Sidelight on "Big Apple"

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Sun Jun 9 20:50:19 UTC 2002

Neat!  But what was the "second city" at the time, and what's the
connection with cherries?

At 03:46 PM 6/9/02 -0400, you wrote:
>The earliest known usage of "Big Apple" meaning New York City is dated
>1909 (the New York Historical Society/Cohen discovery, supported by
>Safire), or 1924 (the Popik discovery, supported by Shapiro), or 1928 (the
>Shapiro discovery, supported by Cohen).
>The following 1897 citation that I have discovered, although clearly not
>an example of "Big Apple" meaning New York City, might be considered to
>join the 1909 citation as a coincidental foreshadowing of the term:
>1897 _N.Y. Times_ 10 Oct. SM10  An entertaining little book entitled "Some
>Facts About the New York Market," has been issued by the Merchants'
>Association, and it is exciting considerable comment in other cities.  Its
>unique feature is the illustration by means of graded pictures, of the
>relative size of New York's industries, and the industries of six or eight
>of the large cities of this country. ... In the fruit and nut trade New
>York takes precedence with a big apple, while the second city has only a
>Fred Shapiro
>Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
>Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
>   and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
>Yale Law School                             forthcoming
>e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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