Edward Everett Hale is remembered for many things: his religious preachings, his generosity, his patriotism… but mostly his words. That’s why Lend A Hand Society was excited to hear of a recent discovery made by Massachusetts native, Eliot Putnam. 

While cleaning his mother’s house, Eliot found a hand-written note signed “Edward E. Hale” and dated December 15, 1899. It reads,  

Do the Best You Can.” 

A simple statement. But a profound one. These five words reflect LAH’s mission to help our friends and neighbors towards a better future, and are reminiscent of E.E. Hale’s famous quote:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

The note belonged to Eliot’s uncle Bill Putnam, who was a Doctor of Internal Medicine at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While we don’t know the circumstances around Bill’s acquisition of the note, Eliot suspects it may have come from his grandfather, Ivan Jacobs, who made a living in Boston as an antique collector.

The note has since been authenticated by Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers. A rare treasure that Eliot has generously donated to LAH’s archives.