Second City (8 August 1890)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Sep 1 02:02:50 UTC 2002


Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. It is located in the state of Illinois, on the shores of Lake Michigan. The greater Chicago metropolitan area is known colloquially as Chicagoland.

"The Windy City" - It is often recited that this nickname was first used by Charles Gibson Dana, editor of the New York Sun and former editor of the Chicago Republican in 1890 in reference to the city's claims for the World Columbian Exposition. In this theory, it is said the nickname was inspired by the speechmaking proclivities of its politicians more than by its prevailing weather conditions. Ardent word sleuth Barry Popik, however, has found a reference to the "Windy City" in the Cleveland Gazette? dated 19 September 1885. The name may indicate the summer breezes as is described at Weather Doctor's Weather History.

"Second City" (so called because it was, for many years, the second-largest city in the United States, and also because of its rebirth after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871). The term was originated in an article by A.J. Liebling? that appeared in The New Yorker.


   A. J. Liebling (1904-1963) did NOT coin the nickname "Second City" in the pages of THE NEW YORKER or in his 1952 book of that title (New York: Knopf).
   I had long known that the term was used in the 1893 World's Fair.  This, from "the offical rough count as announced by the Census Bureau today," is probably the earliest:

   8 August 1890, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 1 headline:

   Here are some titles between 1890 and 1952, from the NYT and OCLC WORLDCAT databases:

1923 (WORLDCAT):  Chicago, the Great Central Market: Brief Story of the Second Largest City in the United States
16 October 1932 (NYT):  Drama Items from the Nation's Second City
30 April 1933 (NYT):  The Second City Strikes a Pose.
1940 (WORLDCAT):  The Remarkable Regeneration of America's Second City Under its Democratic Mayor

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