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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 12 13:45:33 EST 2022


Great work, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing your research on an intriguing
expression.
Garson

On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 12:03 PM Bonnie Taylor-Blake
<b.taylorblake at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> 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,
> Oregon.
>
> 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,
> https://cdnc.ucr.edu/.)
>
> 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>
> wrote:
>
> 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.]
> >>
> >>
> >>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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