[Ads-l] Serenity Prayer Query

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Feb 16 03:39:22 EST 2021


I do not know whether Courage/Serenity Prayer is mentioned in those interviews. I included them because as potential sources they, I guessed, may not be well known. I could have also mentioned the sloppy booklet that pursued the question whether there was a German precursor. It can be difficult to determine how or whether to respond to a request in a case where the requester does not much indicate what is already gathered. I did some research on the prayer, but may not have anything you prefer. I'll try to know the difference.

Stephen Goranson
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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2021 11:24 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer Query

Yes, I have the many biographies of Niebuhr, almost all of them written in complete ignorance of the pre-1943 history of the Serenity Prayer, and Niebuhr's papers.  I am not familiar with his interviews with Mike Wallace and Harlan B. Phillips -- does he talk about the Serenity Prayer in those interviews ?

Fred Shapiro



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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2021 11:09 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer Query

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

SG
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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
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer Query

Dave,

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.

Fred


________________________________
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
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
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
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
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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