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The Optimist's Creed 2013

We’re proud to play our part in keeping The Optimist’s Creed, in the public eye with posters, giclee prints and t-shirts.
This cheerful message, created more than 100 years ago, was first published in the New York Sun newspaper in 1904 as
'Twixt optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll;
The optimist the doughnut sees -
The pessimist the hole.
In 1929, a restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia, revitalized The Optimist's Creed's wording and message. The Optimist's Creed was displayed in the restaurant's window and written in more contemporary language for the patrons. The targeted audience was customers who drank coffee and ate "sinkers," another word for donuts.
"As you ramble through Life, Brother,
Whatever be your goal.
Keep your eye upon the doughnut,
And not upon the hole."

In 1931 this verse was adopted by Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia who invented the first automatic donut making machine, for his Mayflower Donuts chain of shops. He had the adage printed on every donuts box, showing two men dressed as old-fashioned jesters, facing away from each other. One was smiling at a fat doughnut with a small hole and the other was frowning at a thin doughnut with a large hole.
Sally Levitt Steinberg, his granddaughter, recalls:”My grandfather found this motto, The Optimist's Creed, as it is called, inside a cheap picture frame he happened to buy in a dime store. He adopted it as his philosophy of life.”
This philosophical gem became so popular that both Franklin D Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, campaigning in 1932 during The Depression, worked The Optimist’s Creed into their campaign speeches.
The Mayflower Donuts chain closed in the 1970s but the verse lives on.
Here at Cool Culinaria we think the advice and spirit of The Optimist’s Creed is universal and we’re offering the verse in its 1931 form and we have also given it a contemporary twist. You’ll see that our updated poster bears a passing resemblance to another highly recognized and admired poster from the UK.
The Optimist's Creed Short Verse


  • Lmorrow

    I believe it was sometime in the late 1960’s – early 1970’s that Dunkin Donuts did a campaign with this creed on the side of a stemmed ceramic coffee mug. My dad loved it and used it all the time. It’s embedded in my brain!

  • John

    Does anyone recall it’s being used on boxed doughnuts in the Philadelphia/Camden area in the late 40s or early 50s? I think my father recited it to me “As you travel down life’s road, son, whatever be your goal…” clearly pre-women’s lib.

  • I was in my 40s, when a 72 year old man Jimmy Memory I first recited this poem to me, I never forget him or it. He was a great guy and if he's still around, he s loved!!!!!

    Jimmy Mellotti was a man,if I reach his age, I’d love to have his with and intelligence! !!!What a person and my MOST unforgettable person that I’ve ever met! !!! Bo Darling-Hill

  • NAncy SHackelford

    My Grandfather, Virgil Richardson worked at the Mayflower Donut Shop in the 1930’s during the Depression in Miami, FL and I memorised this saying printed on the wall in the early 1950’s. I thought it was so unique. I loved it.

  • Charlie McGinnis

    I grew up in Philadelphia in the 40’s & 50’s. At the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philly side, there was a large billboard with optimist creed, “As you travel on through life, etc” . I tell people all the time about it, only us older folks remember it. Philly was a great place to grow up in back then……..

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