Barry Popik's extraordinary research -- was: Re: "the apocryphal HDAS III"

Gerald Cohen gcohen at MST.EDU
Wed Aug 4 00:28:10 UTC 2010

             This is a defense which really should not be necessary. -----
>        Barry has withdrawn from participation in the ads-l discussions, and
> the blast against him is therefore gratuitous and entirely unwarranted. I have
> been delighted and honored to work with Barry for almost twenty years and have
> benefited enormously from the material on word origins he has sent me since we
> first met.  I have written up much of that material and shared it with the
> scholarly community (word buffs too) in my Comments on Etymology and then
> books based on the Comments on Etymology material.
>       Barry has made major contributions to the study of the origin of "The
> Big Apple," "I'm from Missouri, you've got to show me," "dude," "hot dog,"  a
> wide variety of other food/drink terms, "jinx," hashhouse lingo, "cakewalk,"
> "The Windy City" (Chicago), etc. etc. etc.  My Comments on Etymology files
> show 145 of Barry's items over the years.
>      His work particularly on food items has been extraordinary and evidently
> very much appreciated by Andrew F. Smith, editor-in-chief of The Oxford
> Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (Oxford U. Pr., 2004), who listed
> Barry on the Editorial Board Page as "Senior Consulting Editor."
>       In 1992 I was president of the American Name Society and had occasion to
> honor Barry (also: Charles Gillett) in my presidential speech, given at the
> annual meeting (the dinner was at a fine restaurant in NYC, and my talk was on
> the origin of "The Big Apple.")  Barry had done extraordinary work in locating
> two needles in a haystack, viz. the two 1920s columns of John J. Fitz Gerald
> in which Fitz Gerald told how he acquired the expression "the big apple" (sic;
> lower case letters) from two black stable-hands in New Orleans.  With further
> detective work Barry determined the date of that conversation to within 48
> hours.
>       When the Internet arrived, Barry started sharing his extensive material
> with ads-l -- an enormous boon to anyone interested in the words/expressions
> of American speech.  Much of that material was lost due to a computer glitch
> in the ads-l archived material, but I have saved at least some of it, and
> Barry then picked up where he left off.  His archived material (and the
> numerous photocopies he sent me before the arrival of the Internet) represent
> a great investment of time and energy in our field, and it was truly a labor
> of love.
>     I for one (and I know I'm not alone) say thank you.
> Gerald Cohen
> Professor of Foreign Languages
> Department of Arts, Languages, and Philosophy
> Missouri University of Science and Technology
> (former name: University of Missouri-Rolla)
> Rolla, MO 65409
> ---Research specialty: Etymology
> From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Shapiro, Fred, Tue 8/3/2010 4:48
> PM
> Subject: Re: "the apocryphal HDAS III"
> <snip>
> I also think that some of the comments on ADS-L, reminiscent of Barry Popik's
> rants of the past, are very utopian sentiments that are oblivious of the
> unfortunate realities of publishing and libraries (two institutions that our
> society is rapidly devaluing).
> Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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