Exploring a Long Forgotten Book

By M.B. Herring

This is the third and final part of a series examining Dr. Frank Crane’s 4-Minute Essays Vol. 1, a long forgotten essay collection from 1919 by, you guessed it, Dr. Frank Crane. Several months ago, I stumbled upon this collection of essays and set out explore if any of them contained hidden bits of wisdom.

Also, I really wanted to see if the could be read in four minutes.

What follows here is the amount of time it took me read each essay, as well as my overall thoughts, however random they might be, on each piece. You can read Parts 1 and 2 here and here respectively.

Green Fire

Time: 1 Minute and 27 Seconds

The green fire is the growth of all living thing

The Cowardice of Pessimism

Time: 49 Seconds

Radical; Comes out of the gates swinging with “Pessimism is a fine name for cowardice, vulgarity, self-pity, and failure.”

The Joys of Living

Time: 1 Minute and 7 Seconds

Works well when read in tandem with “Doing Clears the Mind.” Everyday present so many opportunities for joy, but only if we appreciate them.

“Then I go to work, thanking God that I am not rich enough to have nothing to do.”

To France

Time: 1 Minute and 27 Seconds

America is pro-France after World War One

The Man Who Gets Things Done

Time: 1 Minute and 43 Seconds

There is a difference between doing things and getting things done.

Contains the line, “‘I see,’ said the young man, ‘a sort of typical American, crude but efficient.’”


Time: 1 Minute and 9 Seconds 

“All our ills come from isolation, provincials, individuals, sects, classes, parties, antagonisms; the cure is in the breaking down of partitions, in coalescing.”

Argues for globalism but not a diverse globe. Rather, a globe where we are all the same.

Light and Burning

Time: 1 Minute and 3 Seconds

A fire burns bright because of sacrifice?

What Tolstoy Said About World Martyrs

Time: 1 Minute and 1 Seconds

Doesn’t like that writers describe secular life as difficult. Argues that Jesus’ life was just as difficult.

The Lone Trail

Time: 1 Minute and 8 Seconds

We should not fear loneliness as we can only accomplish greatness alone.

The Power of Right Ideas

Time: 1 Minute and 2 Seconds

“It does make a difference what you think.”

America’s Coming of Age

Time: 1 Minute and 40 Seconds

States up front that the essay is actual World War One propaganda. Echoes Wilson’s “We will make the world free for democracy” sentiments.

The Great Silences

Time: 42 Seconds

The most beautiful things in life are silent.

Toward Unity

Time: 1 Minute and 53 Seconds

Predicts a world in which we are all one race, together in unity. Also predicts that Nationalism will cease. Boy was he wrong.

The Gentlemen

Time: 1 Minute

The perfect man must both be a man (strong) and gentle. This goes without saying, but this essay is very outdated in its ideas of gender.

Polishing the Halo

Time: 1 Minute and 33 Seconds

Apparently, there was famous guy in the 1800s/early 1900s also named Bill Nye. The best preachers are authors? Confusing. Possibly missing pages?

(Second Read)

The artist should live in seclusion AKA don’t meet your heroes. 

And with Polishing the Halo so concludes, Dr. Frank Crane’s 4-Minute Essays Volume 1 (At least as far I can tell as my copy may be missing pages.) If you have thoughts on any of the 4-Minute Essays or just in general on this series of posts, please let me know. This writing series was mainly to satisfy my own curiousity but if you have any ideas on how to make it more accessible to the general public, please don’t hesitate to comment.

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