[Ads-l] Dixie notes

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sat Jan 28 11:13:21 EST 2017

*If*--not yet established--Dixie (as in Dixie's Land, Dixie Land, Land of Dixey, etc.) was derived from the Mason-Dixon Line, and one side of that, did the children's dance (?) "Dixey's Land" published in NY but set as a sequel to "The [sic, A] Christmas Carol" [1] also so derive or not, but a coincidence?

[Among semi-skeptics, after favorably quoting HDAS, D. Gold, St. in Ety. 155,  the Mason and Dixon line "...may have been too little known to the average person to give rise to a word as informal as Dixie."]

Plain Dealer [Cleveland OH] Feb. 18, 1856:

The Petersburg (Va.) Democrat, of the 5th inst., states that, at Richmond, the week previous, Susan Denin, the noted actress, was married to Mr. Huntington, a member of Christy's Minstrels. Huntington is better known as "Dan Emmett."

Give the above, note that Susan Denin, reportedly, sang a rousing version of Dixie in 1961 in New Orleans. Not mentioned in Hans Nathan's Minstrelsy 1962 book (1977 2nd. ed., non vide).

Speaking of N. O., the Dix-s, French-voiced Ten, bills, seem an unlikely source.

Can Henry Hotze, Confederate propagandist and racist and editor of The Index [London] be taken as a reliable witness in claiming that northern blacks had before 1859 "for years" exclaimed "I wish I were in Dixie"?

Were the reports of kind slave owner Dix or Dixey (etc.) in New York claimed counter nostalgia propaganda (fake news fighting fake news?)?

Dan Emmett did claim--in contradictory accounts--composing the song (Way Up North in Dixie by H. and J. Sacks claims otherwise) but--correct me if not so--did not claim the origin of the term Dixie?

If Dixie were overdetermined (avant la lettre?) might we recall that Dorothea Dix championed a bill in the US Congress 1852-1856 for federal land to be given for asylum and treatment of the mentally ill? And that this bill was referred to as, among other things, Miss Dix's Land Bill and Miss Dix's Land Grant Bill. (Passed by both chambers in 1856 but vetoed by F. Pierce)

Be that as it may, in 1861 an odd note was published apparently concerned with Miss Dix, who also urged prison reform:

[headline] Miss Dix's Land

[text] Sing-Sing, [sic: sing hyphen sing comma vacat]

Stephen Goranson




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

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