Verification of 1911 "Murphy's Law" Proverb Citation

Shapiro, Fred Fred.Shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 8 12:47:31 UTC 2007

I have now verified the 1911 occurrence of the "Murphy's Law" proverb from the original book:

It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that _can_ go wrong _will_ go wrong.  Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry or what not, the fact remains.
     Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant, _Our Magic_ (1911), p. 110  [this section of the book was written by Maskelyne]

I have also looked at the original book of _Magic Made Easy_ by David Devant (1910), but do not see anything resembling Murphy's Law there.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                                           Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and       YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research    Yale University Press
Yale Law School                                          ISBN 0300107986
e-mail: fred.shapiro at

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