Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Boreham on The News

In this era when newspapers are declining because readers are finding their news on the Internet, I wonder how F W Boreham would have viewed the trend of reading the news online.

Boreham had an aversion to his personal use of technology. His biographer reports that in 1906 he did have a try on a new item of technology:

“Christmas brought a welcome break after the past few months' exertions, and also one of the most remarkable innovations that ever invaded the Boreham study. It was a strange black device on the table, known as a portable typewriter. Induced largely by the facility with which the machine could produce carbon copies, he had laid aside a strong prejudice against writing with anything but his trusty pen and bought himself this "Buck" as a Christmas present, and after a little practice was soon turning out neatly typed manuscripts and letters.”

Two pages later, however, Howard Crago reports:

“Meanwhile, that typewriter had been causing him considerable concern. He had struggled with it for weeks. Although the thing turned out readable copies, preoccupation with the keyboard stultified the flow of thought that used to drive his pen with such effortless ease. So the "Buck" went among the household effects that were offered for sale. And never again would such a machine cast its shadow upon the desk of F. W. Boreham. From now on every line he wrote would flow from his faithful pen.”

F W Boreham wrote for many newspapers and magazines, many of which like the Argus, have gone under.

Wherever people got their news from, F W Boreham was aware of people’s hunger:

“No feature of modern life is more arresting than the hunger for news….The great event of the day is the arrival of the newspaper.”

“The individual wants the world, and his appetite for the world expresses itself in his insatiable thirst for news. The Australian bushman sits outside his lonely humpy and hungers for Europe, Asia, America, Africa, and all the scattered islands of the rolling seas. He wants the equator and he wants the poles. He must have the Atlantic and he cannot do without the Pacific. He must feel the throb of every revolution and upheaval. He must know of every invention and discovery. He must be kept abreast of sport and politics. He must peep into every Court and every Cabinet. He must follow the movements of all earth's travelers and explorers. He must be kept in touch with the fluctuations of commerce and industry. He must peruse the lists of births, marriages, and deaths. He hates to feel that any scrap of gossip has eluded him.”

“Our hunger for news is one of the sublimest things about us. It is one of humanity's master-passions.

Sources: T H Crago, The Story of F W Boreham, (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1961), 111, 113.
F W Boreham, ‘The Hunger for the News’, Hobart Mercury, 14 June, 1941; Melbourne Age, 15 October, 1949.

Image: Not the exact brand but a 1908 portable typewriter.