Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 14 00:57:38 UTC 2011

There was some discussion here about the earliest occurrence of a well-known quotation.  I verified it in the privately published first edition of the book in question:

If you want something very, very badly, let it go free.  If it comes back to you, it's yours forever.  If it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with.
Jess Lair, I Ain't Much Baby -- But I'm All I've Got [page 98, chapter 19] (1969)
Note:  This was written by one of Lair's students as part of a class assignment.

Fred Shapiro
YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)

The American Dialect Society -

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