A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 29, 2012
“He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman…”

"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” These words have been attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1126) since the 1970s-1980s, but he never said it. The lines have also been attributed to attorney Louis Nizer (1902-1994); Nizer quoted them in a 1948 book, but didn’t originate them.

The saying (with “artisan” instead of “craftsman") has been cited in print since at least 1923:

“He who works with his hands is a laborer;
He who works with his hands and his brain is an Artisan;
He who works with his hands, his brains and his heart is an Artist.”


No authorship was cited. “Craftsman” replaced “artisan” by at least 1944.


Wikiquote: Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi (c. 1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian religious leader who founded the Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscans. He is known as the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment. Though baptized as Giovanni Bernardone he was commonly known as Francesco.
(...)
Misattributed
He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
. This quote was actually composed by Louis Nizer, and published in his book, Between You and Me (1948)

Wikiquote: Louis Nizer
Louis Nizer (6 February 1902 – 10 November 1994) British-born U.S. lawyer; Author of My Life in Court, Thinking On Your Feet, Reflections Without Mirrors.

Sourced
A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.
. Between You and Me, Beechurst Press, 1948.

Hathi Trust Digital Library
Mid-Summer 1923, Boys’ Workers Round Table, pg. 3, col. 2:
“He who works with his hands is a laborer;
He who works with his hands and his brain is an Artisan;
He who works with his hands, his brains and his heart is an Artist.”

Google Books
Living and Working Together
By De Witt Schuyler Morgan
New York, NY: C. Scribner’s sons
1931
Pg. 68:
“He who works with his hands is a laborer; he who works with his hands and his head is an artisan; he who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

23 April 1944, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 14A, col. 7:
True Definition
He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.—Father Mathew Record.
[Introduction to The Father Mathew Record
The Father Mathew Record, like its sister publication, The Capuchin Annual, was published by the Capuchin order in Ireland. The Record (as it was commonly called) began publication in January 1908...]

11 October 1946, The Bee (Danville, VA), “The Beehive,” pg. 4, col. 4:
“He who works with his hands is a laborer --
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman—
He who works with hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
-- Father Mathew Record.

13 December 1947, Kingsport (TN) News, “On Broadway” by Walter Winchell, pg. 4, col. 4:
One producer has this framed quote in his office: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and heart is an artist.”

10 December 1950, San Diego (CA) Union, pg. D13, cols. 5-6:
Salesman Defined
A good definition of a salesman, according to K. S. McIntosh of Davies Motors, local Nash dealer, is this: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, head and heart is an artist. And he who works with his hands, head, heart and feet is a salesman.”

Google News Archive
7 December 1984, Record-Journal (Meriden, CT), “Bittersweet Village: Crafty array of holiday gifts” by Lila Misuraca, pg. 15, col. 3:
“A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his heart is an artist,” reads a sign on the wall of Paul Burkhart’s studio.

“They attribute that to ‘anonymous’ but I’ve heard that St. Francis of Assisi said it,” Burkhart said.

Chadwick’s Blog & Commentary
Posted on July 13, 2012
Yet More Quotes with False Attributions
It seems a good week for mis-attributed Francis of Assisi quotes. Someone on Facebook posted an image with the following quote:
“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
St. Francis of Assisi”
(...)
This quote was written by Louis Nizer, an American lawyer (1902-1994). It might strike some as remarkable that a lawyer might have such profound words about art and heart, but that’s not the issue. The issue is who said it. And it wasn’t a Middle Ages religious person. Nizer was an accomplished trial lawyer, author, artist, lecturer, and advisor to some of the most powerful people in the worlds of politics, business, and entertainment, according to Wikipedia. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (0) Comments • Sunday, July 29, 2012 • Permalink