"(Parade of the) Horribles" (1851)
Joel S. Berson
Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jan 27 00:02:16 UTC 2011
However, the 1850's parades are not my Ancient and Honourable
Artillery Company, which was formed in 1637.
But there is an interesting "Trivia" bit in the Wikipedia article:
"In 1927 Chepachet, Rhode Island founded the Ancient and Horribles
Parade as a parody of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.
 Bryan Rourke, "Ancient and Horribles Parade has long
tradition," Providence Journal (Lifebeat) (July 3,
(accessed December 19, 2008)."
Given Victor's discovery, Mr. Rourke and Wikipedia (and perhaps the
American Speech author?) appear to be 75 years late. Although there
may be a Rhode Island connection.
The American Antiquarian Society holds the "Third annual parade of
antique horribles, and jim jam convulsionist" and dates it "[between
1850 and 1859?]" (Victor gave an unquestioned date of 1850). It
would be interesting to see if the text names or alludes to the
Ancient and Honourable Society.
Neither they nor the Boston Public Library seems to hold Victor's
other broadside (1859), "Programme of the Antiques and Horribles!".
Re EAN, I previously reported only that the word "horribles" first
appears in 1792. I now report a parade from 1851:
Independence in Lowell.---The Fourth was celebrated in Lowell with
great "pomp and circumstance." ... In the forenoon there was a parade
of the "Antiques and Horribles,' whose name is remarkably
characteristic of the drill and appearance of the company. After
marching through the principal streets, the Company was drawn up on
the North Common ... the company "played out the play" in a very
Farmer's Cabinet, published as The Farmers' Cabinet.; Date:
07-10-1851; Volume: 49; Issue: 48; Page: ; Location: Amherst, New Hampshire.
This is presumably Lowell, Mass. Later in the article we are told
that there was a "procession" "formed at about 11 o'clock", which
reads like the more typical and serious parade of (small New England)
EAN has a couple of other articles from Massachusetts newspapers of
1857 about such parades in Massachusetts towns, and in 1876 and 1877
again from "The Farmers' Cabinet", the parade now taking place in its
own town, Amherst, N.H.
Mockeries of militia "musters" were becoming common in New England
around the 1830s, probably especially by college students -- for
example, at Bowdoin (Maine). That may account for the Brown students
in Victor's 1859 find. (Neither the broadside of 1859 nor Victor's
other 1859 find, from GBooks, "Re-union of the sons and daughters of
Newport, R. I., August 23, 1859", reads like a parody of a militia
muster, although the latter was composed of the "Punkinvil Rangers"
of Newport and the "Block Island Guards" of Providence.)
At 1/26/2011 04:58 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>Well, there is this interesting piece in GB:
>Title Third annual parade of antique horribles, and jim jam
>convulsionist. ...: Per order Gen, Dennis O. Seldomfed
>Publisher E.T. Whittier, printer, Stoneham., 1850
>Length 1 pages
>Of course, there is no entry in any library on WorldCat and GB has no
>text available. But there is an alternative--it turns out to be a
>broadsheet from the LoC collection.
>>Performance includes: Squad of police, mounted on leveling machines,
>>assisted by kack lasters, nail stickers, bottom artists and tie-uppers
>>-- Gen. Dennis O. Seldomfed -- Brass band. Performers include: Gen
>>Dennis O. Selfomfed; Prudence Ann Brown, Partick Shanshagnessy, N.G.;
>>Henry W. Beecher; Vic Woodhull; Woman in white; Ned O'Baldwin; Mary's
>The year is actually unverified but it's sometime in the 1850s. Readex
>does not appear to have it.
>Another similar item appears here:
>Title Programme of the Antiques and Horribles!: For their sixth
>annual parade, July 4th, 1859
>Author Franklin Office (Providence, R.I.)
>Contributors Robert A. Pierce, William H. Berry
>Publisher From Franklin Printing House, Providence, Pierce & Berry,
>Length 1 pages
>The circumstances are very similar to the one above. So is the note:
>>Printed in two columns divided by single line. Facetious program
>>includes Delegation from the senior class from Brown University,
>>completing the burial, or, The burial of Hoyle. Promises to include a
>>sea serpent, the "King of the Feejee Islands," and a delegation from
>>Mother Goose. N-YHS copy: fabric lining.
>The difference is that it's listed as available at Brown and NY
>Historical Society. Both are clearly intended as humor.
>There are a number of references to "horribles" in the context of
>processions and parades, some combining "Antiques and Horribles" or
> Hawaii: "At 6 a. m. the "Antiques and Horribles" are out and it is
>a grotesque and fantastic picture worth one's while. The ball is opened!"
> 1894 report from Hawaii
> History of July 4th celebrations in Grand Rapids, MI, where
>"procession of antique horribles" is mentioned from 1860 forward (making
>the dates of the two broadsides above highly plausible).
> [New Haven] Battalion of Antiques and Horribles
> First Co. Fantasticals, Antiques and Horribles, Capt. George K. Jewell.
> all alternating with Drum Corps and horn bands.
> Somehow, this London publication picks it up as well--in John
>Drew's Mule Story: "Father, the boys are going to celebrate Independence
>to-morrow in the village, and there is going to be a procession of the
>'Antiques and Horribles' in the morning--mayn't I go over early and see
>the fun ?"
> Antiques and Horribles with Chinese crackers!
> Melrose, MA: "Following this came a procession of the Antiques and
>Horribles, under the command of Chief Marshall Klaw-Hammer, ending with
>an oration from the music-stand on School-house Green, on Emerson
>Street, by Col. Much Chin."
> Seems to be the same RI event referenced in the second broadsheet.
>"The Antiques and Horribles were under the command of the gallant
>It certainly appears as if "Parade/procession of Antiques and Horribles"
>originated some time in the 1850s, apparently in New England, as a comic
>counterpoint to the 4th of July celebration. If there are earlier
>references, I haven't found them in GB. Perhaps in EAN?
>There is a one-off 1822 appearance where "horrible" is just one
>adjective turned into noun, with the phrase repeated several times: "Not
>seven Xs; but one X." (X= Insatiable, Inexorable, Hideous, Execrable,
>On 1/26/2011 4:03 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>Fred, was the American Speech author any more
>>specific about where his association with the
>>Ancient and Honourable Company came from?
>>EAN has "horribles" earliest in 1792 (perhaps a
>>useful interdating between 1726 and 1851): "List
>>of Horribles" (article title). Catskill [New
>>York] Packet; Date: 09-03-1792; Volume: I; Issue:
>>5; Page: . Of course the Ancient and
>>Honourable antedates American newspapers.
>>GBooks gives "parade of 'Horribles'" [note the
>>interior quote marks] in Youth's Companion,
>>allegedly 1885, Vol. 58 (snippet). That is
>>reasonably consistent (within one year?) with a
>>first publication date of 1827. That's the
>>earliest I saw for this specific phrase. "Of
>>horribles" by itself seems to appear in 1878 and the 1880s.
>>At 1/26/2011 02:58 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>>>Actually, JSTOR shows that John M. Maguire used
>>>"parade of horribles" in the Yale Law Journal in
>>>1939 (it is disturbing that HeinOnline didn't
>>>call up the 1939 usage). More interestingly,
>>>there was an article in American Speech in 1940
>>>suggesting that the word "horribles" in "parade
>>>of horribles" is a corruption of the word
>>>"honorable" in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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