The Trunk Program continues to take shape. Students will be given a number of primary source materials to read though. They will then be filling out worksheets answering the questions: Who were Captain Nat and J.B. Herreshoff? What were their lives like? Where did they live? What was the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company?
One of my favorite primary source materials from the project is an excerpt from How They Succeeded, a book published in 1901 by Orison Swett Marden. The book contains an in-depth interview with J.B. The following excerpt has been selected as a part of the Primary Source Project in the Trunk Education Program (excerpt is reproduced exactly as originally printed in 1901; unusual spellings or typographical errors are in source material):
HOW THEY SUCCEEDED
LIFE STORIES of SUCCESSFUL MEN TOLD by THEMSELVES
By ORISON SWETT MARDEN
EDITOR of “SUCCESS.” AUTHOR of “WINNING
OUT, ” ETC. , ETC.
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY BOSTON
COPYRIGHT, 1901, BY
L O T H R O P PUBLISHING COMPANY.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder
THE VOYAGE OF LIFE
Total eclipse; no sun, no moon; Darkness amid the blaze of noon! MILTON
AMID the ranks of the blind, we often find men and women of culture and general ability, but we do not look for world-renowned specialists. No one is surprised at a display of enterprise in a ” boom- ing ” western town, where everybody is ” hust- ling; ” but in a place which has once ranked as the third seaport in America, but has seen its maritime glory decline, a man who can establish a marine industry on a higher plane than was ever before known, and attract to his work such world-wide attention as to restore the vanished fame of his town, is no ordinary person. Moreover, if such a man has laid his plans and done his work in the disheartening eclipse of total blindness, he must possess qualities of the highest order.
The office of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, at Bristol, Rhode Island, is in a building that formerly belonged to the Burnside Rifle Company. It is substantial, but un- pretentious, and is entered by a short stairway on one side. The furniture throughout is also plain, but has been selected with excellent taste, and is suggestive of the most effective adaptation of means to ends in every detail. On the mantel and on the walls are numerous pictures, most of them of vessels, but very few relating directly to any of the great races for the ” America’s ” cup. The first picture to arrest one’s attention, indeed, is an excellent portrait of the late General Ambrose E. Burnside, who lived in Bristol, and was an intimate friend of John B. Herreshoff.
Previous inquiry had elicited the information that the members of the firm are very busy with various large orders, in addition to the rush of work on Cup Defenders; so it was a very agreeable surprise when I was invited into the tasteful private office, where the blind president siat, having just concluded a short conversation with an attorney.
LET THE WORK SHOW
“Well, sir/’ said he, rising and grasping my hand cordially, “what do you wish?”
“I realize how very busy you must be, Mr. Herreshoff,” I replied, and will try to be as brief as possible; but I venture to ask a few minutes of your time, to obtain suggestions and advice from you to young people.”
we possibly can and then leave it to
PREPARE TO THE UTMOST I THEN DO YOUR BEST
” Is success dependent more upon ability or opportunity? ”
” Of course, opportunity is necessary. You couldn’t run a mammoth department store on the desert of Sahara. But, given the possibility, the right man can make his opportunity, and should do so, if it is not at hand, or does not come, after reasonable waiting. Even Napoleon had to wait for his. On the other hand, if there is no ability, none can display itself, and the best opportunity must pass by unimproved. The true way is to first develop your ability to the last ounce, and then you will be ready for your opportunity, when it comes, or to make one, if none offers.”
A BOAT BUILDER IN YOUTH
“You must have been quite young, when you began to build boats?”
“About thirteen or fourteen years old. You see, my father was an amateur boat-builder, in a small way, and did very good work, but usually not for sale. But I began the work as a business thirty-six years ago, when I was about twenty-two. ”
HE WOULD NOT BE DISCOURAGED
“You must have been terribly handicapped by your blindness.”
“It was an obstacle, but I simply would not allow it to discourage me, and did my best, just the same as if I could see. My mother had taught me to think, and so I made thought and memory take the place of eyes. I acquired a kind of habit of mental projection which has enabled me to see models in my mind, as it were, and to consider their good and bad points intelligently. Besides, I cultivated my powers of observation to the utmost, in other respects. Even now, I take an occasional trip of observation, for I like to see what others are doing, and so keep abreast of the progress of the age. But I must stop or I shall get to ‘ talking shop/ the thing I declined to do at first.
THE SUM OF IT ALL
“The main thing for a boy is to have a good mother, to heed her advice, to do his best, and not get a ‘swelled head ‘ as he rises, in other words, not to expect to put a gallon into a pint cup, or a bushel into a peck measure. Concentration, decision, industry and economy should be his watchwords, and invincible determination and persistence his rule of action.”
With another cordial handshake, he bade me good-by.