putterings       393   <   394   >   395       index

high places, small jobs

      “But they have the joy of their work,” Bruce replied quickly. “We can’t measure their success just by their income.”
      “Oh, I grant you that! But many of the doors of prosperity and happiness are denied them.”
      “But others are open! Think of the sense of service a physician must feel in helping and saving. And even a puttering architect who can’t create masterpieces has the fun of doing his small jobs well. He lives the life he wants to live. There are painters and musicians who know they can never reach the high places; but they live the life! They starve and are happy!”

ex Meredith Nicholson, The Hope of Happiness (1923) : 188-189 : link
same (U Virginia) copy/scan via hathitrust : link

  1. Meredith Nicholson (1866-1947), Indiana writer (assisted in writing by his first wife), later, ambassador to Paraguay, Venezuela and Nicaragua (1933-41)
    wikipedia : link
  2. Ralph D. Gray, “Hoosier Author as Diplomat : Meredith Nicholson in Latin America, 1933-1941,” in Indiana Magazine of History (102) (December 2006) : link (jstor)
    have not seen Ralph D. Gray, Meredith Nicholson : A Writing Life (2007)
  3. Otis Notman, “Two Novelists and a Lawyer; Mr. Meredith Nicholson of the Indiana Coterie of Writers — Mr. Arthur Train Declares He Is Not a Literary Man — Mr. Winston Churchill.” New York Times (March 23, 1907) : link (paywall)

  4. It was through that Otis Notman piece that I first encountered Nicholson. Notman was a pseudonym for Madeleine Zabriskie Doty (1877-1963), who was writing a column on books and writers during the years 1906-07, when she was also practicing law (!). (I had been intrigued by her discussion (in one of those pieces, April 20, 1907) of Norah Davis, of Huntsville Alabama, novelist and clerk in a Federal District Court). Doty : Smith College 1900 (would have known Jeanette (Mrs Gerald Stanley) Lee, who was teaching there); writer, lawyer, activist for juvenile and women’s prison reform, pacifist, educator...
  5. more on Notman/Doty (and her activist milieu) in Gerald W. McFarland, Inside Greenwich Village : A New York City Neighborhood, 1898-1918 (2005) : link (google books, some preview pages)
  6. “Madeleine Doty, Women’s Leader; Headed League for Peace and Freedom; Dies at 86,” New York Times (October 16, 1963) : link (paywall)
    fails to mention her writing for the Times.
  7. Madeline Z. Doty papers
    Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History / Madeleine Z. Doty papers / SSC-MS-00049 / link (finding aid, overview including biography)
  8. Fran Becque, her post at Fraternity History & More, “Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, Alpha Omicron Pi, #NotableSororityWomen, on Founders’ Day” (January 2, 2023) : link

8 February 2024