elected and confirmed Archbishop of Mayence,
acknowledge that we have considered the agreeable and voluntary
service which our dear and faithful Johann Gutenberg has ren-
dered to us and our bishopric, and have appointed and accepted
him as our servant and courtier. Nor shall we remove him from our
service as long as he lives; and in order that he may enjoy it the
more, we will clothe him every year, when we clothe our ordinary
suite, always like our noblemen, and give him one court dress; also
every year twenty nout of corn and two vaer of wine for the use
of his house, free of duty as long as he lives, but on the condition
that he shall not sell it or give it away. Which has been promised
us in good faith by Johann Gutenberg. Eltville, Thursday after
St. Anthony, 1465."
For three years Gutenberg is believed to have lived on this pension
from the Archbishop. When he died in 1468, his press and types in
Eltville went to his relatives, and he was buried in the church of
St. Francis in the heart of Mayence. Later there was erected in the
church, by his relative Adam Gelthus, a tablet which read:
"To John Genzfleisch, inventor of the art of printing and de-
server of the highest honors from every nation and tongue, Adam
Gelthus places this tablet, in perpetual commemoration of his name.
His remains peacefully repose in the church of St. Francis."
Thus lived and died the man who made what is universally
recognized as one of the greatest of man's discoveries. It was he
who made popular education possible, who was the father of modern
newspapers and magazines, who by his epoch-making invention made
a return of the "dark ages" impossible, and whose tiny army of
twenty-six lead soldiers has been for nearly five hundred years
conquering ignorance and superstition and disease and death. This
little army of lead soldiers is the smallest ever organized, and the
only army in the world's history which has never known defeat.
The story of the man who taught the world to read is told only in
outline here, yet it will always be the great chapter in the still un-
finished Romance of the Book.
HUMAN ENGINEERING AND ORGANIZED
By WILLIAM MELCHER
Professor of Business Administration
An address delivered before the Florida Business Conference
in Babson Park, Florida, on February 21, 1940.
UMAN engineering is the most backward of all the engineering
in industry. This has been especially true in the United
States. Many European countries are and have been far
ahead of the United States in this way. There are some very definite
reasons for this.
"Engineering" has been defined as the "painstaking effort di-
rected toward the successful management and use of the available
forces, materials, and agencies for the good of society". We com-
monly use the terms engineering and engineer in the field of material
things. We have mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, archi-
tectural engineers and many other kinds of engineers. Those fields
are amenable to the application of the laws of exact science. The
fact that the human being is not amenable to such exact laws and
rules or, rather, that we have not yet penetrated the mysteries of life
so far as to have apprehended them, makes it all the more important
that we study this field and use all the knowledge we have. It re-
quires more painstaking thought in the use of the available human
forces than it does in the use of material forces. This in part accounts
for the backwardness of the art.
Little has yet been proved by science about the human emotions.
Though much research has been done and constant progress is being
made in the field, as yet the pure scientist has often neglected it
because he could not prove anything by pure science methods. Just
as in our whole social order we constantly see programs launched
for the improvement of that order, yet because they have not been
subjected by their proponents to sound emotional rules they have
been doomed to failure. This accounts for the status of human
engineering as applied to industry.
In study in the field of human emotions and reactions, the bio-
chemists and the medical profession working hand in hand have dis-
covered that the functioning of certain glands produces definite
results upon the nervous system. Thus they have a clue to the emo-
tional outlet of the individual. The endocrine glands are believed to
be the controllers of the whole nervous system, and when their
operations are not normal the individual may be unbalanced. Medi-
cine is finding ways of bringing about a normal functioning con-
dition. So there is hope along this line.
Until this research has been more fully developed and our diag-
nostic technique improved, we are compelled to rely largely upon
philosophy in respect to human relationships. So human engineers
must have a sound philosophy for industrial relationships, but when
they are asked to state that philosophy they are embarrassed and
even become provoked to self-assertiveness and make arbitrary
statements such as this, "I am master of my business; if my workers
don't like what I do they can quit". Or, as one industrialist said in
the heat of labor troubles in 1919, "I will be glad when I see a
hundred thousand men walking the streets of this city looking
For years I have pondered why it is that we have had few human
engineers in business and I have come to the conclusion that, in addi-
tion to the fact that most business men have been material engineers
or pure scientists, there is also the fact that the frontiers of our
natural resources have been so widely extended that they have not
been fully explored. Both employer and employee have chosen to
explore new fields rather than conquer the increasingly complex
problems of the old new fields of opportunity, new inventions
and processes, many opportunities for workers, choices of such a
sort that they are not compelled to submit to conditions of em-
ployment that they do not like. Also there is the fact that scientific
management in American industry, following the leadership of
Frederick W. Taylor, laid emphasis upon the mechanical and phys-
ical energy to the neglect, for a long time, of the emotional response
of the worker. This attitude on the part of business leaders has often
put labor in opposition to scientific management. It has been a cause
of our losing out in foreign trade with our South American neigh-
bors. If they, our neighbors, did not want to take what we had to offer,
we were unwilling to meet their desires, but allowed some European
country to take the trade away from us.
Such an attitude on the part of business has caused the business
manager to put the emphasis upon the material and physical things
of his plant rather than upon the human and emotional factors.
But conditions are changing. We have a few outstanding business
leaders today who have been blazing a new trail that others are
following. Others have seen that the methods used by these few
have succeeded. Permit me to name and quote a few of them. A little
more than a year ago, William Loren Batt, president of the S. K. F.
Industries, told the National Management Council, then meeting
in New York City: "Today I think we will agree that top manage-
ment has problems of a totally different character from the problems
of technical efficiency that have occupied top management since
fifty years ago.
"Today management is concerned with social problems, and the
extent to which government may engage in business today depends
on what we do about it. We are writing our own ticket."*
He further stated to this same group, "For their long-run best
interests, stockholders may often be wise in subordinating their
immediate interests to those of workman and consumer".
"In some ways, industry treats machines better than workers.
This must be changed."
That he practices what he preaches perhaps accounts for the fact
that during the recent troublous time with labor he has not had a
break with his twenty-seven thousand employees.
Two years ago at the Rollins College Economic Conference, Mr.
John H. Goss, now president of the Scoville Manufacturing Company
and a member of the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and
Arbitration, said that as a young man coming up in a growing indus-
try he had determined to find out what had made for the success of
his company. "As I searched down through the list of executives, I did
not find a national headliner .. nobody in whom the national news-
papers were interested .. the local, yes. I did not find an outstanding
economist, not an outstanding financier, nor scientist. But there
was a common characteristic always apparent... in the minutes of the
directors' meetings and in the annual meetings and in the correspon-
dence. They very definitely understood human nature. I felt that was
the thing on which I should focus my attention, and if I can be con-
sidered in any respect a human engineer at the present time, it perhaps
had its beginning then. I found that all through those years no
action of any importance was taken without the most careful con-
sideration being given to what the probable reaction would be.
That in my opinion has been the basis of their success . The com-
pany's philosophy had really been that of the Golden Rule."
This attitude probably accounts for the fact that Scoville has had
no serious labor troubles. It enabled Mr. Goss to deal ably with
the C.I.O. workers when they walked into his office in the spring
of 1937, placed a contract on his desk and demanded his signature.
He further stated that, "With that description of my philosophy,
which I think also is the philosophy of the company I work for,
you can well understand why collective bargaining has no terrors
It probably is unnecessary to continue to cite individuals and
*Forbes-Sept. 15, 1938, pp. 12, 13.
quote excerpts from statements of business executives who have
outstanding records for their qualifications as human engineers,
but permit me to refer to one other and that is no less a person
than Mr. Charles R. Hook, president of the American Rolling Mill
Company, who headed the President's commission to study and
report on labor relations in England and Sweden a little more than
a year ago. He has made Armco a byword for ideal employee rela-
tions. The story goes that some years ago a youngster, who had
gained his knowledge of the American Rolling Mill Company from
the public press, asked in genuine puzzlement, "What does this
Armco outfit sell steel or employee relations?"
This attitude on the part of Mr. Hook is said to account for
the fact that during the second quarter of 1937, when many steel
companies were torn by strikes and when stoppages of work were
piling up great losses, the Armco Company with rioting and picket-
ing about its plants continued to operate. It has been estimated that
its peaceful relations were worth at that time some $5,000,000 in
profits to the company.
A changed attitude on the part of the National Association of
Manufacturers is marked in the fact that they elected Charles R.
Hook president of the Association in 1937. Such an election was
evidence that the National Association of Manufacturers, which had
stood against organized labor and collective bargaining, had turned
over a new leaf. This change has been shown in its literature of
recent years. It is of especial interest to me to name these great
leaders in the field of human engineering.
On the other hand, I might remark that those who have not had
this farsightedness and this unique engineering ability are legion;
and this I am inclined to think has prolonged and intensified our
labor troubles and has produced a peculiar type of labor organiza-
tion in America. This failure on the part of our business executives
has helped to produce the C.I.O. and has resulted in the type of labor
legislation that we have been having of late. It would probably
be an extreme statement to say that it was the cause of the split of
the A.F. of L. and C.I.O.; but it has enriched the soil for the
growth of the C.I.O. It must be granted that the nature of the
organization of many of our large industries, with their assembly
lines and their technological development, has made the craft union
almost an archaic type of union. However, there is still much to be
said for the craft type. It has the fraternal, the uplift, and the
educational values that the industrial union can not claim. The
only great holding power of the industrial union is its militant
strength. Even as a bargaining agency it has its weaknesses. It has
to recognize the inequality of its own members in its scale of wages.
The National Labor Relations Act was definitely made necessary
by the weakness of the American human engineers, because of their
failure to recognize that collective bargaining is a much more
precise instrument that either the strike or the lockout, or arbitration
for the peaceful settlement of employer-employee problems. As
someone has said, the strike and lockout are like a sledge hammer
and require little skill to wield. Arbitration is like a hatchet or a
chisel as a tool. It is better as a molding instrument and requires
more craftsmanship than the strike and lockout. Collective bargain-
ing is an engraver's tool when contrasted with the other two. Its
use requires a high degree of craftsmanship, but it will produce a
real product if handled with appropriate skill. It requires reasoning
and judgment, not force and duress as do the strike, lockout and
The A.F. of L. membership has for some time been objecting
to the N.L.R.A. and demanding its amendment. They believe in
and want the right to bargain collectively which the N.L.R.A. has
given them. They offer objections to the Act which seem to have
no place in so far as amending the Act itself is concerned, but
which apply only to the rulings of the board. The A.F. of L. and
its leaders fail to recognize the fact that it would be difficult to
frame a law, giving labor a right to bargain collectively, which
could be applied and enforced today in many industries on a craft
union basis. This is where the C.I.O. has the advantage under the
present law. It is not the fault of the law or of the board rulings
so much as of the nature of the craft unions.
Could we have had wise and just human engineers in business,
the craft union might now have a greater place and a safer place and
the National Labor Relations Act would have been unnecessary.
Industry could have solved its own labor relations problems by
using the engraver's tool skilfully.
The N.L.R.A. prohibits the executive from doing and saying
some things that might conceivably be for the best interests of his
employees, but the experience with the section 7A of the N.I.R.A.
made it imperative that Congress put teeth into the N.L.R.A. Some
things are prohibited which when engaged in by a fair-minded
executive might be entirely harmless, but which would give the unfair
employer an advantage.
In the main, the N.L.R.A. requires of the executive nothing but
that which any wise human engineer would do at all times. If a
workman performs his work well, the competent executive does not
care whether he is a follower of Lewis or Green or anyone else, any
more than he cares whether he is an Elk, an Odd Fellow, a Mason,
or all three. The day of the hard-boiled top-sergeant is gone and
there is urgent need today for the trained human engineer. This
job under the N.L.R.A. is not an easy one. I would not belittle
the task, especially under the existing rivalry of the two unions
which are in deadly combat, each striving desperately to win new
members to its own separate cause. It is easy for the executive to
be put on the spot. About all that he can do at times is to keep his
head and hold his tongue. When one of these great executives from
whom I have already quoted was asked, "Why is the N.L.R.A.
hard on the employer?", the reply was, "I don't honestly feel that
it is, though I think most employers do. My experience is such that
I have no difficulty and it is no hardship for me. But I do feel that
it is one of those laws with a perfectly reasonable, sound social
objective, but that it is so set up that it punishes everybody to get
the bad boy and control him. One thing I don't like about it is that
it sets up practically prima facie evidence that we are attempting
to influence our employees if we initiate a meeting with them. That
is a terrible thing, because many plants have had successful meetings
with their employees. I don't have that difficulty because my em-
ployees initiate their own meetings."
The executive who has never had the custom of trying to dominate
his employees will find little difficulty under the Act. When we have
able human engineers and collective bargaining becomes the accepted
practice, the National Labor Relations Act with its board will become
a dead letter in our laws. The conflict between labor unions will
have less to feed upon. But such is not yet the situation.
A most interesting and forward step in the training of business
executives is being undertaken by the Industrial Relations depart-
ment of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in
cooperation with the Medical School and the Faculty of Arts and
Sciences in the formation of a research group which will be con-
cerned "with the physiological and psychological effects of industrial
practice and organization upon the individual . The advance
of technology in business has too often meant a rigid application
of logical methods without consideration of their emotional conse-
quences. An understanding of the human problems created by
business is a prerequisite for socially effective business leadership
in the future." This is a quotation from the Dean's report, for
1938-39, and is printed in the last report of President Conant to the
Board of Overseers of the University.
So we are making progress in Human Engineering. This is the
direction in which we must look for the solution of labor troubles.