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The Training of a Secretary:
 Mechanical Helps

 Filing Room And Library

 Overlapping With Other Officers

 The Private Secretary

 The Social Secretary

 The Building And Loan Association Secretary

 For Any Secretary


 Famous Secretaries And Their Careers

 In General

 Read More Articles About: The Training of a Secretary

Famous Secretaries And Their Careers

( Originally Published 1922 )

Aaron was the secretary of Moses, his brother. Moses was " slow of speech and of a slow tongue ", while Aaron could " speak well ", and Moses "put words in his mouth". He was the spokesman of Moses " unto the people ".

" The good Turpin ", Archbishop of Rheims, friend and secretary of Charlemagne, was one of his, approximately twelve Paladins or Peers whose adventurous careers of defeat and conquest kept Europe in a turmoil during the latter part of the eighth century. W hen the good Turpin was not occupied in secretarial or pastoral duties he slew Saracens and other infidels. He was a man of great executive ability. He was also an excellent recorder. His reputed History of Charles the Great and Orlando is most interesting if true or even if not true.

Macaulay in his famous essay on Croker's edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson says

" The deficiency of the natural demand for literature was at the close of the seventeenth and at the begining of the eighteenth century, more than made up by artificial encouragement, by a vast system of bounties and premiums. There was, perhaps, never a time at which the rewards of literary merit were so splendid. * * * * * * Rowe was not only Poet Laureate but also land-surveyor of the customs in the port of London, clerk of the council to the Prince of Wales, and secretary of the Presentations to the Lord Chancellor. Hughes was secretary to the Commissions of the Peace. Gay, who commenced life as apprentice to a silk mercer, became a secretary of legation at five-and twenty. Tickel was secretary to the Lords Justices of Ire-land. Addison was secretary of state "

William Windham, a statesman contemporary with Samuel Johnson, once ex-pressed, as Boswell says, " some modest and virtuous doubts " whether he ought to accept the post of Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland because of the dubious practices supposed to be necessary to the holding of that office. The answer he had from Johnson, with a pleasant smile, was, " Don't be afraid, sir, you will soon make a very pretty rascal."

Alexander Hamilton, one of the most striking characters in American history, was a student of King's College now Columbia University. He was Washington's confidential secretary and assisted him in planning campaigns, in devising means for the support of the army and in other serious matters. He was the Receiver-General of Continental taxes, a member of the Continental Congress from New York and of the convention which met in Philadelphia to form a Federal Constitution.

When the Treasury Department was established in 1789 Washington appointed Hamilton its first Secretary. Later he declined the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and returned to the practice of law. He became the leader of the New York bar. An eloquent speaker and brilliant essayist, courageous, logical and persuasive, burning with zeal for his, country, his influence was powerful in shaping the destinies of the American Republic then in the throes of formation.

A noteworthy example of a successful secretary, successful in any sense, in every sense of the term, was John Hay, statesman. He was a graduate of Brown University, studied law under Abraham Lincoln, was one of his private secretaries and his adjutant during the Civil War.

He was Secretary of Legation at Paris, chargé d'affaires at Vienna and Secretary of Legation at Madrid; a journalist and political speaker, a writer of excellent poems and notable books.

In 1897 he was appointed Minister to England and in 1898 Secretary of State where he dealt with some of the most important problems of modern days. At the time of the Boxer uprising he was responsible for the " open door " policy in China, standing firmly for justice for that country and the maintenance of the integrity of the Chinese Empire.

With the greatest patience and after bit-ter opposition he worked out with Sir Julian Pauncefote, ambassador from Great Britain, the treaty known as the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty with respect to the Panama Canal, which finally met the approval of the United States and Great Britain.

Mr. Hay's poetry is delightful, his Castilian Days is the best reference book on Spain in English and his Life of Abraham Lincoin written in collaboration with J. G. Nicolay is the recognized authority on Lincoln.

There are many organizations in the State of Pennsylvania of which its inhabitants are justly proud. Of these I shall take two notable examples. The first, on account of its far reaching economic importance and because it is recognized as the world's model common-carrier, is The Pennsylvania Rail-road Company; the second (and here I must exercise restraint) , because of the reputation of its product, " Baldwin " being a household word throughout the globe, is The Baldwin Locomotive Works. I like to think of the careers of' two gentlemen of secretarial instincts, of my own acquaintance who had in their day much to do with the success of these two great corporations.

John Clark Sims, Jr., secretary of The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was born in 1845. He was a, graduate of the College and of the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania. After several years of travel abroad and a period of practice at the Bar he entered the service of The Pennsylvania Railroad and in due course was made its secretary., The twenty years of his incumbency of the office until his death in 1901 were mighty ones in the growth and progress of the Company during which the intelligence, experience and the personality of its secretary gave distinction to his position and added lustre to the already splendid reputation of the railroad, of which he was the faithful and devoted employee. He was a trustee of his University for sixteen years and for a part of that time the president of its athletic association, a manager of its hospital, the president of a boys' school, a member of several clubs and societies, a director of certain Trust Companies and last but not least a founder and first president, in 1872, of a well-known, and unique Philadelphia organization, The Orpheus Club. His honest blue eyes ,looked you very frankly in the face when in conversation. He was a very human person, a genial gentleman, who will not be forgotten by any one who was ' honored by his friendship or even his acquaintance.

There are some points of similarity between the careers of John Clark Sims and John Heman Converse who was for many years the president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. He was born in 1840 and entered the University of Vermont in 1857, from which he graduated in 1861 with the classical education of that day. The next three years he was occupied in editorial and reportorial work including printing, telegraphy and stenography, then in its infancy in this country. From 1864 to 1870 he was employed by the Chicago and Northwestern Railway and The Pennsylvania Railroad Company as secretary to Dr. Edward H. Williams, also a graduate of the University of Vermont, In 1870 Dr. Williams became a member of the firm of M. Baird and Company, proprietors of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Mr. Converse was employed in the offices of the Works and in 1873 he was admitted to the firm, becoming in effect its business manager and eventually its president.

Mr. Converse was director or officer of almost countless financial, civic and benevolent institutions, a trustee of a hospital and secretary of its Board, a member of many clubs and societies including the American Philosophical Society. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a trustee of the University of Vermont which conferred upon him the honorary 'degree of LL. D. There were few beneficent activities in Philadelphia in which he was not interested and he became known throughout the country and beyond the seas for his philanthropies.

Mr. Converse was a patron of the fine arts (I have a positive dislike for that expression yet it is a usual one. The idea of patronizing a fine art!) and possessed an excellent collection of paintings. Like Mr. Sims he was fond of music, and played the violin with considerable skill. He was a courtly gentleman and most agreeable companion, a man of great force of character.

I have yet to come in contact with a more admirable business man than Mr. Converse, I mean a man with a more logical mind or of sounder judgment. When he had in his cool, dispassionate way marshalled all the facts in a case and deduced a conclusion therefrom, it was almost infallibly correct. He had a passion for work and the faculty of disposing of it with astonishing celerity.

Charles Lang Freer of Detroit, was born in Kingston, New York, in 1856. He was educated in the public schools of Ulster County. In later life he had conferred upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts by the University of Michigan. When young he was interested in the management of a small railroad in the Catskills and after-wards in one in Indiana known as the Eel River Railroad. Upon the absorption of the latter by the Wabash Railroad, he moved to Detroit and with Colonel Frank Joseph Hecker, later a member of the Isthmian Canal Commission, and other friends, formed the Peninsular Car Works, of which he was secretary. In this and in other business he amassed a fortune which enabled him to gather together a superb collection of works of art.

In 1904 he offered to the United States Government, through the Smithsonian Institution, his entire collection which he stipulated should remain in his possession until his death, with power on his part to add to it at will. In 1906 the presentation was made. He appropriated $1,000,000 for the erection of a building in Washington known as the Freer Gallery of Art, which was begun in 1916 and practically completed in 1920.

In June 1920, Congress passed a small appropriation which made possible the establishment of a National Gallery of Art as an independent bureau under the administration of the Smithsonian Institution. Of this the Freer collection will become a unit. Unfortunately, Mr. Freer died in 1919 before the completion of his plans for the public good reached full fruition.

Mr. Freer's gift to the Nation includes the following:

Some thirty paintings in oil and pastel by Thomas W. Dewing. Other paintings by Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, J. Gari Melchers, John S. Sargent, Joseph L. Smith, Abbott H. Thayer, John H. Twachtman ; forty-eight paintings by Dwight W. Tryon and a gorgeous collection of some sixty-two paintings in oil, forty-four in water color, thirty-two in pastel and many hundreds of drawings, sketches, wood engravings, etchings, dry points and lithographs by James A. McNeill Whistler. It also includes the famous Peacock Room designed by Mr. Whistler as a setting for his painting, La Princesse; and splendid groups of oriental art consisting of paintings and panels, screens and kakemonos, pottery, bronzes, sculpture and carvings, glass, lacquer and jades, iron work and ivory.

The collection and its housing represent an outlay of some five millions of dollars.

Examples of men who have done notable secretarial work during or in the course of their lives may be multiplied without end. Any one who reads this book will recall such examples and he has but to look about him for others, of living men who are or will be equally distinguished.

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