Soup Kitchen (1831) & Bread Line

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Oct 16 16:45:36 UTC 2002

Something I was reading in an 1830s newspaper regarding a society for "ameliorating the condition of the Jews" -- ie, converting them -- aroused a vague and perhaps false memory that the Irish had an expression along the lines of "a soup-kitchen Protestant" to refer to those who (seemingly) converted for the sake of being allowed to eat at the soup-kitchen.  Does anyone know it?

Speaking of vague and perhaps false memories.  Last summer you folks were kicking about the expression "bread line", and someone cited a late 19th C NYC baker named Fleischmann who gave away day-old bread at midnight to the poor.  This set off something that had and still has me in a state of high annoyance, for I distinctly remember a woodcut from Harper's Weekly or Frank Leslie's showing this breadline, but I can't remember where I saw it.  I have checked the most likely book thoroughly, and several others.  Danged frustrating.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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