NY Historical Society supports prostitution etymology of "The Big Apple"?

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Wed Sep 17 02:55:44 UTC 2003

  I'll write to Kenneth Jackson some time in the next few days about
the matter Barry mentions below. The prostitution etymology of "The
Big Apple" is thoroughly discredited, and I'm optimistic that Dr.
Jackson will realize this as soon as he reads two items on the
1) Gerald Cohen: "'The Big Apple'" Prostitution Etymology", _Comments
on Etymology_, vol. 30, no. 8, May 2001, pp. 4-19.
2) Barry Popik: "'Big Apple' Whore Theory Reappears (Continuing
Saga)," _Comments on Etymology_, vol. 31, no. 6, March 2002, p.2.

    Also, in broader terms I now see what needs to be done: My book on
the origin of NYC's nickname The Big Apple needs to be revised, with
Barry and myself listed as co-authors this time and with the
additional information of the past ten years or so included.
Presently there's the monograph, several additional articles in the
_Studies in Slang_ monograph series_, and several items in _Comments
on Etymology_. In particular, Barry's extraordinary research needs to
be incorporated into the volume, with due credit of course. It's
already written up, but many people seem most comfortable with
finding everything in a single volume.

     That revised volume, especially if publicized well, should become
the standard reference work on the origin of "The Big Apple" and help
steer scholars/journalists/historical societies away from the obvious

     When will this happen? Let's see, there's "hot dog" waiting to be
written up in book form. Maybe afterwards.

Gerald Cohen
Professor of Foreign Languages
editor, Comments on Etymology
University of Missouri-Rolla
Rolla, MO 65409

>At 9:05 PM -0400 9/16/03, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>    I e-mailed the writers of both recent "Big Apple" articles.  The CHARLOTTE
>OBSERVER guy wrote back (below).  He didn't get the "whore hoax" story from
>the New-York Historical Society, did he?
>    Yes, he did!
>    The current president of the New-York Historical Society is Kenneth
>Jackson, the editor of its ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NEW YORK CITY (1995).
>Nowhere in Gerald
>Cohen's "Big Apple" entry did Cohen mention whores.  For good reason.
>    Maybe Cohen or George Thompson could speak to the N-YHS about this
>    I don't know if I can send the N-YHS a civil letter at this point.
>Besides,  I'm too busy with parking tickets.

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