The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans As Told By Themselves

Hamilton Holt

THE INDEPENDENT has published during the last four years about seventy-five autobiographies of undistinguished American men and women. The aim of each autobiography was to typify the life of the average worker in some particular vocation, and to make each story the genuine experience of a real person. From this list have been selected the following sixteen lives as most representative of the humbler classes in the nation, and of individuals whose training and work have been the most diverse. Thus we have the story of the butcher, the sweatshop worker, the bootblack, the push-cart peddler, the lumber man, the dressmaker, the nurse girl, the cook, the cotton-picker, the head-hunter, the trained nurse, the editor, the minister, the butler and the laundryman. They also represent the five great races of mankind, the white, yellow, red, brown and black, and include immigrants from Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Greece,

Syria, China and Japan. I am aware that some of these autobiographies, or "lifelets," are crude from a literary point of view, but they all have a deep human interest and perhaps some sociological importance.




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