The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 215
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personality. John Fiske was neither a profound philosopher
nor historian, but made valuable contributions in both fields.
In American History he glorified in the successes of the middle
class, and undoubtedly popularized our history more than any
man in the 19th century.
He was born at the old Fisk home in Middletown, Connecti-
cut, March 30, 1842, being baptized Edmund Fisk Green. In
order to continue her family name, his grandmother persuaded
him to take the name of John Fisk. A legislative act in 1855
legalized the change, the e being added somewhat accidentally.
He was precocious, as indicated in a letter to his grand-
mother Lewis, in which he said, "I am now eight years old
and have read about 200 vols of books on all subjects, par-
ticularly on Nat. History, Philosophy, Chemistry, Astronomy,
Grammar, Mathematics and miscellaneous things." Early in-
terest in science and philosophy was greatly stimulated by
discovery of Spencer. His engagement made choice of a career
imperative, and, teaching in Harvard for the moment being
closed to him, he chose law. Ten months of intensive study
enabled him to gain admission to the Boston bar. Here he
was neither successful nor happy, and very shortly turned to
writing. He contributed much towards initiating reforms in
Harvard, and indirectly to securing the election of Charles W.
Eliot to the presidency. He was invited to deliver a series of
lectures on philosophy, and began to hope for a professorship
in history or philosophy, only to be ultimately disappointed.
His lectures were popular, and were publicized far and wide,
both at home and in England.
Eventually his income from lectures and writing mounted to
thousands annually, and when his historical publications began
to appear, after having been greatly advertised and popularized
in his lectures, he attained a state of affluence sufficient to sup-
port the needs and desires of himself and family. He reveled
in books, music, travel, and luxurious living. He enjoyed boon
companions, "chinwags" far into the wee sma' hours, choice
food, and drinks. Lack of exercise, satisfaction of a powerful
appetite for rich foods and drinks, and exhausting demands on
his energy all contributed to his death at fifty-nine.
It seems to this reviewer that there was precious little editing
in this volume: no introduction or editorial preface, no table
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/229/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.