Dope, LA Times, 1888-89

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jun 11 22:57:53 UTC 2006

Excellent, Dave !


Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Dave Wilton
Subject: Dope, LA Times, 1888-89

I've found a cluster of citations for "dope," in the sense of opium, from
the Los Angeles Times, 1888-89. They're the earliest uses of this sense that
I'm aware of by a couple of years. All are from ProQuest Historical
Newspapers Los Angeles Times. No bylines are given, but since all of them,
with the exception of the one about the Senate bill, concern the police
beat, they may have been penned by the same reporter.

2 May 1888, p. 2; headline:
A Sallow-Faced Pipe-hitter and a Nude Female Captured--A Disgrace to
Civilized Los Angeles--The Unfortunate Girl Weeps Bitter Tears"

4 August 1888, p. 2; headline:
"Contraband 'Dope'"
>From within the story:
"Yesterday a couple of Chinamen were caught trying to work this scheme, and
about an ounce of 'dope' confiscated."

9 October 1888, p. 4; headline:
'Dope' Opium Excluded by the Senate Tariff Bill."
>From within the story:
" was made to appear that opium for smoking had been freed of duty. As
a matter of fact, the substitute bill expressly prohibits the importation of
such opium." [This passage doesn't include the word "dope," but goes toward
its definition.]

25 October 1888, p. 2; headline:
A Successful Raid by Office Phelan Yesterday."
>From within the story:
"Officer Phelan yesterday afternoon raided a notorious opium joint on
Alameda street, capturing a white man and two women, as well as the Chinaman
who had been in the habit of selling habitues of the place their 'dope.'"

22 January 1889, p. 8, The City In Brief:
"Molten is a 'dope' fiend, and, so far as known, he is the only negro in the
city who is addicted to the opium habit. He is a tough character and is
well-known to the police."

25 February 1889, p. 5; headline:
The People Who Visit It--A Description of the 'Dope' Rooms--An Officer Will
Bring the Matter Before the Grand Jury."
>From within the story:
"...there is a regular training school in this county, only a few miles from
Los Angeles, where people are taught for a few dollars how to handle the
'dope' pipe, roll pills and inhale the deadly fumes."

5 June 1889, p. 8, The City In Brief:
"Lizzie Lopez, the notorious 'dope' fiend, recently tried before Justice
Owens for smoking opium, was yesterday found guilty."

--Dave Wilton
dave at

The American Dialect Society -

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list