Antedating of the Term "Murphy's Law"

Shapiro, Fred Fred.Shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 14 03:27:43 UTC 2007

Google Books appears to show the term _Murphy's law_ in a 1953 book, _The Making of a Scientist_ by Anne Roe.  This would be two years earlier than the earliest use of the term previously found by anyone.

I have not yet checked the original book, but will do so and report to this list on it.  The Google Books snippets do not show any explanation of why the name Murphy was used, but the snippets may cut off valuable information.

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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