Social Climbers (Philadelphia, 1885) (continued)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Jun 16 19:33:01 UTC 2000

   About a year ago, William Safire stated in his column that his Syracuse University professor had coined the term "social climber."
   I instantly found an earlier hit on JSTOR, and Fred Shapiro found an even earlier citation and posted it here.  (The New York Times "On Language" column was never corrected.)  I haven't checked both MOA databases.
   A really nice article turned up just now in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6 September 1885, pg. 14, col. 5:

_A Disquisition on Certain Elements Found in Philadelphia Society._
_The Long and Arduous Struggle of the Parvenu Rich to Secure Social Position._
   Way beyond these is a drove of rich people who haven't had wealth long enough to make themselves felt, but who, nevertheless, are burning with a desire to get into "society"--to mingle with a set, who, when you know them are, notwithstanding all their pretensions, as commonplace as beeswax.  These people are coolly denominated by the swells as the "climbers"; that is to say, people whose aim in life is to mount the social ladder.

   Back to work...

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