Quote: To err is human, to really foul things up requires a computer (William E. Vaughan 1969 April 2)
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 2 22:31:04 UTC 2010
To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer.
This phrase (with small variations) appears in the Yale Books of
Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (flavors: Modern,
Humorous, Concise). The quotation is listed in the "Sayings" section,
and it is anonymous.
The ADS list archive contains a cite in the Newark Advocate dated
October 03, 1969. I think Barry Popik found it, and the YBQ uses it.
The Oxford references give a 1978 cite.
The earliest cite I have located so far appears under the title
"Senator Soaper" on April 2, 1969. The author William E. Vaughan (Bill
Vaughan) wrote the syndicated column "Senator Soaper Says".
Cite: 1969 April 2, Free Lance-Star, Senator Soaper, Page 1, Column 2,
Fredericksburg, Virginia. (Google News archive)
To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer
The above cite consists of a single free standing quotation under the
title "Senator Soaper". The entire "Senator Soaper Says" column does
not appear with this cite. But the column with the quote does appear a
few days later with slightly different punctuation.
Cite: 1969 April 6, Independent Press-Telegram, "Senator Soaper Says:"
by Bill Vaughan, Page B-2, Long Beach, California. (NewspaperArchive)
TO ERR is human, to really foul things up requires a computer.
This phrase may have been crafted by Bill Vaughan since his column
contains many original sayings. Also, there is a 1970 volume in Google
Books (snippet only) that I am attempting to check on paper which
credits the saying to Bill Vaughan.
An earlier publication date for this syndicated column is possible
because multiple newspapers ran it and published it on different days.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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