Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 30 13:01:00 UTC 2011

Why single out printers? Printers were one of the first groups to get
organized, at least in the US, and they tended to be literate, so
things were written down.


On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "subbing"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Great antedating, but I have to question the OED description--why single
> out printers? The term applies equally in contemporary usage to
> part-time nurses and substitute teachers. Is the implication that it
> originated with substitute printers? Or simply that the earliest known
> use was among printers? I find it doubtful that it /extended/ from
> printers to teachers, then to general substitution. It's far more likely
> that it was an independent truncation. So why single out printers?
> But there is another related meaning of sub v. that's completely
> missing. sub==subcontract
> And if you think this is recent US development with federal contracts,
> think again!
> http://goo.gl/hV3Gy
> Documents, Including Messages and Other Communications, Made to the
> Forty-Fourth General Assembly of the State of Ohio. Volume 10, Part 2.
> Columbus, OH: 1846
> Report of the Commissioners Appointed Under the Act of March 6, 1845. p. 64
>> The /report /of Mr. Yontz states that John Breacelin was the
>> contractor for /breaking /the metal upon the above named miles, but
>> that the contract for /putting on /was, on the 129th mile, awarded to
>> JamesTaggart, and on the balance of the above named miles to B.
>> O'Neill; and yet this receipt is a pretended payment for /putting on,
>> /as well as for /breaking. /Mr. Breacelin further states, that he
>> thinks Mr. Mulrine pretended to him, that he, Mulrine, had paid out
>> some money for him on some contract subbed in his, Breacelin's, name,
>> and requested Mr. Breacelin to sign a receipt for the same.
> Deposition of Thomas J. Davis. September 23, 1845. p. 366
>> Question. State whether you done any breaking under the contract of
>> last fall, on the road east of Columbus.
>> Answer. I can only say as to that, if I got any contracts of which I
>> am not certain', the work was done; it was subbed out by William
>> Mulrine, at what prices, or to whom subbed, I don't know.
>> ...
>> Answer. I did execute a contract, and the bond shown to me is the one
>> I executed; I can't recollect what miles were in the contract at the
>> time I signed it; Mr. Yontz handed me several contracts at the same
>> time, and I signed them all, without paying much attention to it.
>> Question. Do you know of any work having been done under the above
>> contract for breaking: and, if so, how much?
>> Answer. I done no work myself, and did not sub it. All I know is, that
>> Mulrine told me that he had subbed out all my work, except what I
>> subbed myself; think I have got some pay for work done on these miles,
>> but can't say how much on these particular miles, or any other.
>> ...
>> Question. State whether any work was done on these miles: and, if so,
>> how much, and by whom was it done?
>> Answer. I did not do any work on those miles, but was informed by
>> Mulrine, that he (Mulrine,) had subbed it, but to whom, and what
>> amount of work was done, I am unable to state.
> Deposition of J. W. Carey. November 15, 1845. p. 435
>> Deponent further states that, some time in 1843, James Blair stated to
>> deponent that he hacl made, by his agency in superintending works in
>> the neighborhood of Sidney, three thousand dollars. That, upon some
>> sections that he done work as agent, he subbed his work out at a
>> profit of about five cents per yard; the work being done at the same
>> time that he was receiving three dollars per day as agent. And further
>> this deponent saith not.
> [The word "subbed" occurs in the text at least 6 more times.]
> This was a fortuitous find, as most GB hits for "subbed" and "subbing"
> are actually for sobbed/ing, stabbed/ing and rubbed/ing.
>     VS-)
> PS: I don't want it to appear that I am ignoring the second part of the
> definition--I only take issue with the first.
> On 10/29/2011 4:56 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>>              Among this portion [of Journeymen Printers] are found most of
>> those who have no permanent situations, -- who live by *subbing*, as it is
>> termed, on the Daily Papers, and *rushing* out cheap publications, on the
>> arrival of a steamer from Europe, when the public is on the *qui vive* for
>> Dickens's or Sue's latest literary wonder.
>>              New-York Daily Tribune, September 11, 1845, p. 2, cols.
>> 2-3(quoted passage is from col. 2)  From "The
>> Journeymen Printers." , No. XII in the series Labor in New-York: Its
>> Circumstances, Conditions and Rewards.
>> OED: Sub, verb; hence, "subbing"
>>   2. To work as a printer's substitute. In gen. use, to act as a substitute.
>> Also trans., to substitute (something). Chiefly U.S.
>> 1853    =E2=80=98M. Twain=E2=80=99 Let. 26 Oct. (1917) I. i. 26,   I am sub=
>> bing at the
>> Inquirer office.
>> 1853    =E2=80=98M. Twain=E2=80=99 Let. 26 Oct. (1917) I. i. 26   If I want=
>>   it, I can get
>> subbing every night of the week.
>> 1879    University Mag. Nov. 589   At Cincinnati where he [Edison]=E2=80=A5=
>> =E2=80=98subbed=E2=80=99
>> for the night men whenever he could obtain the privilege.
>> 1926    Amer. Mercury Dec. 465/2   When a new act was placed last on a
>> programme, Variety put it: =E2=80=98Fred and Daisy Rial subbed in the walk-=
>> out
>> assignment.=E2=80=99
>> --=20
>> George A. Thompson
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