Antedating of schliemiel (1889)

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Feb 23 16:00:51 UTC 2004

On Mon, 23 Feb 2004, Sam Clements wrote:

> 14 Oct. 1889  _Sandusky Daily Register_   2/2
> <<The ancient Israelites called a man who was peculiarly unlucky a
> Schlemiel.  No matter what his opportunities he was sure to have ill
> luck. >>

Here is what appears to be an earlier usage:

1870 _Hours at Home_ July 290 (American Periodical Series)  Some of the
stories have the zest of novelty and quaintness.  That of "Anschel, the
Schlemiel," for instance, is exceedingly clever.

[This points to prior use: "But the most characteristic volume of Jewish
stories which has lately appeared is that entitled _Friday Night: a
Selection of Tales Illustrating Hebrew Life_.  These stories had already
appeared in the _Jewish Messenger_, of this city; some of them are
translations and adaptations, others original."]

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     

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