Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

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By Frank Crane



Frank Crane

Being the article “If I Were Twenty—One” which originally appeared in the American Magazine.

Revised by the author


Copyright, 1918, by


All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian.




A Foreword Prelude I. If I were Twenty—One I would do the next thing II. If I were Twenty—One I would adjust myself III. If I were Twenty—One I would take care of my body IV. If I were Twenty—One I would train my mind V. If I were Twenty—One I would be happy VI. If I were Twenty—One I would get married VII. If I were Twenty—One I would save money VIII. If I were Twenty—One I would study the art of pleasing IX. If I were Twenty—One I would determine, even if I could never be anything else in the world, that I would be a thoroughbred X. If I were Twenty—One I would make some permanent, amicable arrangement with my conscience


The following note, by the editor of the American Magazine, appeared in conjunction with the publication of this story in that magazine:

In most of the biggest cities of the United States, from New York and Chicago down, you will find people who, every night of their lives, watch for and read in their evening paper an editorial by Frank Crane. These editorials are syndicated in a chain of thirty—eight newspapers, which reach many millions of readers. The grip which Crane has on these readers is tremendous. The reason is that the man has plenty of sensible ideas, which he presents simply and forcibly so that people get hold of them.

In reality, Crane is a wonderful preacher. Years ago, in fact, he was the pastor of a great church in Chicago. But he left the pulpit and took up writing because he had the ability to interest millions, and could reach them only by means of the printing press.

Doctor Crane lives in New York and does most of his work there.


The voyager entering a new country will listen with attention to the traveller who is just returning from its exploration; and the young warrior buckling on his armour may be benefited by the experiences of the old warrior who is laying his armour off. I have climbed the Hill of Life, and am past the summit, I suppose, and perhaps it may help those just venturing the first incline to know what I think I would do if I had it to do over.

I have lived an average life. I have had the same kind of follies, fears, and fires my twenty—one—year—old reader has. I have failed often and bitterly. I have loved and hated, lost and won, done some good deeds and many bad ones. I have had some measure of success and I have made about every kind of mistake there is to make. In other words, I have lived a full, active, human life, and have got thus far safely along.

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