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Newspaper Page Text
cfianf'pnhce 'to the" thousands of eiS. ---'"-ho must have helped i&t get
all those millions into his own hands.
Very likely Altman was honorable in his business dealings. No doubt l
he paid his debts and kept his credit good at the banks. It is easy to be
lieve that he was good to his family, if he had one. Doubtless he contributed
If he owned one of the most important private art collections in New
York "he has probably aid out thousands of dollar for one valuable daub
of paint on canvass possibly the picture of a herd of sheep, a horse fair, a
bit of landscape, white-capped ocean waves rolling in on the shore, per
haps a Gainsborough, a portrait of a lady.
But I can see pictures that didn't hang pn the walls of his art gallery.
They are pictures of human beings. Thousands of them are girls girls
who started out in life virtuous, happy and hopeful, possessed of the glor
ious instinct of womanhood and motherhood. Girls who wanted to love
and to be loved. Girls who wanted to be wives and mothers.
I can see them standing all day long behind the counters, waiting on
customers, putting up with humiliations, trying to be pleasant to people
who were disagreeable, working, working, working to make Benjamin Alt
man a merchant prince.
We might follow them home at night on crowded street cars, tired,
weary, almost worn out sometimes too tired to enjoy eating food that the
body craved and had to have
But what's the use? One need not tell the story. All of us know it
Not all of those thousands of girls became wives and mothers. There were
tragedies. Vice and Crime demanded their toll. Low wages, insufficient
clothing, poor food, attic rooms, bad ventilation, mental and physical starva
tion, temptation, prostitution, death for some of them who couldn't win
in such a fight
The wonder of it all is that the great majority do win out and escape
from this department store bondage to become wives and mothers.
I know nothing of Altman or his store. I refer to him as a type. We
are making other merchant princes right here in Chicago now; and hun
dreds of lives are being sacrificed that a few may become merchant princes.
The story of Marshall Field's life has never been written in black and
white. It never will be written. For his life, can not stand apart from the
lives of all of the thousands of men, women and children who worked as
The lives of his employes were as much a part of his life as were the
lives of his children; and no matter how successful he was as a merchant
prince and a piler-up of dollars, he was a miserable failure as a father, and
hence as a man.
Marshall Field was also a patron of art. He aided art. How much did
he aid humanity? How many human beings did he make better and happier
through his association with them and his control over their destiny?
How many God-given human souls did he convert into cold cash,
bonds, stocks and loop real estate?
No city is great because of its skyscrapers of stone, concrete and steel,
or because of its beautiful boulevards, its" monstrous factories or its palatial
Only that city is great whose men, women and children are great The
jgreat city is the city with a great soul and a great love and a great humanity.
Andrew Carnegie can't make a city great by giving it af great library.
John'-D. Rockefeller can'tmake a city great by giving it a great university,
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