[Ads-l] Zoar survivor quote=?utf-8?Q?=E2=80=94Errol_?=Morris versions

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Jun 1 09:32:55 EDT 2021

Apologies to those not interested in this quotation hunt.

But, according to New York Times of March 16, 1975, Section XX, Page 11:

Hilda Morhart, one of two old‐time Zoarites still living, sits in her warm, cluttered parlor reading through memoirs and notes on conversations she has had with other old‐timers about the Zoar community. She has published book of Zoar lore, “The Zoar Story,” and knows as much about those mysteriously different years as anyone today. “The spirit was different then,” she says. “Those were very humble people back there. They were very close to their religion.”

So, the quote, *if​* accurately remembered, as a deathbed mention of the last living member, would be after that date (maybe from the other survivor, unless Hilda Dischinger Morhart [for whom I have not yet found an obituary] had a big change of heart) and before circa 1985.

S. Goranson
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 6:42 AM
Subject: Re: Zoar survivor quote—Errol Morris versions

Thanks to Garson!
I actually had The New Yorker piece in my notes, but forgot to include it. Yes, Feb. 6, 1989 "Predilictions" by Mark Singer (intermittent) pages 39-72, here page 72. I missed the 1995 book. (At NYT, not sure if comments are allowed on the recent Morris article (the icon is there but empty): in this case, only for subscribers? I buy the Sunday, but get the rest via uni.)

So, revised dates for the publication of the ex-Zoarite/Morris quote--assuming it, or something similar, exists--now probably well after 1930 and probably before 1985-ish.

Stephen Goranson

Here's Ben's Wall St. J. column on hijacking (May 28):
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://archive.is/G32ZH__;!!OToaGQ!87UDiYYXXhildeKOirV2ykoVl4jyh1A8JQw1AvGG0KossA9oRtoo3YCD3jF5_PQY$ <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://archive.is/G32ZH__;!!OToaGQ!4-5c1jPu3ylMQBwKHflX0-gWuwv7AXrGdmMvK0JRSfE9CBOIGlYOf8iI_QZFb4lo$>

I added at amazon a brief review of Ralph Keyes, The Hidden History of Coined Words, which I bought (published March 1, 2021).

From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2021 12:48 PM
To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu>; Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>
Subject: Re: Zoar survivor quote—Errol Morris versions

There is a match for the quotation in a 1995 book that contains a
reprint of a profile of Errol Morris written by journalist Mark
Singer. The reprint is from a collection titled "Mr. Personality" by
Singer, but the original source is "The New Yorker".

The website of "The New Yorker" indicates that the profile of Errol
Morris by Mark Singer was titled "Predilections" and it appeared in
the February 6, 1989 issue.

I have not verified the text in "The New Yorker". I currently do not
have access to "The New Yorker", but some other list member might be
able to check it. Of course, this is not direct evidence that the
quotation was employed by a Zoarite. It simply suggests that Errol
Morris was propagating it circa 1989.

Year: 1995
Book: Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best American Nonfiction
Editors: Norman Sims, ‎Mark Kramer
Publisher: Ballantine Books, New York
Quote Page 295
Database: Google Books Preview

Bibliographical Note: “Errol Morris: Predilections" from Mr.
Personality by Mark Singer. Copyright © 1989 by Mark Singer. Reprinted
by permission. Originally in The New Yorker.

[Begin excerpt]
“My favorite line in Dr. Death, I think, will be when the last living
Zoarite is quoted as saying, 'Think of it—all those religions. They
can't all be right. But they could all be wrong,” Morris said.
. . .
At the time this Profile was published in The New Yorker, in February
1989, a decision about Randall Adams' legal fate, although imminent .
. .
[End excerpt]

Date: February 6, 1989 (print edition)
Periodical: The New Yorker
Article: Profiles - Predilections
Comment: Profile of moviemaker Errol Morris by Mark Singer

Full access to this article is paywalled. I have not verified the
presence of the quotation in this article



On Mon, May 31, 2021 at 8:27 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> In the NY Times, May 28, 2021, ‘Errol Morris: What We Believe About Beliefs”:
>  “Years ago I read an anecdote about the 19th-century utopian community of Zoar [in Ohio]. It was mentioned in passing in a book about forensic psychiatry. And try as I might, I haven’t been able to source it since. The story concerns the last living inhabitant of Zoar, a woman who on her deathbed said, “Think of all those religions. They can’t all be right. But they can all be wrong.”
> So, what is the quote, or was he wrong? Other remembrances from him (check accuracy):
> 1997 Filmmaker v6 p50 [my elipses]:
> “Years ago when I was reading all sorts of different things, I stumbled across a story about this religion. ….last living inhabitant of Zoar on his [sic, though maybe a transcription error or typo for her?] deathbed…”All those religions. They can’t all be right. But they could all be wrong.”
> 2003:
> “…in her nineties on her deathbed. Think of it. All those religions. They can’t all be right. But they can all be wrong.”
> 2008 (?):
> “But I found in an archive in Ohio a record of the last inhabitant of Zoar…Think of it. All those religions? They can’t all be right. But they can all be wrong.”
> Tentatively, I assume there was some such quote, but, if in a regular published or widely-known book of forensic psychology, it seems as if it would have turned up by now. Reportedly, Morris considered making a film about Zoar, so archival text is not out of the question, though, say, the Ohio Historical Society archive could be quoted in a book. In 1930, a Mrs. Beiter [former family name of members was Beuter, Mary [Mary Beiter Carr? 1890-1969?] or Alameda, or her relatives] was said to be the oldest survivor of Zoar community. That’s not the same as the last member, but suggests a post-1930 date for the statement, the death, and the publication. Yet before about 1992?
> Stephen Goranson
> http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!59JbO_gDd2T7gbRqjKl38XM2m2mXC3q-CmsoCXIsa3MNPR2lWI0XkGLfXrcMtphA$

The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!87UDiYYXXhildeKOirV2ykoVl4jyh1A8JQw1AvGG0KossA9oRtoo3YCD3tX5Ncl2$

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list