[Ads-l] Quote: Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 18 03:21:16 EST 2017
Thanks for your response, Fred. The August 27 1885 citation you found
is very valuable. Now there has been another advance. Barry Popik
shared with me, Fred, and some other researchers off-list a slightly
earlier citation dated August 19, 1885.
The revised QI article includes the August 19 citation (with
acknowledgement). I also added a precursor dated November 20, 1875
from the "New-York Tribune" that employs the same metaphor and
contains the phrase "insolvent merchant who has his eggs in too many
The QI article still leads with the text from the 1902 book "The
Empire of Business" published by Carnegie. This is a late date, but
the speech in the book is described as: From an address to Students of
the Curry Commercial College, Pittsburg on June 23, 1885 (as Fred
already knows). I conjecture that Carnegie saved the manuscript of his
speech, and the text is based on his personal manuscript. Certainly,
this conjecture might be wrong. In any case, the text of the earliest
solidly dated document is also important, so the QI article includes
Carnegie's 1920 autobiography includes an interesting variant: put all
good eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.
On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 6:57 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> Thanks to Garson for his contribution to the historiography of this
> quotation, which is one of my favorites. In the quoteinvestigator article,
> it is not clear whether he was concerned with the earliest printed record of
> Carnegie's usage of the quote, but if that is of interest I can supply
> earlier evidence than the Oct. 21, 1885 citation he mentions. In my files
> for the second edition of the Yale Book of Quotations, I have the following
> revised Carnegie item:
> “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. I tell you, "Put all
> your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket."
> Quoted in Christian Union, 27 Aug. 1885. Carnegie said this in an address to
> students at Curry Commercial College, Pittsburgh, Pa., 23 June 1885. The
> quotation is almost universally attributed to Mark Twain, but Twain’s usage
> was later, and he probably picked it up from Carnegie.
> See Proverbs 84
> Thanks to Garson, I should change "he probably picked it up" to "in his
> notebook he credited Carnegie for it."
> Fred Shapiro
> From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, February 17, 2017 4:13 AM
> To: American Dialect Society
> Subject: Quote: Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket
> The Quote Investigator website has a new entry about the quotation in
> the subject line.
> Fred Shapiro and Barry Popik are acknowledged. The key early citation
> for Carnegie is listed in The Yale Book of Quotations. Fred made the
> following remark in his entry for the quotation:
> [Begin excerpt from YBQ]
> The quotation is almost universally attributed to Mark Twain, but
> Twain’s usage was later, and he probably picked it up from Carnegie.
> [End excerpt from YBQ]
> My incremental contribution to this topic is a confirmation of Fred's
> hypothesis. Sometime between April 10, 1893 and April 23, 1893 Mark
> Twain recorded in one of his personal notebooks the following:
> [Begin note]
> “Put all your eggs in one basket—and watch that basket.” Andrew Carnegie.
> [End note]
> Thus, Twain credited Carnegie when he learned about the saying. This
> information is based on "Mark Twain's Notebook" (1935) edited by
> Albert Bigelow Paine.
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