Newspaper Page Text
"Marse Henry" Watterson Sees Himself in His Own Glass
of a Long Life
By Heywood Broun
HENRY WATTERSON ma;
hardly be said to have beei
an impersonal figure, eve;
when he was actively en
gaged In newspaper work, but n<
man can write a two-volume ante
biography without telling something
additional about himself. And i
there are any gaps due to differene
or whatnot in the portrait whicl
Colonel Watterson paints of himsel
in "Marse Henry" these are fille?
by the chapter on Watterson ii
Isaac F. Marcosson's "Adventure!
Some of the Information furnlshec
by Marcosson is of such prime lm
portance that perhaps it is well t<
let him have the floor before th<
colonel has his say. From Mr. Mar
cosson, for instance, we learn tha
there is no authority for "the tradi
tion that the mint julep and Henrj
Watterson are synonymous terms
Nothing could be further from th?
truth. Mr. Watterson has neve:
partaken of this famous Kentucky
concoction, except when there wa:
nothing else available. His favorit?
beverages include the two extreme:
of drinking?beer and champagne
with a strong disposition in favo
of the former."
This, of course, has since growi
academic, and yet it is of interest
although hardly as important a:
Mr. Marcosson's revelations concern
ing the character of Colonel Watter
son's handwriting. An appr?cia
tion of the nature of this may servi
to show the monumental task of th?
George H. Doran Company In get
ting out "Marse Henry," and ma;
even? be one of the undiscovered fac
tors in the printers' strike.
It's Just Possible
"Mr. Watterson's method of writ
ing," records Marcosson, "is a
unique aa the character of the ma:
himself. He has . never acquired ! edge bonds." And upon another oc
the dictation habit, even for letters. I casion the closing phrase* of a
He does all his writing by hand with tribute to a prominent citizen of
a stub pen. While he writes his Louisville who had just died was
face is scarcely three inches from transposed from the statement that
Colonel Henry Watterson, who has written his autobiography
under the name of "Marse Henry"
the paper. This Is due to his bad
His handwriting is probably the
worst in the world.
This probably is the reason for
the fact that upon one occasion
when he advised his readers to buy
only "gilt-edged bonds," it appeared
In "The Courier-Journal" as "guilt
he had entered "the sleep that
knows no waking" to "the ship that
knows no shaking."
, "Mr. Watterson not only writes an
atrocious hand," continues Mr. Mar?
cosson, "but he revises his already
viciously. It is like adding insult to
the injury of 'copy.' Some years
ago he was called upon to make th<
dedicatory speech at Baltimore ai
the unveiling of a monument U
Francis Scott Key, the author oJ
'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Aftei
the speech, which contained numer
ous quotations from the national an
them, had been set up in type Mr
Watterson made many changes in it
At least a dozen proofs went back t<
the composing room in rapid succ?s
sion until the head proofreader wa?
almost frantic. When the final sei
reached him he exclaimed fervently
"'Thank God, at least he nevei
changed a word in "The Star-Span
gled Banner"!' "
Watterson, according to the esti
mate of Marcosson, "belongs to th<
galaxy of gTeat phrasemakeTs." . I'
was Watterson who originated th<
Democratic slogan of "A tariff foi
revenue only." He also enriched po
litical language in a savage editoria
attacking the renomination o:
Graver Cleveland, in which he sai<
that if Cleveland were named thi
party would "wade through tin
slaughterhouse to an open grave."
However, Watterson was not al
ways on such terms with Cleveland
At one time he knew him well enougl
to record In "Marse Henry" tha
Cleveland liked to play poker, bu
seldom for more than a dollar limit
and that "he held them exceedinj
close to his boo-som." He also de
scribes a game which included him
self and the President, Senator Cam
eron and Carlisle, who was thei
Speaker of the House.
"It chanced," writes Watterson
"that on a deal I picked up a pa
flush, Mr. Cleveland a pat full. Th
Pennsylvania Senator and I went t
the extreme, the President, of course
willing enough for us to play th<
hand for him. But the Speaker o
the House .persistently stayed witl
us and could not be driven out.
"When it came to a draw Senate
Cameron drew one card. Mr. Cleve
land and I stood pat. But Mr. Car
lisle drew four cards. At length
ifter much banter and betting, i
? 1 reached a show-down, and, mirabile
t dictu, the Speaker held four kings!
> "'Take the money, Carlisle; take
? the-money!' exclaimed the President
' 'If ever I am President again you
? shall be Secretary of the Treasury.
? But don't you make that four-card
? draw too often.'
"He was President again and Mr
1 Carlisle was Secretary of the Treas?
The beauty of Watterson's auto?
biography is that he puts in th<
things the other historians leave out
Nor are they facts to be lightly re
garded, If President Cleveland hat
never played poker Is it conceivable
that he would have taken such i
bold and daring stand in the Vene
zuela dispute with Great Britain'
He was, of course, in no advanta
geous position actually to employ
force against a nation whose nava
superiority at that time was simpl:
overwhelming, but he had learne?
the lesson that much may be don?
with a determined face and a larg>
stack of chips.
Watterson's personal knowledge o
Presidents, of course, goes back fa
beyond the time of Cleveland. A
a small youngster his uncle took hin
to see General Jackson.
Looked for the "Hickory"
"I remember it vividly," write
Watterson. "The old hero dandle
me in his arms, saying, 'So this i
Harvey's boy,' I looking the whil
in vain for the 'hickory,' of which
had heard so much."
Later he records of Genera
Zachary Taylor that he "paternall
stroked my curls."
Watterson was a sort of amateu
page in the House of Representa
tives. Here he met "a little, oh
baldheaded gentleman who wt
good to me and would put his an
about me and stroll with me acroi
the rotunda to the Library of Coi
gress and get me books to read,
was not so young as not to kno
that he was an ex-President of tl
United States, and to realize tl
meaning of it. He had been tl
oldest member of the House wh?
my father was the youngest. He
was John Quincy Adams."
The history books, according to
Watterson, have perpetuated a
wrong impression of Andrew Jack
speech for The Associated Press,
and reports that he was struck by
his "unaffected kindness," though,
of course, it was a moment of un?
usual strain and stress In the life
?jj^?&ofifhqiest? &ctpL?! \ ?farte Wrdjf?fa&'faf
fyPierJ' fa ^MuAt?^j?/l * ?wi# /vi t? ?mJuTkbr ?tdU
27??s ?s a facsimile of Mr. Watterson's "copy." Mr. Broun offers
it as one explanation of why printers sometimes strike
son, who was no rough-and-ready
fjoldier, but a polished gentleman.
"Call that man a backwoodsman?
He's the finest gentleman I ever
met," was the remark of Mrs. Clai
borne, "who knew European courts
and society better than any other
Watterson met Lincoln several
times when he came to Washington
as President He went to his hotel
to get a copy of the inaugural
of the nation. Lincoln at that time
showed no sign of being worn by
the pressure of the situation.
"He delivered that inaugural ad?
dress," says Waterson, "as if he
had been delivering inaugural ad?
dresses all his life."
For a long time Watterson fought
shy of meeting Grant; even after
the war, that is. He was asked to
go down to Long Branch and pass
the week end as the President's
Also, He Explode
. Mint Julep
guest. A poker game was offered as
an additional inducement, but Mars?
Henry was not to be captured.
"I don't dare do so," was hi,
reply; "I know that I shall fall in
love with General Grant. We are
living in rough times?particularly
in rough party times. We have a
rough Presidential campaign ahead
of us. If I go down to the seashore
and go in swimming and play penny
ante with General Grant I shall not
be able to do my duty."
Later, however, the men became
good friends, and Grant is summed
Tribute to Grant
"The most interesting of men.
Soldierlike?monosyllabic?in his of?
ficial and business dealings, he
threw aside all formality and re?
serve in his social intercourse, de?
lightfully reminiscential; indeed, a
capital story-teller. I do not won?
der that he had constant and disin?
terested friends who loved him sin?
Of the later Presidents, nearly all
of them friends of Watterson, even
though many were political foes,
there is less mention. The interest?
ing and sometimes tumultu??
friendship with President Wilson is
not mentioned, although Watter?
son devotes almost an entire chap?
ter to an attack on the league of na?
tions. To the Kentuckian it seems
an absurd notion, which is all a
part of somewhat disturbing change
in national ideals.
"It looks," he writes, "as though
the United States, having exhaust?
ed the reasonable possibililties of
democracy, is beginning to turn
crank. Look at woman suffrage
by Federal edict; look at prohibi?
tion by act of Congress and consti?
tutional amendment: tobacco next
to walk the plank; and then?Lord,
how glad I feel that I am nearly a
hundred years old and shall not live
to see it!"
Keep Your Baby's Thumb Print and Foil the Possible Kidnaper
Mr. and Mrs. Wentz
Might Have Been
Saved Much Grief
TIE family Bible, and nol
merely the Rogues' Gallery,
is the place for finger prints.
No longer are the crim?
inal classes to be the exclusive heirs
to the infallible science of finger
printing, with its possibilities of om?
nipotent jurisdi-ction over cases of
mistaken) identity, kidnaping and
aphasia, which may happen to the
most moral of us. Modern science
foresees the time when every home
will have its portfolio of "arches"
and "loops," and Thanksgiving and
Christmas reunions will be given
over to admiring Aunt Ethyl's un?
usual thumb or displaying the his?
toric print of Uncle Merton's fore?
finger, which cleared him of sus?
picion in the great bank robbery.
Pudd'nhead Wilson will become
the patron saint of all babies, fox
finger (or foot) prints of infanta
will be an inevitable part of the sys?
tem. Melodrama may suffer, fox
lack of those stories of babies ex?
changed by their nurses or stolen
by gypsies, but fewer mothers in
real life will suffer the anguish of
It was, indeed, the Incident of the
kidnaped Wentz baby which pro?
vided New York's finger print ex?
perts with fresh material for their
campaign, coupled with another in?
cident of recent date, which proved
most dramatically the value of fin?
ger prints in the tracing of a run?
away boy who enlisted in the navy.
Charles O. Tittle, professor of
finger printing in New York Univer?
sity, and also assistant supervisor of
the Finger Prints Bureau of the
Magistrates' Court of New York
City (although he does not wish this
to be emphasized lest the public
gather the impression that if it has
its finger prints taken it will be
hauled before a city magistrate),
was the first to call attention to the
great assistance that finger (or foot)
print? might have been in the Wentz
"Little babies change so quickly
in general appearance it is
quite ?conceivable that a mother
wouM not be able te reeogniw her
baby after six months," he said
"Mrs. Wentz was shown a baby
which looked, she believed, as her
lost Arthur might have looked after
six months, and she became con?
vinced it was he. Newspaper report?
ers who- saw the baby agreed that
it looked like her baby. She may
have been emotionally unfit to de?
cide such a question, but surely no
one ever accused a reporter of being
hysterical. Yet it developed that
that baby was an Italian, and the
facts of its parentage were proved
beyond a doubt.
"All this fuss and sorrow for Mrs.
Wentz could have been avoided had
she been in possession of footprints
of her lost baby. I believe every
\ child should have its footprints
taken within a few days of its birth.
It is obviously impossible to get clear
prints of ten little fingers, although
the lines and ridges which make up
the finger print would be distin?
guishable under a microscope. An
infant's foot would be easy to handle,
and the papillary ridges there are
precisely as valuable for identifica?
tion. Every child's footprints
should be recorded in the hospital
where it is born, or in the Bureau of
Vital Statistics, with the record of
its birth. This is being dono in the
Lying-In Hospital in Chicago.
"Science has proved that these
ridges never change with age. Our
modern research goes back only to
1858, so it has not yet been possible
to record the impression of the same
person's finger prints through a
whole lifetime, but it has been done
in periods of ten years, to the thor?
ough satisfaction of scientists. One
group of young children has been
finger printed each year for ten
years, and no change In their ridges
has been found. Another group ot
children in their teens also has been
recorded each year for ten years, and
no change found. Similar groups
have covered the entire age of a
Mr. Tittle also referred to the
tragedy of the lost Jimmy Glass,
whose mother has traveled more
! than the entire distance around the
I globe and spent thousands of dol
I lars investigating clues to her miss?
ing boy. In far away towns in the
Kentucky mountains and from lone?
ly villages in the South have come
to her frequent messages that a
child answering the description of
her Jimmy has been seen In a gypsy
Thumb prints are of four classifications, as shown above. The
palm, a perfect specimen of print, is that of Alfred A. Hart,
supervisor of the New York Finger Print Bureau. The foot?
prints are those of the six-weeks-old daughter of Charles O.
Tittle, finger print instructor at New York University
camp, or under other suspicious
circumstances. Then the mothei
has made the long journey, only tc
find that the child* who had attract
ed the attention of local policemer
bore no real resemblance to her son
All of this toil and expense coulc
have been saved to Mrs. Glass ha<
she been able to compare Jimmy';
finger prints with those of the chil
dren thought to be him. Finge
prints are all classified under let
ters and figures which sound lik
abracadabra tc the layman, but ar
as simple as "volume twenty, chap
ter eight, paragraph sixteen" in th
hands of experts.
The police in Kentucky . coul
have telegraphed to the Jersey Citj
police the classification of the fingei
prints of the child they held and al
questions of his being or not beinj
the lost Jimmy Glass would hav<
been settled at once.
The most thoroughly satisfactory
story of the value of finger print
that has come to the attention o
Mr. Tittle for many years is that o
the runaway son of Dr. Joseph Pet
luck, of 1360 Washington Avenue
Young Joseph was an idolized soi
of well-to-do parents, who, how
ever, ran away from home, a
idolized sons sometimes do. Hi
parents could get no trace of hir
for years. When the war broke oui
however, they figured, knowing the
boy, that he would be sure to enlist.
Therefore they obtained a copy of
his finger prints which had been
stowed away in the savings bank
where he had had a modest account
during his high school days. These
finger prints they sent to both the
army and navy authorities in Wash?
ington, with a request to watch out
for any man with those finger
prints, whatever the name under
which he enlisted. As both the
army and the navy took finger
prints of every man who enlisted,
and as the navy was prompt in
classifying them, it was not long
before the runaway boy was di
Many banks, according to Mr. Ti
tie, have' adopted the finger prii
policy, as a defense against forger
Any clever rascal can forge the si?
nature of a depositor, ?but forgir
a finger print is a difficult matte
\ The Bowery Savings Bank, the Pi
; neer Safe Deposit Company and tl
Sand Street branch of the Frankl
Trust Company were among the
he recalled. The Sand Street Bai
does business largely with saile
from the navy yard and the m<
chant fleet of the Brooklyn wat
front, many of whom are away fr<
America for a year or more at
time. They can be identified at a
time by their finger prints. Son
times a letter comes from across 1
world asking for a draft on a s?
or's account and, when accompan
by finger prints of the depositor,
unquestioned. This bank has ne
lost a dollar through mistaken id
tity when finger prints were us
Many of the sorrows of the wo
and a good deal of its sin would
eliminated if the habit of fin
printing were universal, accord
to Mr. Tittle. Travelers could
tablish their identity without w
dering around in strange cit
starving for lack of a friend
identify them in a bank; insura
companies would be protec
against swindlers; honest men cc
establish their alibis in crime ct
and criminals be traced; railx
and fire insurance companies coul
protected against persons who 1
the habit of falling off cars or bi
ing up their barns; and the 40
unidentified paupers who are bu
each year in Potter's Field couh
given burial by their own people
"People have the impression
linger printing is something ?i
Marks of the Feet,
sarily connected with criminal
classes," said Mr. Tittle, "but each
and every one of us is liable to meet
an emergency in which it would be
valuable to establish our identity
beyond a doubt. Accidents may hap?
pen to any of us, in wreck or fire or
sickness, when we lose consciousness,
and no trace of our identity is found
on our person. If you had ever been
to the morgue after a terrible acci?
dent and seen the relatives searching
among the unidentified dead for
their loved ones, you would realize
the value of a device which would
spare them this horrible experience.
Uuder a system of universal finger
printing, the authorities could trace
the identity of two-thirds of all vic?
tims without the assistance of the
"Of course, the time is far oft"
when the system will be universally
adopted, and until that is done its
full value cannot be experienced;
' but there is no reason why individ?
uals, even now, should not avail
themselves of its protection. Every
person should have his finger
prints filed away with his Liberty
bonds and birth certificate, either in
a safe deposit vault or, at least, in
the family Bible."
There is one chance in 64,000,
000,000 that two finger prints will
be identical, according to the compu?
tations of science. If all ten fingers
are taken into the reckoning it will
be one chance in 64,000,000,000
raised to the tenth power.
Classification of finger prints de?
pends upon the patterns of the tiny
ridges which traverse the skin. Four
chief classes are recognized?the
arch, the loop, the whorl and the
composite. There are seven sub?
classes, all of which are easily dis?
tinguished by an expert and tagged
with a trade name.
The use of finger prints goes back
to ancient times, when the monarch
used the impression of his thumb
as his sign and seal. It was revived
in the Orient under British rule,
when Sir William Hersehe! used
finger prints to prevent false per?
sonation and for the detection of