Charles Loring Brace
To My Mother
In the task upon which I reluctantly entered three years ago, of editing my father's letters, it was from the beginning my aim to use only such material as should add something to the story of his life, and to let that story tell itself just as far as possible, through these letters. Yet, in presenting him as the founder of a great organization such as the Children's Aid Society, it has not been found possible to adhere rigidly to that original plan. Friendly letters, with their natural assumption of a close knowledge of the business and principles of his life-work, or to do justice to the final results attained. Nor can they be expected to exhibit duly the turning-points of his success; the forces he most relied on; where he found sympathy and where apathy; the relative value he attached to educational, religious, industrial, personal influences, --- in short, the personal side of his great philanthropic work. These things are revealed again and again in his book, "The Dangerous Classed of New York," and in the annual reports of the society, and it has been to detach from what is there written in principles in which he believed and on which he worked, and to present them at once as a consistent whole, that I have gone beyond the field of mere editing. In doing this, it has not been my aim to write the history of the Children's Society, but to show what moved it founder in this particular direction, and how richly life expanded for him as he watched society become a great engine in the forces of good to mankind. Perhaps nothing could more simply present the happiness which life brought to him, than a comparison of the two portraits given in this volume, one of the grave, anxious man of thirty, and the other of the man of sixty.
I have to thank the many friends, both at home and in England, who have spared no pains to procure for me his letters to them, but in their kindness has been rendered in so personal a sense to him, that I hesitate to intrude, even with thanks, between him and them. To Mr. George S. Merriam and Mr. James K. Paulding, however, my own personal thanks are owing for valuable advice in many matters, and assistance without which this task could scarcely have been accomplished.
Ches-Knoll, Dobbs Ferry, October, 1894.
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|this page last edited 07 Dec 2003|