Jay Walk (1911, 1916); Snake Oil (1911)
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 2 15:26:27 UTC 2002
Greetings from the Library of Congress. This won't exactly get me on Jay Leno or even pay my bus fare down here, but let's begin. OED has 1917 for "jaywalk." From WASHINGTON POST full text:
7 May 1911, WASHINGTON POST, pg. M2:
_New York Faker's Paradise._
_METROPOLIS FULL OF RUBES WHO WILL FALL FOR ANY KIND OF SKIN GAME._
(Kansas City Star.)
Right in line with these fakers is a show that has had a long run on Broadway at Twenty-ninth street. This is Prof. Blank's Snake Oil show. The professor has a full company--including the live rattlesnake, and Rattlesnake Pete, the old Indian, who does the capturing for the oil.
Kansas City used to consider itself a town of jay walkers. That is another line to which New York deserves the discredit of being at the front of the procession. A typical Manhattan would be run over and trampled on the sidewalk if he tried to walk on State street in Chicago as he walks on Broadway, New York. He has never heard of the prehistoric principle of keeping to the right--he ambles all over the sidewalk. A fac simile of his trail would show that he had pursued a course as crooked as that of a serpent with a bun (?) on. There ought to be a traffic policeman stationed on the sidewalk at every corner to keep the pedestrians straightened out.
5 March 1916, WASHINGTON POST, pg. A5:
Maj. Pullman will arrange another day of education of "walk-rite" by the Boy Scouts. The inital efforts of the boys in that direction were badly handicapped by the weather the day they were out educating pedestrians against the "jay-walk."
26 November 1916, WASHINGTON POST, pg. R8:
It is to be known as "walkrite." THe Boy Scouts will be out in full force on the four Saturdays of December--2, 9, 16 and 23. The "jaywalkers" are men and women who cross the streets at angles, between corners and otherwise recklessly walk in the roadways or cross the streets, thus increasing the number of accidents. "Heads up" and "walk-rite" will be the slogans of the Boy Scouts.
10 December 1916, WASHINGTON POST, pg. FD6:
The banners of the boys displayed all over the city "Walk Rite" and "Do Not Jay Walk," attracted general attention, and as a result, a majority of pedestrians now follow safety first rules in crossing streets.
(THE BOY SCOUTS HAVE NO PLACE IN NEW YORK CITY!!--ed.)
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