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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


  • Vilma

    The Optimist’s creed.
    When I was a young girl this was saying displayed in my dentist’s office .
    I thought this was very appropriate,

  • Terre'

    The “optimists creed” was a 24″ × 24″ silk screen poster by Terry Stafford about 1925
    or 1927. A eight screen copy of which I have had since 1966.
    I have not found another reference earlier anywhere. Terry Stafford states his phone number on this print as HEmlock 5246. I believe that is a Los Angeles
    Exchange. Mr. Stafford is no doubt the artist who created the work used by the
    Doughnut Corporation of America.

  • Carolyn Cannon

    i lived and worked in Washington, DC. When my parents came to town we would go to the Mayflower coffee shop on K Street. They sold coffee mugs with the Optimist’s Creed written on it. My father bought two mugs, loved the rhyme, and lived the creed EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE. He was the kindest person I have ever known.

  • Juline

    When I was a teenager in the 1950’s I had a part time job at a department store in downtown Cleveland. Before work I used to stop at a donut shop on Euclid Avenue and the Optomists Creed sign was hung above the counter. I never forgot it and it’s message has served me well in my life.

  • 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!

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