Annie Fellows Johnson Scrapbook - Newspaper "clippings" 1919

 Annie Fellows Johnston Scrapbook
Newspaper "Clippings" 1919


Louisville Courier-Journal, March 2, 1919, Marse Henry Edition:

Henry Watterson (1840-1921), was the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper.   "Marse Henry,"  Watterson's autobiography was published in 1919.  

Gifted Of the Gods, Says                    
                    Annie Fellows Johnston

When a man is born great, the stars bestow their largess regardless of the month in which his horoscope is cast. Henry Watterson was born in February, but Mars' month endowed him with the war god's signet --- the bloodstone. Since which time a Martian courage has been "the jewel of his soul."

In recalling his long and distinguished career as a journalist one naturally thinks first of his fearlessness of utterance. In every national crisis since he has wielded a pen, his editorial columns have flamed like the handwriting on the wall in the palace of ancient Babylon. Whenever some political Belshazzar has risen up to make too free with the sacred vessels of party ideals and traditions, "In the same hour came forth the fingers of a man's hand and wrote upon the wall.

It makes no difference whether his verdict of "weighed and found wanting" reflects the flame of universal opinion or happens to be only the sulphurous glow of some personal animosity. In either case it is always fearless, always fiery and always makes interesting reading.

But the bloodstone is not the only gift of the gods. February's amethyst is his birthstone, as it was Washington's and Lincoln's, and he shares with them not only that symbol of superiority, but certain attributes which give him a unique place among his fellows.

Though his fortunes never called him to be the leader of all the people any part of his time, he has led a goodly percentage of them all the time, whether they were aware of the fact or not. And he has done this not as a General directing an army arbitrarily assigned to him, but as the bugle rallying men to the colors by its own irresistible appeal and sounding the "Charge!" with soul-impelling voice. 

Few men realize how largely their opinions are shaped and actions prompted by the "line upon line and precept upon precept" method of their favorite daily papers. An editor is like one who sows acorns. He can never hope to see his full harvest, nor can he even adequately dream what giant oaks may arise in time from his planting. Nice growth of civic sentiment is seldom of Jack-and-the-beanstalk quickness. More often it is as gradual as the growth of an oak, and rarely is either crop accredited to the hand which planted the acorn or the ideal and kept the soil stirred around it.

Great achievement in any line must be accorded its proper meed of purple and ermine. But lest some look askance at even the mere words suggesting royalty, in these days when dynasties are in disfavor and kings cried out upon, let it be said that there is a kind of royalty which the most democratic cannot gainsay. That is the sovereignty of the born leader.

There are certain units of measurement which do not change. We have held to them from the time men dressed in skins. We, still count by candlepower in this age of electricity, and the word "sword" will not depart from common speech though war be wiped out forever, because it has stood for ages as the symbol of combat. So, too, in our choice of chiefs we continue to measure them as our tribal ancestors did. We hand. the scepter to the one among us of highest stature or greatest prowess.

In his own especial field who stands higher than our "H. W."? Who, through a long lifetime, has shown greater skill in shaping the public mind to the truth as he sees it? His slogans have the force and directness of barbed arrows. His perennial vigor of phrase and charm of diction compel the admiration of the whole reading public --- even that portion of it which needs must swear while it reads, because from its partisan viewpoint it sees him as a toreador, coming forth with a flutter of red, to start a general shaking of horns.

He is one of our distinguished national figures whom the most brilliant and representative men of other lands esteem it a privilege to meet. America is a bit shy about giving a man his full meed of applause until he has passed into history. But the country which made a mecca of Mount Vernon and enshrined a lowly log cabin in walls of protecting granite will do full honor to this indomitable knight.  In her "Hall of the Shields" she is keeping a high place for the name and arms of Watterson.

 

 

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