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Herbert N. Casson (1869 - 1951)

Casson, Herbert N.

Herbert Newton Casson was born in Odessa, Ontario on September 23rd, 1869. His father was the Reverend Wesley Casson, a Methodist missionary, and his mother was Elizabeth Jackson. The family moved around due to Casson's father postings. After spending years Manitoba, the family went back to Ontario in 1880, just before the outbreak of the M├ętis rebellion. With no formal schooling, Casson turned to the world around him for education. Casson went to Victoria College in 1890 hoping to study philosophy, but was instead given a theology scholarship. He graduated with a dual degree in 1892.

At twenty-three, Casson became an ordained Methodist minister, but was soon tried for heresy and, after being found guilty, resigned his position. He then moved to Boston 1893 and started his career in the publishing field. While in Boston, Casson's attention was called to the immigrant slums. He was so shocked by the conditions he found there, he became a socialist, leading demonstrations and making friends with the likes of Keir Hardie (British Socialist leader) and Samuel Gompers (American Trade Union). Deserted by his followers for opposing the war, Casson moved to the Ruskin Colony in Tennessee: a Socialist Commune. He left after six months.

"The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves." (Casson)

Casson married Lydia Kingsmill Commander just before moving to New York and starting work at New York Evening Journal. He then worked for the New York World, a paper run by Joseph Pulitzer. During his career as a journalist, Casson interviewed the likes of then President Grover Cleveland, Guglielmo Marconi, Nikolai Tesla, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell. Casson's first book, The Romance of Steel: The Story of a Thousand Millionaires, was published in 1907. It detailed the rise of the American steel industry during the late 1800's. Casson then wrote "History of the Telephone" in 1910. From the preface: "Thirty-five short years, and presto! the newborn art of telephony is fullgrown. Three million telephones are now scattered abroad in foreign countries, and seven millions are massed here, in the land of its birth."

Casson retired in 1914 and moved his family to England. During World Ward 1, Casson gave lectures on the management of factories. He created the journal, Efficiency, which he both published and wrote. Casson continued to write and publish until 1950, when he on a lecturing tour to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. He died at home in Norwood, Surrey on 4 September 1951 shortly after returning.

Suggested sites for Herbert N. Casson:

Texts by Casson
The History of the Telephone
Details the history of the invention of the telephone.

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