[Ads-l] Sources for FedEx Anecdote

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun May 15 11:14:17 EDT 2016

There is a famous anecdote about FedEx founder Frederick W. Smith.  Wikipedia tells it as follows:

"In 1962, Smith entered Yale University. While attending Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class, outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age. Folklore suggests that he received a C for this paper, although in a later interview he claims that he told a reporter, 'I don't know what grade, probably made my usual C,' while other tales suggest that his professor told him that, in order for him to get a C, the idea had to be feasible. The paper became the idea of FedEx ..."

I am interested in tracing the earliest version of this anecdote, and would welcome any information about primary or secondary sources for early versions.

Fred Shapiro

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

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