The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972 Page: 187
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The Gospel of Wealth Goes South
for men, promote the prosperity of communities, [and] add to the
taxable wealth of the country. . . ." Kirby then listed what he con-
sidered most praiseworthy among his actions as a responsible business-
man and patriot: reduction of the working day of his employees from
eleven to ten hours without a decrease in wages; provision of free
house rent and supplies to needy workers when the panic of 1907
forced a closing of Kirby Lumber Company operations; leadership of
the Texas Five Million Club and cash contributions amounting to
over $1o,ooo; assumption of the presidency of the Texas Commission
at the St. Louis World's Fair and donations in excess of $1o,ooo; and,
a $5,000 contribution for a monument to Hood's Texas Brigade, "as
gallant a fighting organization of citizen soldiers as ever drew a blade
or ever spilled patriotic blood in behalf of liberty. .. .""
Kirby's public charities-directed in good Gospel of Wealth style
toward social uplift of the less fortunate-provided him with equal
personal satisfaction. His listing in this regard included commentary
through which there runs a strong strain of the philosophy of steward-
ship: provision of funds for teachers' salaries for a night school pro-
gram at Kirbyville, "so as to give opportunity to the children of the
poor that they could not otherwise enjoy . . ."; donation of $2,500
to help Methodist University at Georgetown build a dormitory "for
the accommodation of the poor boys in attendance . . . who were not
otherwise able to secure its advantages . . ."; maintenance over an
eight-year period of from five to nine boys and girls attending institu-
tions of higher learning throughout the state, many of whom were off-
spring of "dead ministers whose wives were unable to educate their
children . . ."; and, donation of $5,000 for a Young Men's Christian
Association building in Houston "to provide entertainment, education
and culture for ambitious young men, most of them the sons of mech-
anics and people in moderate circumstances. . . ."
Throughout a long life John Henry Kirby remained proud of
these and other philanthropies, but like so many of his fellows he
failed to realize that self-seeking even if screened by paternalism often
leads the well-intentioned astray and results not in benevolence but
repression. Thus Andrew Carnegie defended the right of workers to
organize and join unions, yet in the Homestead strike of 1892 his
company used the lockout, blacklist, scab labor, and armed Pinker-
8Kirby to "Dear Friend," January 24, 1910o, John Henry Kirby Papers (University of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972, periodical, 1972; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/m1/199/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.