Detroit, Pittsburgh get "Windy City" wrong!

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sun Sep 30 21:25:11 UTC 2001

    Barry asks "What should I do?"
My suggestion is to have a compilation of Barry's "Windy City"
treatments appear in an issue of my "Comments on Etymology"
(elsewhere would be okay too).  Then, when a newspaper presents the
wrong etymology, an ads-l member (say, Allan Metcalf, Sheidlower, or
I) could send the errant journalist a copy of the compiled "Windy
City" treatment with a brief cover letter.
    I'll start the compilation myself and give Barry a holler if I'm
missing anything.

---Gerald Cohen

    On an unrelated note, can anyone provide me the dates of Minna
Irving, who wrote the poem "Betsy's Battle Flag" (possibly of
relevance to "Heavens to Betsy"). I'm having trouble locating those
dates and the date she wrote "Betsy's Battle Flag." Ads-l member Jan
Ivarsson once gave her dates as 1857-1940, but in an Internet search
I found (but can't locate again) 1872 as her birth date.
Fred Shapiro has found an 1878 attestation of "Heavens to Betsy," and
so if Minna Irving was in fact born in 1872, that would rule out her
poem as having contributed to the start of "Heavens to Betsy."

>Date:         Sun, 30 Sep 2001
>From: Bapopik at AOL.COM
>Subject:      Detroit, Pittsburgh get "Windy City" wrong!
>Comments: cc: dwycliff at, ombudsman at, refdesk at
>    This is amazing.
>    I did my "Windy City" work five years ago.  It's wrong again
>today.  Any good suggestions on what I should do?
>    From a check of the Dow Jones database:
>How the Windy City Got its Name
>Gerry Volgenau, Detroit Free Press
>Pittsburgh Post Gazette, E-6
>    Yes, Chicago is windy, especially in the loop.
>    But the nickname "Windy City" dates to 1890, when Chicago was
>vying with New York for the 1892 World's Fair.
>    "Don't pay attention to the nonsensical claims of that windy
>city," said Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, speaking of
>Chicago's blowhard politicians.
>    "Its people," Dana wrote, couldn't build a World's Fair if they won it."
>    As it turned out, Chicago did win the World's Fair, but the name stuck.

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