"pumpernickel court"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Sep 27 04:46:45 UTC 2011

"pumpernickel court" not in OED.

1)  1892 --

In 1830 he left the university and went to
Weimar, and some of his most pleasing
sketches--those in which he describes the life at
Pumpernickel Court--were doubtless drawn from his
recollections of this period of his life.

The Virginia University Magazine, May-June 1892, page 519.  Here a place-name.

This is in an article on
Thackery.  "Pumpernickel" can be found in Vanity
Fair  GBooks says in 9 times in an 1848 edition,
always as a place name; but not "pumpernickel
court".  And perhaps in other Thackery writings, looking at GBooks results.

2)  1894 --

"Oh, at Pumpernickel!" said the Colonel. "... At
Pumpernickel, I represented the Queen and Country
in a sort of way, and I was therefore a person of
consequence, to whom the Pumpernickel Court, and
Prince Hermann among the rest, could not but be civil."

Ä Prince's Love-Story", by J. Maclaran Cobban. in
Chamber's Journal, April 7, 1894, page 217, col.
1.  [on page 216, col. 2, Hermann is described as
"His Royal Highness Prince Hermannof
Schweiningen-Pumpernickel".]  Still a place-name.

3)  1914 --

Arranging the congregation with due deference to
rank was quite as difficult a process for our
forefathers as the ceremonies of a Pumpernickel court.

Mary Caroline Crawford, Social Life in Old New
England, page 166.  Becoming metaphorical?

4)  1977, but citing an earlier writer --

Though she was granddaughter to Queen Victoria,
first cousin to the Kaiser and sister to the
Grand Duchess Serge, she came from what Carlyle
contemptuously called 'a Pumpernickel Court'[54].

Michael Sidney Tyler-Whittle, The Last Kaiser: a
Biography of William II, German Emperor ..., page
154.  This is a snippet only, but presumably the
source is given in footnote 54.

Two other GBooks results, allegedly 1966 and
1981, both also attributing "pumpernickel court"
to (Thomas?) Carlyle.  Is the use attributed to
Carlye metaphorical?  And it would certainly be earlier than 1914.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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