[Ads-l] Antedating Martian - noun, a being from Mars

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 27 14:09:05 EDT 2018

In October 2015, Garson O'Toole found an example of "Martian" in a Scottish newspaper in early 1870.  Jonathan Lighter found the source of that article in the magazine, Once a Week (Ser. 3), IV (Aug. 28, 1869), p. 87.


"Martians" appears in a transcript of an address delivered to the New York Historical Society in December 1868 by John Motley (who shortly thereafter became Ambassador to England) published sometime in 1869.  Newspapers in England and the US reviewed the publication in May and June 1869, establishing that it was published before the August 1869 magazine article.


In popular periodicals and lectures of to-day you may learn much of the bays, rivers, inlets, oceans, and continents of the planet Mars; and if inclined for a vacation excursion, and could you find a conveyance thither, you might easily arrange a tour in that planet, starting from Huggin’s Inlet and sailing thirty thousand miles along one of its very convenient estuaries without ever losing sight of land.  I know not whether the Martians have accepted the nomenclature of Dawes Continent, Table-Leg Bay, and the other designations laid down on their planet by the spirited geographers of ours; but at least they might be flattered did they know of the interest they excite on this earth.

[End Excerpt]

Historic Progress and American Democracy: An address delivered before the New York Historical Society, at their sixty-fourth anniversary, by John Lothrop Motley on December 16, 1868, New York, Charles Scribner & Co., 1869, page 36.

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

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