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The explanation here suggested of the outburst of uplift enthusiasm may not be correct. But it serves to introduce that promotion of the reading habit which has been one of the more important products of that outburst.

Here and there and everywhere have been organized for social betterment groups of persons, altruistically possessed and seeing visions of a world made better by the changes that a crusade along some narrow line can produce. All these voluntarily organized groups, some of them chartered corporations, some supported by “foundations”, and some supported by annual contributions of sympathizers, issue publications. These range from a modest occasional leaflet to pamphlets and books, and appear in editions, some of scores and some of millions. The organizations themselves number several thousand, and their ranks are added to constantly. Their printed output is spread broadcast. Much of it is of high value; much of it has to do with topics important to every household; much of it reaches the humblest homes; and from it comes no small influence toward reading, acquisition of knowledge and thinking.

The Federal Government, State governments, city and town and county governments, colleges, universities, school boards, banks, insurance companies, manufacturing corporations, railroads, steamship companies and institutions and organizations of many other kinds have discovered in recent years that the world reads; that leaflets and pamphlets, even though tossed aside by the majority, are read by the minority, and that the name of that minority is millions. In many cases the last impetus toward publication by these organizations has come from the same altruistic movement that has brought upon us the flood of uplift societies. Perhaps it is in part this altruistic touch which has led to the effort to make many of these publications beautiful, attractive, scientifically based and helpful in countless ways.

Trade, technical, class and professional journals now number about five thousand. Fifty years ago there were less than one hundred of them. Of these journals, the “house organ” has been in existence only a few years, is not enumerated in any national directory of periodicals, and has to excess the habit of being born and dying. The very fact that it is new and still unknown

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to many, added to the fact that it is widely read and interests intensely many thousands of men of affairs, makes it peculiarly worthy of mention. House organs are usually published by corporations to promote production or sales, and are addressed solely to employees or customers. Quite often they are of such quality as to make them appeal to all persons of intelligence into whose hands they fall. The part these journals play in increasing the sum total of information is illustrated by this bit of history: A western firm made and sold many different kinds of oil. These oils were so varied in character and adapted to so many special and well defined uses, that salesmen found it difficult so to acquaint themselves with them all as to sell them all intelligently. Thereupon the general manager issued monthly a small journal, pocket size, devoted chiefly to telling salesmen what it was they were trying to sell. It was so cleverly written that it attracted the attention of buyers and users of oils; and then, because its remarks were largely of wide application in the business field, of business men in all lines. Its circulation soon ran up into the thousands, and quite directly it increased, beyond all precedent and almost beyond belief, the sales of the products of the corporation which published it.

This story of a modest house organ illustrates the thesis that the products of the printing press are producing effects in the field of general intelligence much greater than is commonly supposed. The trade, technical, professional and class journals, of which house organs form one of the less important groups, cover well-nigh every phase of human endeavor. In Ayer's Newspaper Annual they are classified into two hundred and fifty groups. Among them are publications for doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, chemists, builders, janitors, barbers, bakers, broommakers and scores of other kinds of workers. Some are issued for manufacturers and some for workers. The automobile industry alone has a hundred and fourteen journals.

Another people's primer is the mail order catalogue. One of the larger mail order houses issues twice each year seven million copies of books of about a thousand pages each, listing and describing thousands of objects, and illustrated with ten thousand pictures. These books are read and studied everywhere. Their

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influence as promoters of the habit of reading and of the acquisition of knowledge, must be prodigious. That influence is supplemented by catalogues issued and widely distributed by stores which do a direct-by-mail business; and is supplemented again by descriptive circulars sent broadcast by distributors of special appliances and by publishers of books and journals.

Consider the typewriter. A few years ago all correspondence was hand written. The typewriter did not come into use until about 1880. The number of typewriters produced each year in this country alone is now nearly a million. Add to this, mimeographs, cyclostyles, multigraphs and other duplicating machines, some capable of reproducing typed letters at the rate of thousands per hour, and it is not surprising that letter mail, first class, grew from about one billion pieces yearly in 1880, when typewriters began to be widely used, to about eleven billions in 1920. All the machines just mentioned produce print and not script; the print they produce is far greater in quantity than was ever the script which they made well nigh obsolete. They now compel every business man and the countless office staffs of modern business to acquire the print reading habit and high skill in its practice.

The typewriter not only compels adults to acquire greater skill in reading and to take on the reading habit; it is also a teacher of reading for the young. Typewriting is taught in thousands of schools, is learned as an aid in school work even where it is not given as a school study, and is each year learned by more young people in their homes. The normal child takes naturally to the art of printing, with a typewriter for type, ink and press. Soon it will not be necessary for children to learn to write well by hand. They will all use typewriters, and will use typed symbols of speech and thought instead of written ones, and will inevitably become ready readers of print.

It may seem a long way from typing letters to the easy reading of a novel, a history or a volume on psychology. But the distance between the two is in fact short. To show that it is so, one need only refer to a few well-known facts. The normal child is born with the complete apparatus for seeing, hearing and talking. He can and does learn quite easily to understand the moving show of the world, and to understand what he hears of spoken

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words, and to talk intelligently. But the normal child is not born with apparatus which can readily be adapted to reading. For reading he must use his native powers in a manner to which time and a selective survival have not adapted them. The typewriter increases enormously our daily practices in that use.

The schools form one of the prime factors for increasing the consumption of print. I do not put the schools, as makers of readers, before the printing press, the newspaper, the periodical, and the pamphlet, because, after all, the industrial mechanism from which comes our present flood of print is the first cause of increase in reading. It is print that has made our schools

possible. They give to most children a modest skill in reading; but it is the never ceasing and ever growing impulse of the printed page that is compelling us to think of reading as an essential part of living

I mention electric lighting as a factor in the growth of reading, merely to call attention to the existence of many factors which space is lacking to consider here. The movie gives to millions daily the pleasure of absorbing romances through the eyes without the interposition of print. No one knows whether it will strengthen the reading habit or no. On first view it seems to promote aimless seeing and idle talking, and to make commonplace life a little more attractive, while leaving it essentially commonplace still. Perhaps it increases novel reading; but that is doubtful. Still more doubtful is it if it increases the reading of thought provoking books. Students of mind assure us that only those whose brains are equipped at birth with apparatus which is capable of functioning in thought can do any thinking. There remains, none the less, the possibility that a brain which has not yet gone in for thinking may have the apparatus for that performance and that the apparatus has not received from the outer world such stimulation, in words, pictures, incidents or experiences, as would set it in operation. It is possible also that the brains of some, and perhaps of many, do not go about the task of thinking unless and until a certain specific kind of brain content has been acquired. Perhaps some of us are led to think, and inevitably to read, by the movies.

As the movie became popular the number of books lent by

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public libraries decreased. This decrease was accompanied by a slightly increased demand for those novels, chiefly of the baser sort, which were pictured in local movie theaters. Evidence is entirely lacking that what are called “educational films” aroused any

demand whatever for books on the countries, cities, processes or histories depicted by them. The “speaking film”, meaning a moving picture accompanied by a phonographic reproduction of the words spoken by the actors, will undoubtedly soon be perfected. Will it be an even more effective discourager of reading than is the present silent movie? It may be assumed that it will. It can bring to the remotest hamlet, as to the great cities, not only the present type of condensed story; but also the spoken drama and the opera in proper setting, with the very words and intonation of the singers and musicians and actors.

The radio now brings news, oratory and music to the ears of millions and promises soon to do the same for well-nigh our whole population. Of its influence on reading and thinking one can say little more than has just been said concerning the movie. Both, it should be noted, are the outcome of the wide dissemination of print and increase of the habit of using it.

While new and more attractive methods of locomotion increase travel and decrease the use of print; and while more all pervading methods of projecting sound, including speech and music, increase the use of the auditory centers in gaining pleasure and information; and while better and cheaper methods of reproducing still pictures and photographs of the world in motion, all help to furnish information without reading, they lead us at the same time to somewhat of reading. Indeed, all factors that increase human intercourse and add to the total of general information, help to diffuse print more widely, and tend to make it more accurate and in some degree more insistent on being read. Furthermore, though countless hours are now devoted to listening to sounds and to absorbing pictured stories, there is scant evidence that these hours were devoted, before the coming of these days of talk and pictures, to reading of any kind.

And, again, the inquiring mind is now brought readily into touch with answers to its inquiries. Every day it is more and more difficult for facts to remain in seclusion and unimparted.

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