Antedating of "Jesus H. Christ"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 21 01:04:53 UTC 2002

The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang has 1892 as its
first citation for "Jesus H. Christ."  The following is from Mark Twain's
Notebooks and Journals 3: 305 (notebook for Aug. 1887 - July 1888):

"In correcting the pamphlet-proof of one of [Rev. Alex] Campbell's great
sermons, Wales [McCormick] changed 'Great God!' to 'Great Scott,' and
changed Father, Son & Holy Ghost to Father, Son, & Caesar's Ghost.  In
overrunning, he reduced it to Father, Son & Co., to keep _from_
overrunning. And Jesus _H._ Christ."

Twain and McCormick had been fellow apprentices on the _Missouri Courier_,
Hannibal, where Campbell preached in Nov. 1852.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

More information about the Ads-l mailing list