Words of Wisdom

On March 24, 1925, George W. Carver wrote to Rev. Kunzman of Seattle:

My dear Rev. Kunzman,

Thank you for your good letter….

Now as to your question. I regret that I cannot be of much service to you as I have not devoted much time to such investigations in proportion to the almost life time researches of some.

I am interested of course, intensely interested. My life time study of nature in it’s many phases leads me to believe more strongly than ever in the Biblical account of man’s creation as found in Gen. 1:27 “And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them.”

Of course sciences through all of the ages have been searching for the so called “missing link” which enables us to interpret man from his very beginning, up to his present high state of civilization.

I am fearful lest our finite researches will be wholly unable to grasp the infinite details of creation, and therefore we lose the great truth of the creation of man.

Yours very truly,

Geo. W. Carver 34

On March 1, 1927, George W. Carver wrote to Jack Boyd, a YMCA official in Denver, Colorado:

My beloved Friend, Mr. Boyd,

How good of you to write me, and such a wonderful letter it is….

One of the most beautiful, hopeful, and encouraging things of growing interest, is that there is springing up here and there groups of college bred young men and women, who are willing to know us by permitting themselves to get acquainted with us.

The two little snaps are so beautiful, naturally, God has been so lavish in the display of His handiwork. It is indeed so much more impressive however, when you feel that God met with that fine body of students.

My dear friend, I am so glad that God is using you in such an effective way.

My beloved friend, I do not feel capable of writing a single word of counsel to those dear young people, more than to say that my heart goes out to every one of them, regardless of the fact that I have never seen them and may never do so.

I want them to find Jesus, and make Him a daily, hourly, and momently part of themselves.

O how I want them to get the fullest measure of happiness and success out of life. I want them to see the Great Creator in the smallest and apparently the most insignificant things about them.

How I long for each one to walk and talk with the Great Creator through the things he has created.

How I thank God every day that I can walk and talk with Him. Just last week I was reminded of His omnipotence, majesty and power through a little specimen of mineral sent me for analysis, from Bakersfield, California. I have dissolved it, purified it, made conditions favorable for the formation of crystals, when lo before my very eyes, a beautiful bunch of sea green crystals have formed and alongside of them a bunch of snow white ones.

Marvel of marvels, how I wish I had you in God’s little work-shop for a while, how your soul would be thrilled and lifted up.

My beloved friend, keep your hand in that of the Master, walk daily by His side, so that you may lead others into the realms of true happiness, where a religion of hate, (which poisons both body and soul) will be unknown, having in its place the “Golden Rule” way, which is the “Jesus Way” of life, will reign supreme. Then, we can walk and talk with Jesus momentarily, because we will be attuned to His will and wishes, thus making the Creation story of the world non-debatable as to its reality.

God, my beloved friend is infinite the highest embodiment of love. We are finite, surrounded and often filled with hate. We can only understand the infinite as we loose the finite and take on the infinite.

My dear friend, my friendship to you cannot possibly mean what yours does to me. I talk to God through you, you help me to see God through another angle….

Most sincerely yours,

G.W. Carver 35

On December 13, 1927, George W. Carver wrote to the Hon. Leon McCord, circuit court judge of the Fifteenth Judicial District, Montgomery, Alabama:

My esteemed friend Judge McCord,

Yours received yesterday evening.

There are times when one’s powers of expression fail to convey the meaning of the heart. I find myself at this moment utterly far adrift upon the high seas without either compass or rudder, as far as the satisfactory power of expression is concerned.

I read and reread your wonderful letter over several times. I reveled in its sublimity of thought and rare literary gift of expression to which the Great Creator has bequeathed to but few men.

There are two things which puzzle me greatly. First, that a person as busy as you must needs be would take the time to write such a letter. Second, and the most puzzling of all is that you are talking about me, a subject so unworthy of such sublimity of thought and expression. As I sat in my little “den” reading and pondering over it, nature came to my relief when I was attracted by a strangely mellow light falling upon the paper. I looked up and out of the window toward the setting sun, which was just disappearing behind the horizon leaving a halo of never to be forgotten glory and beauty behind it. It seems as if I have never been conscious of such beauty and sublimity. The variety, brilliancy of color and arrangement were awe inspiring. As I sat there unconscious of everything except the scene before me, behold, before my very eyes it changed from the marvelous rainbow colors to the soft, ethereal “Rembrantian” browns and the midnight blues of Maxfield Parrish. But the most marvelous of all was the pristine light which came from behind those strangely beautiful clouds; the light was like unto bright silver dazzling in its brightness, and weird in the manner of its diffusion.

As I came to myself I said aloud, O God, I thank Thee for such a direct manifestation of Thy goodness, majesty and power.

I thought of how typical this scene which had just passed into never to be forgotten history was of my good friend judge Leon McCord, whom I have known for more than a quarter of a century, a person occupying a most responsible and trying position, a position which makes most men cold, severe, unsympathetic, and sometimes cruel, but with my friend, the Judge, many, many thousands will rise up and call him blessed because you have been and are yet ever on the alert to help humanity.

Your “Big Brothers’ Bible Class” is one of the strongest testimonials of the above statement.

In this fast approaching season of special reminders of “Peace on earth good will to men”, may He who has kept, guided and prospered you during all of these years bring to you and yours additional joys and successes.

Yours with much love and admiration,

G.W. Carver 36

During one of Jim Hardwick’s visits to Tuskegee Institute in 1928, he asked Dr. Carver to share some of his observations about God. Dr. Carver responded:

As a very small boy exploring the almost virgin woods of the old Carver place, I had the impression someone had just been there ahead of me. Things were so orderly, so clean, so harmoniously beautiful. A few years later in this same woods I was to understand the meaning of this boyish impression. Because I was practically overwhelmed with the sense of some Great Presence. Not only had someone been there. Someone was there….

Years later when I read in the Scriptures, “In Him we live and move and have our being,” I knew what the writer meant. Never since have I been without this consciousness of the Creator speaking to me….

The out of doors has been to me more and more a great cathedral in which God could be continuously spoken to and heard from….

Man, who needed a purpose, a mission, to keep him alive, had one. He could be…God’s co-worker…. My attitude toward life was also my attitude toward science. Jesus said one must be born again, must become as a little child. He must let no laziness, no fear, no stubbornness keep him from his duty.

If he were born again he would see life from such a plane he would have the energy not to be impeded in his duty by these various sidetrackers and inhibitions. My work, my life, must be in the spirit of a little child seeking only to know the truth and follow it.

My purpose alone must be God’s purpose – to increase the welfare and happiness of His people. Nature will not permit a vacuum. It will be filled with something. Human need is really a great spiritual vacuum which God seeks to fill….

With one hand in the hand of a fellow man in need and the other in the hand of Christ, He could get across the vacuum and I became an agent. Then the passage, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” came to have real meaning.

As I worked on projects which fulfilled a real human need forces were working through me which amazed me. I would often go to sleep with an apparently insoluble problem. When I woke the answer was there.

Why, then, should we who believe in Christ be so surprised at what God can do with a willing man in a laboratory? Some things must be baffling to the critic who has never been born again.

By nature I am a conserver. I have found nature to be a conserver. Nothing is wasted or permanently lost in nature. Things change their form, but they do not cease to exist.

After I leave this world I do not believe I am through. God would be a bigger fool than even a man if he did not conserve what seems to be the most important thing he has yet done in the universe. This kind of reasoning may aid the young.

When you get your grip on the last rung of the ladder and look over the wall as I am now doing you don’t need their proofs. You see. You know you will not die. 37

On January 25, 1929, George W. Carver wrote to Mrs. Eva Goodwin in Neosho, Missouri. He referred to her family as “homefolks,” as she was the daughter of one of Carver’s boyhood playmates, Thomas Williams, who was a great-nephew of Moses Carver:

My dear Mrs. Goodwin,

It is impossible for you to know how your letter made me feel, if you had only been a hundred mile or so away I would have started immediately to see you.

I have sat and looked long and hard at your Father’s picture. While he has changed quite as much as I have, I can still discern that handsome kindly face, which made him to me ideal. Of course you are happy to do the things for him, how I love this picture, one of my dearest boyhood playmates.

If I go to Oklahoma, the way I went before I will pass through Neosho, and it may be that I can arrange to stop over a day, or between trains at least. And see your dear Father and the rest. I am too beginning to feel the weight of years and cannot do much traveling now.

How I would love to get with your Father and talk over old times at home, indeed you really are my home folks.

Thank you for the clipping referring to the death of dear Mr. Carver, (Uncle Mose) I treasure it very much.

How delightful to have you speak of your Father in that way. I believe every word of it, his face shows it.

Yes I can remember you as a little girl, used to hold you on my lap. I certainly would appreciate any pictures of the old homeplace. I am sure it has changed very much.

I thank the good people for their words of approval, why should I not be able to do pretty well, I certainly had good home training by my “home folks”.

My heart indeed goes out to my dear “Home Folks”, Love and the best of wishes to your good neighbors.

I am sincerely yours,

G.W. Carver 38

On February 24, 1930, George W. Carver wrote to Hubert W. Pelt of the Phelps Stokes Fund, in which he included a brief essay entitled “How to Search for Truth”:

I believe the Great Creator of the universe had young people in mind when the following beautiful passages were written:

In the 12th chapter of Job and the 7th & 8th verses, we are urged thus: But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

In St. John the 8th chapter and 32nd verse, we have this remarkable statement:

And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Were I permitted to paraphrase it, I would put it thus: And you shall know science and science shall set you free, because science is truth.

There is nothing more assuring, more inspiring, or more literally true than the above passages from Holy Writ.

We get closer to God as we get more intimately and understandingly acquainted with the things he has created. I know of nothing more inspiring than that of making discoveries for ones self.

The study of nature is not only entertaining, but instructive and the only true method that leads up to the development of a creative mind and a clear understanding of the great natural principles which surround every branch of business in which we may engage. Aside from this it encourages investigation, stimulates and develops originality in a way that helps the student to find himself more quickly and accurately than any plan yet worked out.

The singing birds, the buzzing bees, the opening flower, and the budding trees, along with other forms of animate and inanimate matter, all have their marvelous creation story to tell each searcher for truth….

We doubt if there is a normal boy or girl in all Christendom endowed with the five senses who have not watched with increased interest and profit, the various forms, movements and the gorgeous paintings of the butterfly, many do not know, but will study with increased enthusiasm the striking analogy its life bears to the human soul.

Even the ancient Greeks with their imperfect knowledge of insects recognized this truth, when they gave the same Greek name psyche to the Soul, or the spirit of life, and alike to the butterfly.

They sculptured over the effigy of their dead the figure of a butterfly floating away as it were in his breath. Poets to this day follow the simile.

More and more as we come closer and closer in touch with nature and its teachings are we able to see the Divine and are therefore fitted to interpret correctly the various languages spoken by all forms of nature about us.

From the frail little mushroom, which seems to spring up in a night and perish ere the morning sun sinks to rest in the western horizon, to the giant red woods of the Pacific slope that have stood the storms for centuries and vie with the snow-capped peaks of the loftiest mountains, in their magnificence and grandeur.

First, to me, my dear young friends, nature in its varied forms are the little windows through which God permits me to commune with Him, and to see much of His glory, majesty, and power by simply lifting the curtain and looking in.

Second, I love to think of nature as unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour and every moment of our lives, if we will only tune in and remain so.

Third, I am more and more convinced, as I search for truth that no ardent student of nature, can “Behold the lilies of the field”; or “Look unto the hills”, or study even the microscopic wonders of a stagnant pool of water, and honestly declare himself to be an Infidel. To those who already love nature, I need only to say, pursue its truths with a new zest, and give to the world the value of the answers to the many questions you have asked the greatest of all teachers-Mother Nature.

To those who have as yet not learned the secret of true happiness, which is the joy of coming into the closest relationship with the Maker and Preserver of all things: begin now to study the little things in your own door yard, going from the known to the nearest related unknown for indeed each new truth brings one nearer to God.

With love and best wishes,

G.W. Carver 39

On March 1, 1932, George W. Carver wrote to Mr. Zissler:

My esteemed friend, Mr. Zissler,

Before beginning the various routine duties of the day, I feel that I can start the day off in no better way than to pray that all is going well with you, and wish you could share with me the supreme expression of The Great Creator as He speaks to me so vividly through my beautiful Amaryllis (allies) that are opening daily in my windows in the little den I call my room.

Ten of these great flowers are open now, one that measures 10 inches in diameter, some of them are striped, spotted and otherwise penciled as exquisitely as orchids. These are my own breeding and shows what man (in the generic) can do when he allows God to speak through him.

May God ever bless and keep you.

So sincerely yours,

G.W. Carver 41

On July 1, 1932, George W. Carver wrote to Mr. James T. Hardwick:

My Beloved Spiritual Boy, Mr. Hardwick,

I must tell you about an experience I had today, which shows so clearly that God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

Before we left for Miss. while dear Howard was here the first time, I made some collections of fungi some distance away. Occasionally my mind would urge me to go back there again. The urge became so strong this morning that I went. I found the place grown up with weeds and briars.

I began pulling the dead limbs out but the wasps had built a nest in it and soon ran me away without stinging me. I stood afar off quite perplexed, started home, proceeded a little ways and spied another pile of brush. I went to it and found it to be one of the richest finds that I had yet made.

God closed the first door that I might see one open with greater opportunities. This is often so when we are sorely disappointed in some of our fondest dreams.

You have seemed to be with me all day today. May God ever be with my great spiritual boy, my pioneer boy, my oldest boy, in fact God’s pioneer boy.

With so much love and admiration,

G.W. Carver 42

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