Gerald Stanley Lee.

Crowds: a moving-picture of democracy online

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. . . It will be interesting to see whether the aristocracy
of business and gambUng — for half of business is gambling — '
pays any more heed to its prophet than the Duke of RuUand
paid to Carlyle. Will the Rockefellers consent to be saved?

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What are the Hooleys and Whitaker Wrights and Barney Bar-
natos going to do with Gerald Stanley Lee? ... — The
New Freewoman.

From Life: The other day, as I came along a back street in
Boston, I saw a bunch of people gathered in front of the entrance
to one of those "Dangerous Passing" alleys. Five or six men,
a woman or two, and about a dozen boys (all holding desperately
back and pushing eageriy forward at the same time) were
squeezed up against an imaginary semicircular barrier about ten
feet distant from a tiny speck of a dog that was huddled in the
comer of a brick wall. And the dog was wearing a wildish look
in its distracted brown eyes and at the extreme left-hand corner
of its little mouth it displayed — a bubble.

I went over to it and said a few comforting things to it in dog
talk, and then I picked it up (it was about three months old) and
cuddled it a bit. And then, first shaking itself well to get rid of
its hallucination of impending doom, it looked up and licked
my chin. And you ought to have heard those people ! The pet
names they called that pup! And the assurances they gave it,
and me, and each other, that they hadn't ever really thought
that it was mad! And four of the boys oflPered to adopt it on
the spot, and were syndicating the proposition when I left.
You see, all along and almost to a man those people had wanted
to believe in that dog; but half of 'em had been afraid to, and the
other half hadn't known how to go about it. But all that they
really needed was a good boost.

There have been a lot of truths — fine, young, promising,
pedigreed ones, some of them; and others bright, old, unclaimed
mongrels — that thousands and hundreds of thousands of us
Americans have been wanting to believe about human nature
for some time now. Almost any day you could have seen a
bunch of us standing round some back alley entrance, looking,
fascinated and frightened, at one of them. We have wanted
to believe in them, but we "didn't dast." We'd have liked to
adopt them and try them out, but we didn't know where "to
take holt." We weren't exactly scared, only we needed some
one to put us in countenance.

And here, shoving to the front with a fine, free nonchalant air
of doing the most natural thing in the world, comes Gerald Stan-
ley Lee; comes a poet, a dreamer, an idealist; a man whom we
praised and patronized, and loved and pitied — comes Gerald

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Stanley Lee, the editor and sole contributor to the "Mount
Tom" magazine, author of the almost forgotten "Lost Art
of Reading," and of the almost unread "Voice of the Machines,"
and of the locally sneered at but foreignly buzzed about "In-
spired Millionaires" — comes Gerald Stanley Lee and picks up
the pup. And, lo and behold, it licks his chin! And we all
instantly see how easy it was, and that human nature isn't really
as bad as we'd been shamed into letting on.

It's by a book called "Crowds" that he has done it; a big,
easy-going, loose- jointed, nearly six-hundred-page book about
you and me and the man next door; about God and million-
aires and department stores and the President and the cook;
about business and politics, and what we all want and don't dare
ask for, and about how we're going to get it. About America
and Americans. About where we're going.

I once heard a small kid, standing on a bluflf above the Wis-
consin River, ask another youngster, a bit bigger, where the
river came from. " Oh," answered the other, pointing a chubby
finger, "from way up there." "Yes," insisted the first, "but
from how far?" And then the other swelled visibly before our
eyes, and putting on a look of preternatural gravity, answered:
"From way up beyond to-morrow's morning and to-morrow's
morning and to-morrow's morning!" That's the way you
feel when asked questions about "Crowds."

It's the most religious book published in this country since
"Uncle Tom's Cabin." — J. B. Kerfoot, in Life.

From a Letter to Mr. Kehler:

It seems to me the greatest book I ever read. It may be
described in the words Gladstone used about the Federal Con-
stitution, to the effect that it is the greatest single document
ever struck at one time by the hand of man. But that was a
composite work. . . .

It certainly ought to have the Nobel Prize, especially as it
was so evidently written without any intention of competing
for it. . . . What I look forward to — nothing less is the
making and the marking of an epoch by it, not only in the
various activities of life with which it is especially concerned,
but in all literature and drama. The person unfamiliar with
it will suffer enormously in such fields, and every one who does
not know it will be obliged to echo its sentiments and ideas
abroad and aloud. . . . Lee is the first person I have ever

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known to prove himself vaster than the civilization that begat
him — vast enough to pull it around by the nose.


"Who on earth is Gerald Stanley Lee? That is a godlike
article on Machinery and the Machine Age. He will be (unless
he degenerates) one of the great forces of American literature.

— William James.

(From a letter to the editor of the Atlantic after the appearance of
Mr. Lee*s ideas on crowds and machines fifteen years ago.)

To the Editor of Everybody's: Your Advertising Goodness
hits hard. Please tell Mr. Gerald Stanley Lee that he is on
my book for a setting of my prize winning Brown Leghorn Eggs
free to any address that he names. The best that I own is my
Brown Leghorn Hens! . . . Better send on the address
to this hen and get the eggs! — H. F. McGuire, Wilton, N. H.

From a letter, dated, The Church of the Messiah, Louis-
ville, Ky. . . . There is so much sermon material in
"Crowds" that I want to use it during the winter in what I
say. The point is "May I?" My own well-springs are not
dry, but in reading the book I shall be apt, as I talk, to say things
as "Crowds" says them, and not stop each and every time to
say "Thus says Mr. Lee."

Do you mind if I do this — if as I say, I plainly state at the
beginning to the people that we use your book as a textbook?

Maxwell Savage.

Readers of Collier's Weekly will recall the astounding case of
Louis Victor Eytinge related there — Eytinge the forger and
murderer serving a life term in Arizona state prison, the man
who in jail discovered the value of honesty and the power of
his words, who now earns a considerable salary by writing for
business firms advertisements which are the wonder of adver-
tising men. "They had penned him up to die, and he would
not die. They sent him to jail, a crook, and lo! his voice was a
I)ower for honesty."

Eytinge recently was sent a copy of "Crowds.". He wrote
as follows to Thomas Drier, Editor of Associated Advertising,
one of the men who believes in him, and who helped to give
him his chance:

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"I do like 'Crowds' — like it too blamed well. My line
was that I would not be a crowd-man, meaning that I would
have to stand out from, and above, the crowd, and the blamed
book makes me more earnest in my resolve. Like you, I can't
read the book through. It won't let me. Causes too much

I have a grave suspicion that " Crowds " is the most important
book — (in its meaning to the present world) that has been
written in 4,000 years. I have been waiting for some brave
critic to say this. I am not certain that there is any critic in
America brave enough to say it even if he w ere brave enough to
think it was true.

This is because the book is the truest, biggest picture of our
world as it is to-day. . . .

" Crowds " is a crucible. You cast your soul into it — if you
have a soul — and it comes forth changed. If it doesn't, then
the thing you thought was a soul isn't a soul at all.

Out of the gray mists and the red fires of 4,000 years this
book has come. The man who wrote it has seen marvelously :
as if he stood upon the highest mountain top in the world, and
the earth lay flat before him. To reach the mountain, that
man, hungering and thirsting, must have crossed far deserts where
strange altar fires forever burn. . . . — John Strong,
Toledo Times.

A Pink Tea Rhapsody. — John Neihardt, Minneapolis

Gerald Stanley Lee is poetry brought down to the last second
of the last minute of the last hour of the day of the last month
of the present year nineteen thirteen. What I like about him
is that he sees the present, the past, and the future all in a
radiant vision. — Jack London.

An exasperating book to some readers because the points on
which we most violently take issue with Mr. Lee are the very
points on which he is hardest to refute. — Publishers' Weekly.

A book for Socialists to avoid. — New York Call.

Last June we got a copy of " Crowds," by Gerald Stanley Lee,
who looks like William Hawley Smith with Opie Read's hair.

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We put it in our grip and have read it seven months, and 25,000
miles. We would read it in California, get mad at it, and put
it back in the grip. Then some night in Minnesota we'd ex-
hume it and root through more chapters and become further
enraged. Again in Texas or Florida or Connecticut the book
would come forth. It wouldn't down. It thrilled us, de-
lighted us, and enraged us. Gerald Stanley Lee doesn't agree
with us very often. That proves he isn't right very often.
But a book that you will lug along on a lyceum journey month
after month is a very wonderful book. The author is a very
wonderful man — with wonderful inside eyes — powers of
generalization and expression. — Lyceum Magazine.


O knowest Gerald Stanley Lee.?
A droll philosopher is he —
And whimsical? Jehosaphat!
Such odd things as are in his hat.
Upon the summit of Mount Tom
He sits in reverie and calm.
Discoursing there of all that go
About him on the earth below.
His flavor is of such a kind
As soothes and orients the mind;
His wit and raillery are rare
And bracing as the mountain air;
His vision is beyond the scope
Of any man-made telescope.
And far beyond the bending skies
His swift imagination flies.

Now, I have seen him sitting there

These many years among the clouds,
But few men spied him in the air

Until he hurled among us '^Crowds."
The impact of that book was such.

That, looking up, we've come to stop
And chatter frequently and much,

About the man upon the top.

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Like some old deity restored
From all that host the Greeks adored.
He sits upon his hallowed ground
And hurls his thunderbolts around.
Sometimes they do no more than play
Across the heavens far away.
As pyrotechnics of the mind
Disporting on the passing wind.
At other times, as red as Mars,
They burst, disseminating stars
And mental nigger-shooters through
The night of ignorance and dew.
And still at other times they light
Explosively, like dynamite,
Keducing fallacies profound
l^o heaps of wreckage all around.

Now, I have seen him through the span

Ot some ten years, and know him well.
He is no god — he is a man —

And very human, truth to tell.
He might still be there for a few.

Disporting high among the clouds,
But all men now must see him, too,

Since he has hurled among us ** Crowds."

Clark McAdams in St, Lcuis Dispatch.

From Rev. Charles Raynal of North Carolina in the Land-
mark: I recommend this book to everybody. The farmer
ought to read it; merchants, manufacturers, bankers, news-
papers, doctors, lawyers, and preachers ought to read it.
Everybody! Even folks that don't read anything but the
nasty novels ought to read it. Businessmen's associations,
Church conferences. Synods and Presbyteries; State assem-
blies; the Congress and cabinet of these United States; even
the Women's Book clubs ought to lay aside all business, no
matter how important, and read "CROWDS."

Above all things else that Statesville can do right now is to
read this book. It presents a spirit that will build our town
more surely than money can, for it shows money how to work.
If everybody would get the book; and then if the City Fathers

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would appoint a day; and then if all stores and factories and
everything would close as they do sometimes for protracted
meetings; and then if we all would just sit down and read the
book, we would all get up the day after and go to work. And
we would build StatesvUle.

I say to you, in all earnestness and conviction, that there is
more sense, and business, and money in this book than you can
find elsewhere on earth to-day in anything like the same space.
'It is more interesting than any twenty novels of the day. If,
after you have read it, you want your money back, I will buy
it from you for what you paid for it, and give you a bonus for
reading it. The Landmark is authorized to act for me in this

By William Cleaver Wilkinson

Pulpit extravaganzist uncontrolled.

As heady as a wild ass racing free

And snuffing up the wind ! So, scorning he
Pathways by other footsteps beaten, bold.
Through trackless regions, over mountains old.

He ranges where his own far footsteps flee

All following, since no mortal eye can see
How they to any clear direction hold!

But there at least he thunders on in tread
As masterful as wayward, and no less

Unweariable. And, strange thing to be said.
This wild-ass ranger of the wilderness

From each excursion brings some gospel bread
Wherewith the gaping, hungering soul to bless!

" Crowds" — now in its seventh month — still holds the record
as America's best selling book of non-fiction.

The Bookman record of sales for January is as follows:

Crowds. Lee

Gitanjali. Tagore

Our Eternity. Maeterlinck

The Promised Land. Antin

Autobiography. Roosevelt

Paris Nights. Bennett

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The History of a Visionary Book

"Inspired Millionaires." A Study of the Man of Genius in
Business was declined by seventeen publishers and printed by
the author. It was immediately accepted in Germany and is
being translated into German and into French, and has been
received in England (as Lowes Dickinson puts it) as "the most
representative book that has appeared in America for a long

1[ One of the leading wholesale houses of the West has sent
"Inspired Millionaires" to a long list of its most important
customers as a basis of mutual understanding and conducting

1[ Another leading house has sent the book to prospective in-
vestors as an interpretation and expression of the methods and
principles on which they have achieved their success.
1[ A business men's class to study the principles and tendencies
laid down in the book has been formed by the proprietor of one
of the great establishments in New York.
If An illustrative supplement or companion piece to the book
is being written by business men themselves.
If Used as a textbook at Yale in the course on National

From a letter:

" . . . 'Inspired Millionaires' strikes me as almost the
only American book I have read (outside Walt Whitman) that
is really American, has a * vision,' and that seems to belong to
a new country and civilization. The book is a power. It
challenges one vitally in every page, and one finds one's self
either agreeing or disagreeing passionately. This, I think, is
the highest praise one can give a book of this kind. . . ."


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From a millionaire:

Sales Company, Fels Naptha Soap, London.
" .... If a copy of the book were placed in the hands
of every man of means in the country, under the right auspices
so that he would read it, it would do more to change conditions
than perhaps any other one thing. ... I want twenty-
five copies of the book to distribute among the millionaires
here. If the books are well received I will increase the order.
. . . " — Joseph Fels.

" . . . . Please send me fifty more copies. I am put-
ting them where they tell. I enclose my check." — Joseph Fels.

**.... I want a thousand more copies of 'Inspired
Millionaires.' To be used like the others. . . . En-
closure. . . . " — Joseph Fels.

The Voice of the Machines

An Introduction to the Ttoentieth Century by

Some of us have wished for a long time that some one would
write a book that would answer Ruskin and say a good word
for machinery in modern life. The machines are all about us
and we have wanted a book that we could use, that we could
get the good of afterward in our thoughts every day, so that,
as we go about, the sights and sounds of streets and cities would
be full of cheer to us. The feeling that we have been groping
toward — many of us — and which is in "The Voice of the
Machines" is something akin to the love of nature, except that
it is for town use.

It is a big book. Mr. Lee is a writer of great power of ex-
pression and of singular insight. His humor is gigantic, and
he has flashes of eloquence that not a dozen living men can
rival. — The New York Evening Mail.

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Here is a book to try our minds — to see whether they be
quick or dead. . . . Lee has the happiness, and the un-
happiness, of being a man who thinks with his senses, and feels
with intelligence — in an age that has, in the main, determined
to keep its head-business separate from all affairs of the heart.
But Lee's way of working his head and heart in one circulatory
system is the way of nature and sound physiology; it follows
that he is longer for this world than most of his contemporaries.
The salt of the earth will find here a book that is great — simply
great — by all the ultimate tests of greatness. That is to say,
it has all the qualities of a human character that is exceptionally
and astonishingly sane. — Kansas City Star,

It is tonic in every sentence, and it is not the less so for the
presence of that vital humor that bubbles up in the work of an
untrammeled genius who has a clear eye for things as they are.
— Mail and Times,

Mount Tom


Devoted to Rest and Worship and to a Little Look-off on the World

Edited by Mr. Lee, Every Other Month. Six Numbers, $1.00.
Mount Tom Press, Northampton, Massachusetts.

The magazine is in the form of personal impressions — mostly those of the
editor, aniji is entirely written and dated from the Mountain. It is supposed
to cultivate those various friendly but distant feelings toward the worlct and
toward chimneys and institutions, that a mountain gives one when it has the

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They are very largely men who have made a success of life
because they know what they are about and know what Ihey

One of the first things a man like this knows about " Crowds "
(561 pages long) is that he hasn't time to read it.

This works very well for a time.

Then he begins meeting other people who knew they hadn't
time to read it.

He finds that they are reading it.

They tell him he ought to.

He says he would be very glad to read it if they woiJd tell
him what the book is about. Then he would know whether he
wanted to read it or not.

Then they begin to try to tell him what "Crowds" is like.

They have a terrible time.

There may be a very great many things that are the matter
with "Crowds," but none of them are half so bad as trying to
tell a man who has not read it what "Crowds" is like.

"Crowds Jr." has been issued by the publishers as a relief
measure for people who try to tell what "Crowds" is like.

It is a small slip-in size and when a man has it in his pocket,
and a man steps up to him and asks him what "Crowds" is
like, he hands his "Crowds Jr." out to him, and in half an hour
he knows whether he has time to read "Crowds" or not.

CROWDS JR., A Little Run Through Crowds:
Mostly things for men in a hurry, from the larger book,

selected and arranged by the author.
Fifty cents. Special rates in quantities.


Garden City, N. Y.

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Online LibraryGerald Stanley LeeCrowds: a moving-picture of democracy → online text (page 44 of 44)