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Old Gorgon Graham: More Letters from a…

Old Gorgon Graham: More Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1903)

by George Horace Lorimer

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Well if this isn't the best example of mansplaining that I've ever seen, I don't know what is. Not that all the "splaining" is bad. It isn't. It gives a good example of the morals and business ideas of the business class in 1900s America. It also reflects some of the attitudes and prejudices of the time in a casual, not purposeful, way. This means that as a woman, I may scoff a bit while reading. As a person of the 21st century, I can be glad that our society looks down on derogatory names for various groups of people. As a daughter, I can be glad that my father never wrote letters like these. He taught me through his life, not lecturing.

For instance: In the last letter of the book, he is responding to his son's announcement that his wife has had a baby boy. Old Gorgon Graham spends one page (smallish pages, lots of borders and white space with a biggish font) saying how happy he is for himself to be a grandparent. The next sixteen pages admonishing about how to raise the boy to be a sound businessman and what is wrong with the business world of "today" (1900), and why he fears that his heirs will never be as fine a man as he himself is.

I can imagine the groans of his son every time he had to open another letter from his father. I still enjoyed the book enough to finish reading it. There is amusement in the examples given, and some quite sound advice, if anyone ever listens to advice. ( )
  MrsLee | May 26, 2019 |
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From a son to his father
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Dear Pierrepont: I'm sorry you ask so many questions that you haven't a right to ask, because you put yourself in the position of the inquisitive bull-pup who started out to smell the third rail on the trolley right-of-way -- you're going to be full of information in a minute.
In the first place, it looks as if business might be pretty good this fall, and I'm afraid you'll have your hands so full in your place as assistant manager of the lard department that you won't have time to run my job, too.
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