FWIW: NYU librarians and "Jazz"
george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Sep 8 19:32:46 UTC 2003
I see that a sentence in my portion of Kent's message to the Music Librarians group was marred by careless cutting and pasting on my part. Just the same, I hope that it will be understood that the CoE issue is a 91 page history of >the word< "jazz", and that the posting will bring Gerry some orders from music libraries.
George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.
----- Original Message -----
From: Bapopik at AOL.COM
Date: Monday, September 8, 2003 2:15 pm
Subject: FWIW: NYU librarians and "Jazz"
> Who is David Walton? Was he on tv?
> Search Result 1
> From: Kent Underwood (kent.underwood at NYU.EDU)
> Subject: Re: [MLA-L] More on first citation of "jazz"
> This is the only article in this thread
> View: Original Format
> Newsgroups: bit.listserv.mla-l
> Date: 2003-09-08 07:50:11 PST
> Respondents to my posting on Friday (below) point to the Oxford
> English Dictionary entry on "jazz," which gives a 1909 gramophone
> recording "Uncle Josh in Society" as the earliest citation. Uncle
> Josh did get around, but OED2, it seems, is wrong about the 1909
> date, i.e.,
> "The true etymology of 'jazz' is complicated by several infamous
> errors,which keep recurring in popular accounts of the word's
> origin. Even
> the venerable OED2 makes an error. The big dic [sic] first cites the
> term as appearing in 1909 on a gramophone record 'Uncle Josh in
> Society.' This is an error. The term didn't appear on the 1909
> pressing of the record, but on a later, 1919, edition. Also two
> Frenchdictionaries, 'Le Nouveau Petit Robert (1993) and 'Grand
> LarousseDictionnaire de la Langue Francais (1975) reference a 1908
> use. These
> are typos; they should read 1918." --From "Wordorigins," ed. David
> Walton (1997-2003)<" target="l">http://www.wordorigins.org>
> And this from George Thompson, who discovered the now reigning
> 1912 Los Angeles Times citation:
> "I first posted the 'Jazz Curve' to the discussion group of the
> American Dialect Society, ADS-L. One of the other members, Prof.
> Gerald Cohen, has devoted two issues of a newsletter he publishes
> to the history of the word 'jazz.' Some months ago he sent
> several messages to ADS-L demonstrating that the record that's the
> source of the OED's 1909 citation for 'jazz' was a version
> recorded in the late 1910s, if I remember, 1918. I was involved
> in a discussion about the correct dates of the citations in the
> French dictionary. I believe that all these discussions are
> excerpted in Cohen's latest compilation of material is a 91 page
> survey of what is known about the history of jazz: vol. 32, #4-5
> (2002) of 'Comments on Etymology.' If anyone is interested in it,
> it may be bought from him at the Dept. of Applied Arts and
> Cultural Studies, Univ. of Missouri at Rolla, Rolla, Missouri,
> 65401 (or gcohen at umr.edu) The cost will probably be about $8 or
> $10; it's an installment of a new
> s letter on the history of slang that sells for $15/year."
> Kent Underwood
> Music Librarian, New York University
> Email: kent.underwood at nyu.edu
> Voice: 212-998-2523
> Fax: 212-995-4794
> Snail: 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Kent Underwood <kent.underwood at nyu.edu>
> Date: Friday, September 5, 2003 6:30 pm
> Subject: [MLA-L] First usage of "jazz" ("jass")
> > My NYU colleague George Thompson has turned up, in the Los Angeles
> > Times database, what is evidently the earliest written usage of
> > the word "jazz" (aka "jass") yet reported. The two stories, from
> > April 2 and 3, 1912, predate the 1913 San Francisco newspaper
> > story commonly cited (in New Grove and elsewhere) as the earliest.
> > As in 1913, though, the 1912 writers are talking not about music,
> > but baseball pitching.
> > Here are the citations:
> > BEN'S JAZZ CURVE. "I got a new curve this year," softly murmured
> > Henderson yesterday, "and I'm goin' to pitch one or two of them
> > tomorrow. I call it the Jazz ball because it wobbles and you
> > simply can't do anything with it."
> > As prize fighters who invent new punches are always the first to
> > get their's Ben will probably be lucky if some guy don't hit that
> > new Jazzer ball a mile today. It is to be hoped that some
> > unintelligent compositor does not spell that the Jag ball. That's
> > what it must be at that if it wobbles.
> > LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 2, 1912, part III, pg. 2, col. 1
> > [A column of notes and comments about the game, "Around the Bags"
> > by Owen R. Bird in the paper the next day includes the paragraph]:
> > Of course they will want to know what the first ball pitched by
> > each slabster was. Well, Leverenz got away with a nice straight
> > strike, and Henderson cut the outside corner with a fast curve
> > also for one strike. Benny calls this his "jass" ball. LOS
> > ANGELES TIMES, April 3, 1912, section III, p. 3, col. 1
> > _______________________________________
> > Kent Underwood
> > Music Librarian, New York University
> > Email: kent.underwood at nyu.edu
> > Voice: 212-998-2523
> > Fax: 212-995-4794
> > Snail: 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012
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