Break a leg

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Dec 7 10:53:49 UTC 2002

   The New York Public Library's Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library is
open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.  Two days ago I left the 42nd Street library
when that closed at 5:45 p.m., and immediately headed to 66th Street and
Lincoln Center.  I was starting to do my work when I was told that they were
closing early at 6:30 p.m. because of the snowstorm.  I couldn't do
everything in five minutes.

Wilfred, Granville, A DICTIONARY OF THEATRICAL TERMS (1952).
Pg. 32:  _break_  (2) The American cooloquial sense of "fortune": "So and so
had a lucky _break_ in the Broadway show last fall."

"Break a leg" is here, but it's nothing special.

"Break a leg" is here, but it's nothing special.

Harrison, Martin, THE LANGUAGE OF THE THEATRE (1993, 1996)
"Break a leg" is here, but it's nothing special.

Buchanan, Barry, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SHOW WORLD (1939, unpublished)
I copied the note cards in Carnegie Mellon, but it was a rush job and I'm
missing some parts.  Here's one card:
break   CARNIVAL
Same as go wrong (which see).  Also, slang for a fortunate happening; a
change in luck for the better, i. e., I got a swell break.  Conversely a bad
break means bad luck.  Also, an intermission in a show.

University of Missouri-Columbia, Western Historical Manuscript Collection,
Peter Tamony Papers
"Break a leg" is here.  I got the below response that the query will cost me
$20.  Twenty dollars is twenty dollars more than I've made from etymology all
year, but I'll pay it if anyone's interested.

Subj:   Reference Request
Date:   12/5/2002 4:05:03 PM Eastern Standard Time
From:   <A HREF="mailto:StolzW at">StolzW at</A>
To: <A HREF="mailto:Bapopik at">Bapopik at</A>
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Barry Popik
Bapopik at

Dear Mr. Popik,

David Moore has forwarded your request of December 4 to the reference staff.
Please note that effective October 1, 2002, a research fee was instituted by
the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia. The reference staff
will search the subject index and collection inventories free of charge, but
a non-refundable research fee of $20 is required before we can search the
actual collection and/or make reproductions. In the case of the Tamony
collection the staff will search for up to three phrases or words per
request. A check or money order, made payable to the University of Missouri,
can be mailed to the address below. The fee also includes up to 10
photocopies. The fees for additional photocopies are as follows:

1-200 copies (per page)        $0.20
201-500 copies (per page)    $0.35
501-1000 copies (per page)    $0.50
1001 and over (per page)        $1.00
*All orders include additional charges for shipping.

Once the search is complete you will be notified of all findings and any
additional costs. As in the past, the Tamony collection can be viewed
anytime, free of charge, by visiting our facility located in 23 Ellis Library
on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions regarding the
research fee or the Tamony collection.


William T. Stolz
Manuscript Specialist
stolzw at

23 Ellis Library
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65201

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