African Dodgers

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 2 11:14:56 UTC 2011

 Wilson Gray wrote:
> Then, "*African* Dodger" is the _original_?
> That's unexpected.

I don't know. Searching for the term "artful dodger" in the desired
sense is difficult for me. Below is a cite in 1892, but George
Thompson gave a cite in 1885 for "African dodger", so it appears to be
an earlier term. Of course, most of these types of search-based
results are provisional.

Newspaper: Bradford Era
Date: 1892 July 22
Page: 1
Column: 2
City: Bradford
State: Pennsylvania

An Amateur Takes a Professional's Place and is Killed by a Base Ball.

BUFFALO, July 21. - One of the pastimes at Eagle Park is what is known
as the "Artful Dodger." An "Artful Dodger" is usually a negro who
pokes his head through a hole in a canvas suspended between two posts
and allows the pleasure seeking sightseer to throw base balls at his
head at three throws for a nickel. And that is where the artful dodger
part comes in, for it is due to the dodger's activity which keeps him
from harm. A professional dodger is hardly ever hit. Sim Jacobs, a
young white man, took the professional's place for awhile yesterday,
and, not being a professional, was hit and to-day he is dead. ...


The American Dialect Society -

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