A 19th Century F-Word Use

Wed Feb 9 01:35:25 UTC 2005

        Gene Weingarten's column, in the Washington Post for 2/6/2005 and syndicated in other newspapers, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55085-2005Feb1.html, reproduces an interesting use of "fucking" from the National Archives:

        <<A page from the census report for the inhabitants of Dade County, Ga., in 1850, lists each resident, his or her age, occupation and place of birth, and whether he or she is "deaf, dumb, blind, insane or idiotic." One page lists several farmers and their families, and four single women: Sarah and Mary Doyle, and Lucinda and Susan Killion. One may assume the census recorder did not approve of these women, or had a perverse sense of humor, or both. In a formal, flowery handwriting similar to that found on, say, the U.S. Constitution, all four women's occupations are listed as: "[F-word]ing.">>

        Weingarten indicated in an online chat today that the archivists were astonished to find the term.  Presumably they brought it to his attention for use in his humor column.

John Baker

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