Bok, Edward William

Bok, Edward William,

1863–1930, American editor, b. Helder, Netherlands. His family emigrated to the United States in 1870. He founded the Brooklyn Magazine (later Cosmopolitan) in 1883. As editor (1889–1919), he made the Ladies' Home Journal a leading American magazine for women, introducing serious articles and crusades to a medium previously restricted to light entertainment. Bok published fiction by Howells, Twain, Bret Harte, and Kipling and articles by several American Presidents. Of the books he wrote, his autobiographical Americanization of Edward Bok (1920) was the most popular and won a Pulitzer Prize. He engaged in various philanthropic activities, including the erection of the Bok Singing Tower, a carillon in Iron Mountain, Fla., and the endowment of the Woodrow Wilson professorship of literature at Princeton.
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Bok, Edward William

(1863–1930) editor, author; born in den Helder, the Netherlands. Emigrating to Brooklyn, N.Y., with his struggling family in 1870, he quit school at age 13 to help out, doing office work, writing reviews for the Brooklyn Eagle, and eventually editing a church magazine. In 1884, with a partner, he started a syndicate that sold women's features to newspapers; he also wrote and distributed literary pieces of his own. In 1889 he was hired by Cyrus H. K. Curtis (whose daughter he later married) as editor of the Ladies' Home Journal. During his 30-year tenure he acquired top authors, from Rudyard Kipling to Theodore Roosevelt, and developed innovative features and services to readers, displaying an intuitive sense for his audience's interests. By 1900 the Ladies' Home Journal had the highest circulation of any U.S. magazine. Having accumulated a personal fortune, Bok retired in 1919, devoting himself to writing and philanthropy. His autobiography, The Americanization of Edward Bok (1920), was a best-seller and won a Pulitzer Prize.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.