[Ads-l] "The whole Mary Ann" again (1909, 1923-1925)

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 11 12:03:12 EST 2022

Not sure there's much interest in this weird west-coast (?) idiom, but I
thought I'd forge ahead ...

A couple of days ago I pushed "the whole Mary Ann" back to 1944, Coos Bay,

Yesterday I found some usages of the idiom in a Eureka, California
newspaper in 1909 and then again from 1923-1925. See below.

Eureka, in northern California, is separated by about 200 miles from Coos
Bay as the crow flies. Both are located on the coast.

I still have no idea what, if anything, "Mary Ann" refers to. Possibly a
wagon or cart or boat or some other kind of transport? A (silver or gold)
mine? Something else? Nothing?

-- Bonnie

(The following were found in UCR's California Digital Newspaper Collection,

A BIG BARGAIN if taken in a few days. A choice building site of four lots,
fenced, clear, level, sightly, only $900, for the whole Mary Ann. See
BAKER, 608 Second St. (A classified ad appearing in The Daily Humboldt
Times [Eureka, CA], 6 January 1909, p. 7.)

We couldn't make satisfactory terms for the loan of Barney [the dog],
because there wasn't no part of Herrick's clothes that would be any good to
me without calling in a tent maker to make 'em smaller, and besides,
Westphal wanted the whole Mary Ann, which would have left me shivering in
nothing at all, and it's cold nights. (From The Rambler's "Such is Life"
column, The Humboldt Times, 25 July 1923, p. 5.)

In the four years my brother and I have been operating a truck line over
this territory and we have chosen this spot as the best of the whole "Mary
Ann." (From "Redway is name of new summer home division," The Humboldt
Times, 26 August 1923, p. 3.)

Again the blade of the butter knife ordinarilly [sic] has a number of
serations [sic] which serve the double purpose of cutting a tough crust
without skidding the whole Mary Ann into the lap of a neighbor, and tending
to somewhat muffle the natural sounds arising from the free consumption of
this popular dish. (From The Rambler's "Such is Life" column, The Humboldt
Times, 20 April 1924, p. 5.)

CLOSE IN HOME SNAP -- Close to the Post Office, 5 room cottage, bath and
tubs, new paper, good paint, cement walks and a new woodshed and new
garage, the whole Mary Ann for $2,000. (A classified ad appearing in The
Humboldt Times, October 1925, p. 8.)

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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