Sidney John Burgoyne was born in London, England on January 19, 1876. As a very young man, he came to America, and later married Elizabeth Ophilia Sexton (from Dansville, New York). Together they raised a large family of nine boys and two girls. After settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sidney entered the stationery business and in 1907, established his own greeting card manufacturing firm. He was a pioneer in the large scale production of Christmas cards in the United States of America.
Widely known for his strong religious faith and successful business practices, Sidney soon gained national recognition as the head of a “model family” for which he was congratulated by President Theodore Roosevelt. Sidney attributed his personal and business achievements to his faith in God and an understanding of the importance of individual relationships in family, work and the community. He committed his observations on those relationships to daily reminders when he wrote the original “Daily Thoughts for Friendly Fellows”, in 1925, a book in prose form with an inspirational verse of encouragement for each day of the year.
Sidney believed that people who read the book shared a common commitment to make all of their relationships successful. Believing in the strength of a community of people united with a common purpose, he formed the Society of Friendly Fellows for the purpose of Seeking and Finding the GOOD in Others and supporting the creed - To not only live and let live, but To Live and Help Live and to always bear in mind when greeting another - I Know Something GOOD About You! In his 71st year, this inspirational man of Faith and Family died on April 4, 1946 in his home, surrounded by his wife and his children at his bedside.
His observations on human nature captured in his “Daily Thoughts for Friendly Fellows” live on today reminding us that we are challenged everyday of our lives to be in relationships looking for the best in others and ourselves. Sidney lived his life in testimony to his belief in relationships and his words are a timeless encouragement and inspiration for us to accept his challenge of being a Friendly Fellow.