Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Monday, February 19, 2007

Boreham and His Change of Mind

What do basket ball player Michael Jordan, tennis champ Martina Hingis, swimmer Jenny Thompson, cyclist Lance Armstrong and F W Boreham all have in common?

Scroll down when you’re ready for the answer.

Answer: They all made comebacks after announcing their retirement.

F W Boreham Retirement Announced
After writing thirty-six books, readers of the popular Boreham books, received The Passing of John Broadbanks and were horrified to read this foreword:


WITH the passing of John Broadbanks, I myself must pass.

It is just about a quarter of a century since, with my heart in my mouth, I daringly submitted the first of these manuscripts to a publisher. Since then, one by one, thirty volumes have trickled from my incontinent pen.

In writing thirty volumes a man has, or has not, delivered his message. If he has, why linger? If not, it is time that he recognized his failure and abandoned the futile adventure.

Were I to devote another thirty volumes to the task, I could not adequately express to my publishers, my critics and my readers my deep sense of obligation.

This Australian study of mine has sometimes oppressed me by its severe aloofness. And yet, as the years have come and gone, I have sensed the constant flow towards me of tides of generous friendliness emanating from away beyond the far horizon.

To that great host of kindred spirits with which I can never hope to mingle I wave my hand to-day in affectionate farewell.

Kew, Victoria, Australia.
Easter 1936.

Coming Out of Retirement
In 1939 Boreham readers had been successful in their protest for they were able to purchase another Boreham book, appropriately entitled, I Forgot to Say and subtitled, A Gust of Afterthought.

I Forgot to Say
He explained himself in the foreword of this book in these words:


WITH characteristic courtesy, my publishers urge me, in defiance of my leave-taking of three years since, to send them yet another volume. In a way, I am glad to comply. On retiring for the night, few of us plunge into instant oblivion. When the soft lamp beside the bed has been switched off and the great world is hushed into stillness, the mind obstinately insists upon a final flutter. The events of the busy day march past in grand review, and one is haunted by the things that he should have said, but didn't.

Since issuing the book that I believed to be my last, I have been the victim of some such insomnious experience. Reaching for my discarded pen, therefore, I have dotted down one or two wayward fancies that, in my earlier scribblings, I forgot to say.

Easter, 1939.

Some, like boxer Mohammed Ali, regretted making the return but F W Boreham and his readers hailed the new period as being gloriously productive.

Readers were glad he changed his mind for F W Boreham went on to write another fifteen books including his autobiography, My Pilgrimage, which Leslie Weatherhead described as “the most inspiring ministerial autobiography I have ever read.”

Geoff Pound

Image: Comeback champion, Martina Hingis.

F W Boreham, The Passing of John Broadbanks (London: The Epworth Press, 1936), 7.
F W Boreham, I Forgot to Say (London: The Epworth Press, 1936), 7.
T H Crago, The Story of F. W. Boreham, (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1961), 229-230.