Elbert Hubbard? Thomas Carlyle? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Working for a living consumes enormous amounts of time and energy. If you wish to be happy in life then it is essential to try and obtain happiness from your work. Would you please determine who created an adage expressing this idea?
Quote Investigator: Elbert Hubbard was the founder of a New York community of artisans called Roycrofters. He also collected and synthesized adages which appeared in his books and periodicals. The July 1904 issue of Hubbard’s “The Philistine” contained a pertinent saying. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
If you would be happy, do not look for happiness outside of your work.
In July 1906 “Printers’ Ink: A Journal for Advertisers” published a filler item crediting Hubbard’s periodical with a popular modern version of the adage: 2
Get your happiness out of your work or you’ll never know what happiness is.—The Philistine.
The reader must decide if this is a helpful insight or a misleading mantra for workaholics.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1904 July, The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest, Volume 19, Number 2, (Filler item), Quote Page 60, The Roycrofters, East Aurora, New York. (Google Books Full View) link ↩
- 1906 July 4, Printers’ Ink: A Journal for Advertisers, Volume 56, Number 1, (Filler item), Quote Page 25 and 26, Column 2, Printers’ Ink Publishing Company, New York. (Google Books Full View) link ↩