"Step on a crack, break your mother's back" (1917)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Jan 28 02:42:46 UTC 2005

I can't find a date for this saying anywhere. I don't know if Fred Shapiro
has or needs "crack," but here's some.

Tells of  Struggle and "Nonsupport." _
AUDRIE ALSPAUGH  CHASE. Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963).  Chicago, Ill.:
Jan 13, 1917. p. 5 (1 page) :

You must remember yourselves how serious a business that was when once you
hopped--it was usually a board sidewalk in your hopping days, was it not?--down
 the walk to the legend, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back,"
endeavoring  with great filial devotion to avoid the necessity for any such maternal
DORIS BLAKE. Chicago  Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Jan 23, 1921.
p. F2 (1 page)
"STEP on a crack, you break your mother's back," is a ridiculous
superstition which almost every youngster has put faith in at one time or  another by
hopping over the crack in the sidewalk. Didn't you do it?
     _Nebraska State Journal _
Wednesday, August 25, 1897 _Lincoln,_
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search=city:lincoln+step+on+a+crack+AND)  _Nebraska_
...dozens of persONs  who believe thAt to STEP ON A crAck Is  A sign thAt
they will.....And is trying to  Avoid STEPpingON A crAck between tho  flAgstONes
forming the..

Pg. 4, col. 7:

The peculiar manner in which a well dressed gentleman walked down Chestnut
street a few evenings ago attracted attention. Some of his steps were of
ordinary length, while others were very short, and others still very long. A
stalwart policeman explained the peculiarity. "That man," said he, "is a
crack-stepper--that is, he is superstitious and is trying to avoid stepping on a  crack
between the flagstones forming the sidewalk. There are dozens of persons  who
believe that to step on a crack is a sign that they will meet with bad luck.
They soon get into the habit of regulating their steps so as to avoid the
cracks, and they are unconscious of the peculiarity of their  movements.

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