[Ads-l] "Black Friday" -- extended uses?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Dec 2 14:49:20 UTC 2014

Preface:  Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote me "there's another unaddressed 
usage of "Black Friday," which pertains to Friday the 13th.  Last I 
checked, this usage was not listed in the OED and I think that's an 
amazing oversight."  I'll leave remedying that to Bonnie or others.

There must be a very large number of (would they be called 
"extended"?) uses of "Black Friday" in many other contexts than OED3 
lists.  For example, "A Black Friday for the Athletic Base-Ball Club" 
(Boston Daily Advertiser, (Boston, MA) Saturday, September 04, 1875; 
Issue 56; col E).  Most are presumably of little interest, 
one-offs.  But there are those below.  All from 19th Century U.S. 
Newspapers; I have not tried to find these classes of usage elsewhere.

1)  1836, referring to Good Friday.

"While to commemorate this dire event,
Christians wear charcoal-color'd clothes in lent:
Nor dare they then taste any luscious dish,
But snuffle Grace o'er parsnips and salt-fish;
While on Black Friday by Saints nick-named _Good_,
Buns, gallows-marked, are deemed soul-saving food:
Till, penance over, Easter brings delight,
And then they gorge and guzzle day and night."

Boston Investigator, (Boston, MA) Friday, September 02, 1836; Issue 
24; col 1.  [The introduction to the column cites earlier sources.]

2)  1870s--1890s, referring to a day of execution.  A selection from 
among many, including the earliest and latest I found in 19th Century 
U.S. Newspapers.

"A Black Friday in New Orleans---the Hanging of Two Murderers".  [Headline.]

Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Monday, May 29, 1871; 
Issue 44; col B.

"This may well be called black Friday. There are to be three hangings 
of murderers ...".

Lowell Daily Citizen and News, (Lowell, MA) Friday, March 21, 1873; 
Issue 5264; col B.

"Black Friday. Mrs. Meaker, the Vermont Murderess, Dies Upon the Scaffold."

The Cleveland Herald, (Cleveland, OH) Saturday, March 31, 1883; Issue 
84; col B.

"Black Friday. George Matthews Hanged in Maryland for Murdering"

The Daily Picayune, (New Orleans, LA) Saturday, March 13, 1897; pg. 
6; Issue 48; col D.

3)  1861, referring to the start of the Civil War.

"Black Friday.---Friday of last week will hereafter be set down as a 
dark day in our history---as the day in which the Civil War was 
begun.  It was the 12th of April ...".

Vermont Chronicle, (Bellows Falls, VT) Tuesday, April 23, 1861; pg. 
66; Issue 17; col E. [Citing the N. Y. Evangelist.]

4)  1872 and following, a play titled "Black Friday", based on the 
1869 day of the gold panic.

Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA) Saturday, April 13, 1872; Issue 89; col A.

[And several articles later.]

5)   1878, referring to the New England "dark day" of Friday, May 19, 1780.

'The Dark Day. New England's Black Friday---People Thinking the World 
was Coming to an End---Meeting Houses Crowded and a Legislature 
Terrified---Darkness Lasts Fifteen Hours. [From the St. Nicholas for 
December.]"  [Headline.]

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, (St. Louis, MO) Monday, December 16, 1878; 
pg. 2; Issue 209; col D

6)  1873, "another Black Friday", referring to the 1869 event.

Several articles in 19th Century U.S. Newspapers.  

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

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