By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. — Confucius

American Book of Golden Deeds - James Baldwin



Forty four short and inspiring stories of heroism and personal sacrifice made by Americans for the benefit of their community or their country. Most of the subjects of these stories are everyday citizens rather than famous leaders but their noble deeds are worthy of note.

[Front Cover] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin [Title Page] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin [Dedication] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


To the Reader

As you open this book you will probably ask, "What is a golden deed?"

Let me tell you. It is the doing of something for somebody else doing it without thought of self, without thought of reward, fearlessly, heroically, and because it is a duty.

Such a deed is possible to you, to me, to everybody. It is frequently performed without forethought or definite intention. It is the spontaneous manifestation of nobility, somewhere, of mind or heart. It may consist merely in the doing of some kind and helpful service at home or at school. It may be an unexpected test of heroism a warning of danger, a saving of somebody's life. It may be an act of benevolence, or a series of such acts, world-wide in application and results.

This little volume is only a book of samples. Here are specimens of golden deeds of various kinds and of different degrees of merit, ranging from the unpremeditated saving of a railroad train to the great humanitarian movement which carries blessings to all mankind. To attempt to tell of every such deed, or of every one that is eminently worthy, would fill a multitude of books. The, examples which I have chosen are such only as have occurred on American soil, or have been performed by Americans, thus distinguishing the volume from Miss Charlotte Yonge's "Book of Golden Deeds," published for English readers fifty years ago. While some of these narratives may have the appearance of romance, yet they are all believed to be true, and in most cases the real name of the hero, or of the lover of humanity, is given.

Instances of doing and daring have always a fascination for young people, and when to these is added the idea of a noble underlying motive the lessons taught by them cannot fail to be beneficial.


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