[Ads-l] Serenity Prayer Query

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Feb 15 11:09:03 EST 2021

Maybe you have the Reinhold Niebuhr biographies already, and his papers, and interviews with Mike Wallace and with Harlan B. Phillips?

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2021 10:16 AM
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer Query


Thanks for your suggestion.  Unfortunately, the resource you mention does not cover the relevant time-period.

I have spent a lot of my life studying stories of word-coinage and quotation-coinage, and the Serenity Prayer is far and away the most interesting and complex such story.  I and a collaborator have amassed an amazing amount of evidence, but there are still some very intricate mysteries at the heart of the saga.


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of dave at WILTON.NET <dave at WILTON.NET>
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2021 9:09 AM
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer Query

Have you tried the American Religion: Denominational Newspapers database?
It's part of the Newsbank:Readex service, but it's distinct from the general
historical newspapers on that service.

Also, poking about a theological seminary library's collection may turn up
relevant prospects.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of
Shapiro, Fred
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2021 8:10 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] Serenity Prayer Query

As some on this list may be aware, I have for two decades been diligently
researching the origins of the famous "Serenity Prayer."  My researches have
been covered by two front-page articles in the New York Times, among many
other media.  I continue to investigate this fascinating story, and
important new information continues to come to light.

I have searched all the major historical databases of newspapers, journals,
books, and legal sources, such as Newspapers.com, NewspaperArchive,
Genealogy Bank, Chronicling America, ProQuest, Readex, Fulton History,
JSTOR, HeinOnline, Google Books, Hathi Trust, Internet Archive, Elephind,
British Newspaper Archive, Trove, Ebsco, etc.  But I think there are other,
specialized databases that I may have overlooked or not been aware of.  For
example, Bill Mullins uses a database of publications about magic.  Can any
suggest to me any obscure sources I might search for Serenity Prayer
occurrences, particularly from the 1930s ?

Fred Shapiro

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