It is with great pleasure that I comply with the request of the artist to whose happy thought we owe this presentation of the „Street Types of Great American Cities,“ to introduce by a few explanatory words the creations of his muse to the general public. It has been said that the American cities have no individuality of their own; that the visitor who has tarried a few weeks in one of the larger centers of population can well save all further time and trouble in studying other cities, as every city is but a copy of every other, all being built on one and the same monotonous plan and all showing the same general features without essential variations. This generalization is more brilliant than true. On the surface, indeed, our large emporia may in so far differ from the European capitals as having all, without exception, arisen from similar historical conditions, and, being devoted to industrial or mercantile enterprises, they lack that differentiated flavor of varied historical associations, and do not display the impress of individual minds and wills which are more or less to be expected where the monarch and not the people, where military considerations and not the necessities of commercial activities, where the interests of the court and not the wants of the toilers are the prime considerations. But with all these historic factors, decisive and weighty no doubt, the patient observer, not content to abide by surface impressions, will speedily learn to his great gratification that within the general similarity due to these causes our American cities still own qualities which at once mark them off as distinct not only from the towns of Europe, but also one from the other.

Who will despise the day of small things? The men who meet us in this book are not of the order of those who control the destinies of a city by the vastness of the enterprises they direct, but all of them in their modest sphere contribute their mite to the active rush which ebbs and flows along our busy thoroughfares. Many of the figures which in this collection extend to us their welcome greeting are old acquaintances of ours, nay, friends whose occasional absence from their wonted haunts and places incite concern for their well-being. None of them but brings us something, be it the hard-pressed letter-carrier or the sooty coalman; be it the musician or the pedlar; they belong to us. Who would miss them? In their very countenances is mingled selfreliance with the desire to be of help to others, and on all is painted the determination to make the most of what opportunity offers. The artist has caught the inspiration of his subjects. This book can therefore not fail to commend itself as a most valuable souvenir. A deep thinker it was who said, within the shell was the animal, behind the book the man. His sentiment applies to cities as well. Behind the piles of iron and steel and granite and mortar are the men. These much more than the edifices which they erect are characteristic of a city. And these humble street types are without doubt to be numbered among the men and women who have made and are making our Great Cities; they are the promise of still greater achievements to be garnered in the near future.


Dieses Kapitel ist Teil des Buches STREET TYPES GREAT AMERICAN CITIES


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