Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941

Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941

Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941

Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941

Excerpt

DANIEL BERKELEY UPDIKE was a creature of circumstances. Circumstances--genealogical, geographical, chronological --beyond any human control or conscious or deliberate direction, steered him unwittingly into the course of his life that led uninterruptedly while he was barely entered upon middle life to a preeminent position in the business that he had been led into and the craft that he managed without having been trained to its intricacies.

The reader who admires Updike's achievements and aspires to emulate them should be forewarned. He exemplifies none of the normal, and true, rules that ordinarily control human undertakings. Nothing in his inheritance influenced the direction of his lifework. His formal education stopped, incompleted. His first job in the field where he stayed to the end, was secured for him by a relative anxious for his well-being. Securely established with unsurpassed opportunities, he quit and set up for himself. With scant capital for independence, he was dissatisfied with the work of those upon whom he was dependent in the craft that he had chosen to ally himself with, and set up a complete establishment in order to have things done his own way.

Throughout, he did things his own way or not at all. He declined to do anything for anybody of whom he disapproved. He endeavored to keep his word, but he meant to make no promises that took precedence on satisfaction, his own personal satisfaction, with what went out over his name. Everything, including success, reputation, sufficient prosperity, followed from stubborn, undeviating adherence to this determination to do nothing that did not satisfy his own strict standards. It proved to be sufficient unto death, at the age of eighty-one.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, on February 24, 1860, Updike's schooling stopped after his father's death October 9, 1877. When the librarian of a local subscription library was taken ill, he helped out for a few months during the emergency. In the spring of 1880 he went to . . .

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