The lack of opportunity

The lack of opportunity for an education in Bok's own life led him to
cast about for some plan whereby an education might be obtained without
expense by any one who desired. He finally hit upon the simple plan of
substituting free scholarships for the premiums then so frequently
offered by periodicals for subscriptions secured. Free musical education
at the leading conservatories was first offered to any girl who would
secure a certain number of subscriptions to The Ladies' Home Journal,
the complete offer being a year's free tuition, with free room, free
board, free piano in her own room, and all travelling expenses paid. The
plan was an immediate success: the solicitation of a subscription by a
girl desirous of educating herself made an irresistible appeal.

This plan was soon extended, so as to include all the girls' colleges,
and finally all the men's colleges, so that a free education might be
possible at any educational institution. So comprehensive it became that
to the close of 1919, one thousand four hundred and fifty-five free
scholarships had been awarded. The plan has now been in operation long
enough to have produced some of the leading singers and instrumental
artists of the day, whose names are familiar to all, as well as
instructors in colleges and scores of teachers; and to have sent several
score of men into conspicuous positions in the business and professional

Edward Bok has always felt that but for his own inability to secure an
education, and his consequent desire for self-improvement, the
realization of the need in others might not have been so strongly felt
by him, and that his plan whereby thousands of others were benefited
might never have been realized.


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