[Ads-l] Antedating of "Booboisie"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 8 14:23:41 EST 2017

Mencken used "booboisie" within an article in the 1922 collection
"Prejudices: Third Series". According to the excerpt further below
from a review in "The New York Review of Books" the material in the
"Prejudices" series was reprinted from Mencken's journalistic pieces.
Hence, the piece in "Prejudices: Third Series" containing "booboisie"
may have appeared in a newspaper in 1922, 1921, or earlier. Maybe it
appeared in the "Baltimore Evening Sun".

Year: 1922
Book: Prejudices: Third Series
Author: Henry Louis Mencken


[Begin excerpt]
To this end, it borrowed the machine erected by Dr. Wilson and his
agents for debauching the booboisie during the actual war, and by the
skillful use of that machine it quickly organized the late conscripts
into the American Legion, alarmed them with lies about a Bolshevist
scheme to make slaves of them (i.e., to cut off forever their hope of
getting money), and put them to clubbing and butchering their fellow
[End excerpt]

Periodical: The New York Review of Books
Article: A Genius for Contempt
Author: Russell Baker


[Begin excerpt]
The material that H.L. Mencken published in a series of six volumes
under the title Prejudices was a collection of his journalism written
between 1914 and the late 1920s.
[End excerpt]


On Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 1:42 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Below is a citation for "booboisie" in a document written by H.L.
> Mencken. HathiTrust and WorldCat have both assigned a 1921 date, but
> the question mark notation indicates uncertainty.
> Document Title: A personal word, by H.L. Mencken.
> Main Author: Mencken, H. L. 1880-1956.
> Published: [n.p., 1921?]
> Subjects: Smart set (New York, N.Y.)
> Note: Caption title.
> Physical Description:         15 p.
> (The metadata above is from HathiTrust)
> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t5t72f71s
> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t5t72f71s?urlappend=%3Bseq=9
> [Begin excerpt]
> The authors who expect and demand enormous prices for their wares—the
> Carusos and Babe Ruths of letters—are but seldom the sort of authors
> we are interested in. It has been our endeavor, not to startle the
> booboisie with such gaudy stars, but to maintain a hospitable welcome
> for the talented newcomer—to give him his first chance in good
> company, and to pay him, if not the wages of a moving-picture actor,
> then at least enough to reward him decently for his labor.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 12:11 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Fred Shapiro wrote:
>>> The OED's first use for the word "booboisie" is H. L. Mencken in 1922.
>>>  A few years ago I found that Mencken had used it in the periodical Smart
>>> Set in December 1921.  I have now found a slightly earlier occurrence:
>>> 1921 St. Louis Post-Dispatch 14 Nov. 19/1 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
>>> His daughter, whom he has sent to Europe for the creditable purpose of weaning
>>>  her away from the Second Avenue booboisie.
>>> Although this is a very small antedating, it is significant because it calls into
>>> question whether Mencken originated this, one of his most celebrated
>>> word-coinages.
>> Great citation, Fred. On December 20, 1921 F.P.A. (i.e., Franklin
>> Pierce Adams) was given credit for "booboisie".
>> Unfortunately, I believe that many of the columns of Adams and Mencken
>> have not yet been digitized. For example, many Mencken columns
>> appeared in the "Baltimore Evening Sun" and these pages have not been
>> scanned and are not digitally searchable. (Of course, the "Baltimore
>> Sun" has been scanned, but the two papers were distinct.)
>> Mencken did use "boobery" and "bamboozling the boobs" in 1920 based on
>> columns reprinted in "A Carnival of Buncombe" (1956).
>> Newspaper: The St. Louis Star and Times
>> Newspaper Location: St. Louis, Missouri
>> Date: December 20, 1921
>> Article: Leading Press Opinions: Lucky at That
>> Quote Page 16, Column 2
>> Database: Newspapers.com
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> The receiver for George V. Halliday, the bankrupt broker who recently
>> became entangled in the financial affairs of J. P. Morgan and la
>> Republique Francaise, announces, after an inventory of the young man's
>> assets and liabilities, that the creditors "will be lucky to get three
>> cents on the dollar."
>> They will be lucky, at that. Members of what F. P. A. calls the
>> "booboisie" who will invest the savings of a lifetime with an
>> individual of whom they know little or nothing, who will put their
>> hard-earned  money into securities which they have not investigated
>> are  really being overpaid  when they get three cents on the dollar.
>> [End excerpt]
>> Garson

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

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