Beautiful certificate from the Porcupine Publishing Corporation
issued in 1917. This historic document was printed by the W. H. Perrin & Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of the Statue of Liberty. This item has the original signatures of the Company's President, James Lauren Ford and Secretary, and is over 96 years old.
James Lauren Ford was a humorist and author, who for many years was literary critic of the old New York Herald. At the age of 16 he came to New York and started his more than half century of writing for the Railway Gazette. In his book, Forty-Odd Years in the Literary Shop, he told with his characteristic satiric humor and shrewd observation of his manifold experiences as an author in this city.
From the New York Times, 27 Feb 1928, pg. 19:
JAMES L. FORD, AUTHOR, 73, DEAD
Humorist and Critic Cheerful to End, Despite Blindness and Amputation of Legs.
James Lauren Ford, humorist and author, who for many years was literary critic of the old New York Herald, died yesterday in the south Side Hospital at Bay Shore, L.I., after ten years of invalidism that included blindness and the amputation of both legs, which he bore to the end with cheerful heroism. He was 73 years old. He is survived by a sister, Miss Mary K. Ford, with whom he lived at Brookhaven, L.I. Funeral services will be held in the Church of the Epiphany, Lexington Avenue and Thirty-fifth Street, at 2 P.M. on Wednesday.
Born in St. Louis, a son of James K. and Louisa Livermore Ford, James L. Ford attended a school in Stockbridge, Mass. At the age of 16 he came to New York and started his half century and more of writing with a job on the Railway Gazette. In his book, "Forty-odd Years in the Literary Shop," published in 1923, he told with his characteristic satiric humor and shrewd observation of his manifold experiences as an author in this city.
Mr. Ford's service with the Herald ended with the sale of the newspaper to Frank A. Munsey. Since then he had been a "free lance," writing for magazines and newspapers many kinds of articles and reviews, the latter chiefly concerned with books. Ten years ago it was necessary to cut off one of his legs, and three years afterward the other. Two years ago he became blind. But he did not cease writing until five weeks ago, a few days before the doctors ordered him to the hospital. And this beginning of the end of his long fight came shortly after the happiest day of his life, when he was brought up to the city to a friend's house and was made the guest of honor at a celebration attended by nearly every important man and woman in the literary and dramatic worlds of the city.
From the New York Times, 2 Mar 1928, pg. 22:
THE LATE JAMES L. FORD
To the Editor of the New York Times:
I was interested in THE TIMES editorial on James Laurens Ford. How can one do justice to his heroic spirit that has gone to a reward which must, indeed, be great if it is to compensate for the bitter misfortune that, in his later days, wrecked his body but did not break his will? I wish some golden pen might write the record of those later days. There surely would be inspiration for the sick-at-heart and the afflicted in the example of high resolve and sublime courage of the man. And yet Jim Ford would have laughed at the idea of being called a hero, and would have indignantly denied that life had not paid him in full. In truth few men have got so much from living.
Nevertheless, to us who knew him he was a hero, for we know what the loss of sight and motion meant to a man whose greatest joy must have been to look into the eyes of his friends and to move about among them.
To visit him was a pure delight--a joyous benediction. One basked in the sunlight of his presence and never did the monstrous afflictions which the brutal hand of fate had meted out to him ever intrude upon these visits. For every physical deprivation his triumphant spirit seemed to take to itself a double toll of sweetness and light. Who ever visited that cheerful little cottage in Brookhaven and did not come away invigorated by the cool, refreshing breath of his personality? If ever a man was master of his fate and captain of his soul that man was James Laurens Ford.
........WALTER P. HENSHAW
........Gladstone, N.J., Feb 28, 1928
Reported in "The Editor: The Journal of Information for Literary Workers, Volume 45" 1917
The Porcupine, 211 West Thirty-Third Street, New York, N. Y., James L. Ford, editor, writes: . "The Porcupine will print informative and satirical articles and stories of moderate length. I do not care for anything more than eight hundred words. I am on the look out for new writers of unexploited talent, and I will remark that they are as scarce as hen's teeth." The first number of The Porcupine has just appeared, dated May, 1917.
In the first number the editor has the following announcements: "In this, the first number of the magazine that beart. his name, the Porcupine comes out into the openŚquip, jest and pleasing casuistry on his lips, but in his heart a grim purpose that will seek expression through his quills. For he has come into the arena to do his bit in the great battle for human libertyŚa battle in which our nation is destined to play a part worthy of itfl most splendid traditions. The Porcupine believes that he has chosen a singularly opportune moment for his appearance on the scene. The wave of patriotic feeling that has been slowly gathering headway since the Lusitania murders is sweeping over the entire country, submerging the weakened Pacifists, driving from their holes the plotting reservists, the traitorous filibusters and pro-Germans and others of the reptilian species, and throwing its whole weight into the fight.
It is on that great wave that the Porcupine launches his frail craft. That a publication devoted largely to the lighter and more ridiculous phases of modern life, to satirical comment on life, literature and the stage, should expect
to wield an influence in the serious affairs of the nation, may seem absurd to those who have never considered the extraordinary power of such periodicals as Puck in its prime, Punch from its foundation down to the present day, and continental journals equally forceful, id the days of Keppler and Bunner, Puck contained sixteen pages, one of which was devoted to serious editorials that were carefully read by thinking men of every shade of political belief. There were also one or two cartoons, and the rest of the paper was frankly comic. Yet that journal, arriving like Blucher at Waterloo, in the very nick of time on the field of a close political contest, aided materially in the election of a presided The cartoon that appears in every issu of Punch has proved the corner-stone of that journal's prosperity. A book containing these cartoons which was published many years ago, is a pictorial his-l tory of English politics for the period] that it covers.
A paper that is made up of propaganda and nothing else, will fine but few readers, while one that is merely funny is without influence." "In one respect at least, the Porcupine hopes to model himself after the influential organs just named. He will try to attract by his qualities of entertainment, by his freedom from mendacious, insincere puffery of bad art, unworthy men and corrupt measures. He will endeavor td challenge the honest laughter of the wise and right-minded by his dextrous pricking of some of the bladders that have floated too long and too conspicuously on the metropolitan sea of glory; and even while entertaining, to command the respect of his readers by telling the truth." "It is quite in order to enquire* of the Porcupine whether he favorg the slap-stick school of humor or something of a higher appeal. To this he would reply that wit and wisdom are almost synonymous terms, or, to speak more exactly, wit is simply wisdom arrayed in fine verbal apparel. Externally there is a difference between a chapter of AmJ erican history by John Fiske and a few remarks by Heinrich Heine, but the essence of wisdom underlies them both and gives them their real value."
History of the City of New York, 1609-1909:
ROBERT B. VAN CORTLANDT, a prominent banker of New York, was born at Kings Bridge, New York, August 14, 1862, son of Augustus and Charlotte Amelia Bayley (Bunch) Van Cortlandt. He is a direct descendant of Oloff Stevenson van Cortlandt, who came from Holland to New Netherland in 1637, and became one of the most prominent and successful merchants and burghers of New Amsterdam, founding a family of the highest prominence in New Amsterdam and New York throughout its history; and he was a burgomaster under Stuyvesant. His son, Stephanus van Cortlandt, was especially distinguished in the history of the city, being one of the most prominent merchants of the city and an elder in the Dutch Church. When New Amsterdam became New York he was appointed by Governor Richard Nicolls a member of the first Board of Aldermen of the City of New York, June 12, 1665, and in 1667 he was appointed mayor of the City of New York by Governor Andros, and was the first native-born mayor the city ever had. He was again appointed mayor in 1686 and 1687. He was a member of the Provincial Council under Governors Dongan, Sloughter, Fletcher, and the Earl of Bellomont; served as colonel of the Kings County regiment in Indian Wars; served as revenue collector under Bellomont; was a large landed proprietor, and was succeeded in the Council of the province by his son Philip. Other Van Cortlandts have been distinguished in New York from that time to this.
Mr. Robert B. Van Cortlandt was educated in Switzerland and Germany and was graduated from Columbia College in the Class of 1882.
He became identified with the banking business, became a member of the New York Stock Exchange, September 28, 1887, and has been a member of the prominent banking firm of Kean, Van Cortlandt & Company since January 2, 1896. The firm is one of the strongest identified with the banking activities of New York City, and is constantly connected with many of the largest financial operations. Mr. Van Cortlandt is a director of the Lackawanna Steel Company, the Trust Company of America, Toledo Railways and Light Company, Detroit United Railway, Electric Properties Company, Publishers Paper Company, Southern Steel Company of Gadsden, Alabama; Westchester and Bronx Title and Mortgage Company; and is president and director of the Kean, Van Cortlandt & Company Realty Company.
Mr. Van Cortlandt has taken a considerable interest in political affairs, and was nominated as a candidate for presidential elector on the Democratic ticket for Westchester County in 1908. His home is at Guard Hill, Mount Kisco, in Westchester County.
Mr. Van Cortlandt is a member of the Society of Colonial Wars, the St. Nicholas Society, Knickerbocker, Metropolitan, and Union Clubs, Down Town Association, New York Yacht, The Lambs, and City Midday Clubs.