"hot dog" T.A. Dorgan story in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Thu Jul 3 02:13:12 UTC 2008

The T.A. Dorgan story on "hot dog" continues unabated.  The usually excellent St. Louis
Post-Dispatch presents this story today as possibly being accurate, which is equivalent to giving credence to the views of the flat-earth society.  There's no possibility that the T.A. Dorgan story is accurate. None. zero.

  My thanks to Barry Popik for e-mailing me the two links below--the first is a St Louis Post-Dispatch story on the "hot dog" book that Barry Popik, the late David Shulman, and I published in 2004.  The second one is today's story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  If its author (Anthony Hagan) is ever curious about what really happened, he need only ask.

      Meanwhile, on a general note, the T.A. Dorgan Polo Grounds hot-dog story shows the persistence of a folk etymology in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.  It's such a good story, why give it up merely because it's been disproven?

      As for the two links, they're given below my signoff.

Gerald Cohen
P.S. The incorrect T. A. Dorgan story is about a baseball game at the POLO GROUNDS.  It wasn't about a polo match, as Hagan writes. But, hey, as long as facts don't matter, why sweat these details?

[Two "hot dog" links]:
Word sleuths dig up true origin of the term "hot dog" <http://docs.newsbank.com/g/GooglePM/SL/lib00170,1073CC625FF3B5E2.html>

$2.95 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - NewsBank - Dec 26, 2004
... was a staple of humor in the 19th century and in the 20th," says Gerald Cohen, ... As a part of speech, hot dog has had legs. Cohen and colleagues also ...
Hot dogs has evolved into an all-American favorite
By Anthony Hagan


In 1901, the name "hot dog" began to overtake "frankfurter," "red hot," "dachshund," "frank" and "wiener." The story goes that Tad Dorgan, a New York Journal sports cartoonist, was attending a polo match on a blustery April day when he noticed vendors selling sausages kept hot in portable water tanks. The vendors were shouting: "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!"

Dorgan quickly drew a sketch of the scene, and not knowing how to spell dachshund, he called them "hot dogs."

However, historians cannot locate the cartoon that supposedly coined the phrase. Others say the term was originated when Yale's student newspaper wrote about "dog wagons" selling hot dogs in fall 1894.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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