[Ads-l] "The whole 'Mary Ann'" again, antedating to 1944

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 8 12:56:44 EST 2022

Hmm, I now see that it's possible that the idiom's "Mary Ann" may refer to
a type of wagon.

A mid-20th-c patent application -- contemporaneous with early appearances
of the idiom -- mentions this type of transport. (There's also a Wikipedia
page for "Mary Ann," which includes "Mary Anne, a caravan of wagons
carrying a stove, food, tents, blankets and tools to support a log drive,"
though there's no real citation for this there,

In any event, the wagon imagery would work well for the early uses of the
idiom, particularly 1944's and 1952's. -- Bonnie


An object of the present invention is to provide a tow hitch of the
character described particularly designed for attachment to the rear of a
Mary Ann wagon for connection thereto of the draft tongue of a second Mary
Ann wagon to be towed and which will afford a limited free swinging
movement of the hitch, enabling the coupled wagons to be moved around a
sharp turn while positively preventing the adjacent corners of the wagons
and the baggage carried thereby from colliding, thereby avoiding and
preventing a common cause of damaging and breaking of the wagons and

(From Feb. 6, 1951 NELSON 2,540,591; TOW HITCH Filed July 20, 1948
J'NVENTOR. a/OH/V d M5450 Patented Feb. 6, 1951 UNITED STATES 1 Claim;

On Sat, Jan 8, 2022 at 12:19 PM Bonnie Taylor-Blake <b.taylorblake at gmail.com>

A couple of years ago, I looked for appearances of "the whole Mary Ann" --
> a weird relative of "the whole [nine yards/shebang/megillah/enchilada,
> etc.]" -- and reported on some early ones (ca. 1950). See below.
> I no longer find my theory about how this may have evolved very appealing,
> but here's at least a sighting of the expression from 1944. (FWIW, note
> that "Mary Ann" is within quotation marks and this example joins others
> from vaguely the Pacific northwest and west coast.)
> -- Bonnie
> PACK SADDLES for mules and horses, also side sacks for pack-saddles.
> Latigos, cinchas, lariats, pads, straps, buckles, and the whole "Mary Ann"
> if you are packing to [sic] the hills.
> [From a classified ad for Farr & Elwood Co., Marshfield and Coquille,
> Oregon, in Coos Bay Times (Marshfield and North Bend, Oregon), 16 October
> 1944, p. 5.]
> On Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 4:22 PM Bonnie Taylor-Blake <
> b.taylorblake at gmail.com> wrote:
> In 1995, listmember Dan Goodman forwarded Jan Gorden's query from the
>> Stumpers-List:
>> "Dear Fellow Wombats -- We have a patron who is looking for the etymology
>> of the phrase 'the whole Mary Ann (or Marianne)'. Several of us here in
>> southern Oregon have heard this phrase and the general consensus is that it
>> means 'the whole enchilada, kit and caboodle', etc. But we can't find
>> anything that SAYS that's what it means. We have checked all our phrase
>> books, quote books, slang dictionaries, and so on. Many thanks in advance."
>> (http://www.americandialect.org/americandialectarchives/aug95.txt)
>> It doesn't appear that anyone followed up on this, so -- fond of these
>> expressions -- I went looking for some early usages of this seldom-used
>> idiom. Better late than never.
>> I should note first that DARE documents "Mary Ann(e)" as an adjective.
>> 1872 Twain Roughing It 455, [In Honolulu] I saw cats—Tomcats, Mary Ann
>> cats, long-tailed cats, bob-tailed cats.
>> 1916 DN 4.342 seOH, Mary Ann. Vile; low; mean; e.g. “That is a Mary Anne
>> saloon.” [DN Ed: “A Queen Anne front and Mary Ann back.” N. Eng. . . Also
>> N. Car. . . ]
>> [Ibid, Queen Anne. Beautiful: opposite of Mary Anne, q.v.]
>> And Jon Lighter's "The Slang of the American Expeditionary Forces in
>> Europe, 1917-1919: An Historical Glossary" (American Speech 47: 5-142,
>> 1972) mentions "all to the Mary-Ann" (1929) with the meaning
>> "satisfactory"; this is one of those "San Fairy Ann"/"Mary Ann" forms
>> evolving from "ça ne fait rien."
>> (OED lists three meanings: "[a]n effeminate man, or one who takes a
>> female role; a homosexual man," "a marijuana cigarette," and "a taximeter.")
>> I suspect that "the whole Mary Ann idea of city government" in the 1920
>> excerpt (below) may have to do with a "Mary Ann ballot," an occasionally
>> complex, sometimes unfair three- (or more) candidate ballot scheme that
>> depended on voters ranking their candidate choices (sometimes in
>> multiple voting rounds), then in place in Ohio and elsewhere. "Mary Ann
>> ballot" goes back at least to 1905. (There was no further mention of "Mary
>> Ann" in that 1920 editorial.)
>> I'm at a loss to know how this type of balloting acquired its name, but I
>> think it's at least possible that the "Mary Ann" voting mechanism may have
>> given rise to "the whole Mary Ann," a phrase signifying "the whole lot; a
>> collection of things; the whole thing."
>> Unless someone comes up with a better theory (or 19th-c instances of "the
>> whole Mary Ann").
>> -- Bonnie
>> ------------------
>> For us to have raised that point would have been to arm those who know of
>> our latent objection to the whole Mary Ann idea of city government with the
>> specious argument that we were trying to kill the blessed and innocent
>> charter for all the glory and advancement of the Republican party.
>> [From "Is the Charter Any Good?", The Akron (OH) Beacon Journal, 1
>> January 1920, p. 4.]
>> ------------------
>> "The thing had no name until a friend of mine used it in Southeastern
>> Alaska in a stream where rainbows, cutthroats, Dolly Vardens and salmon all
>> abounded. He beat the heck out of me with my own creation, and, when he
>> said 'Man, this catches 'em all; the whole Mary Ann of 'em,' the name was
>> born."
>> [From a description of the "Alaska Mary Ann Bucktail," a type of fishing
>> lure, in Joseph D. Bates, Jr., _Streamer Fly Fishing in Fresh and Salt
>> Water_ (D. Van Nostrand Co., 1950, p. 241).]
>> ------------------
>> Such a procedure would result in the whole Mary Ann going under a log jam
>> at the first sharp bend, and it wouldn't come out either.
>> [From a Google snippet view of Jay P. Williams's _Alaskan Adventure_
>> (Stackpole Company, 1952). Williams is discussing how not to maneuver a
>> boat downstream.]
>> ------------------
>> SACRIFICE ILL HEALTH -- man and wife variety store. Lower overhead;
>> stock, fixtures, the whole Mary Ann, See Bill at H. de Waard Real Estate,
>> Sutherlin, Oregon, Ph. 2142 P.O. Box 241.
>> [A classified ad in The News-Review (Roseburg, OR), 3 September 1954, p.
>> 14.]
>> ------------------
>> 324 Mixed cattle, 1,300 A. Deeded Modoc Co. 520 A. Irrig. Free water puts
>> up spprox. 400 T. hay, 6-40 A. high Mt. meadow, long lease at S270. yearly,
>> 3 Tractors all equip. large reservoir, 3 bdr. home the whole Mary Ann
>> $183,000. $29% down.
>> [From a classified ad in The Sacramento Bee, 27 April 1961, p. C17.]
>> ------------------
>> In Detroit when you talk about "the whole marianne" you mean the whole
>> thing.
>> [Arthur Unger's piece about teen slang, "The Creep Is Gone," The
>> (Louisville, KY) Courier Journal, 18 June 1961, Section 3, p. 6.]
>> ------------------
>> Keppler scores the bottle with a red-hot iron. If it doesn't explode in
>> the process he wraps the whole Mary-Ann with with [sic] adhesive tape, then
>> comes a covering of fancy ribbons.
>> [From Philip Harding's "The Cheerful Vintner" column, The Bakersfield
>> Californian, 29 May 1963, p. 14. This phrase seems to have been a favorite
>> of his.]

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