Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Dec 3 06:15:47 UTC 2004

The OED3 draft entry for "me-too" has these first cites:

1923 Polit. Sci. Q. 38 445 Following the famous 'Me-Too' episode of
1881..he put in sixteen years of hard, gruelling work in order to secure a
reelection to the United States Senate.
1950 Wisconsin Eng. Lang. Survey Suppl. in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng.
(1996) III. 578/1 (Someone who always imitates other people) 2 Infs,..A

The 1923 cite refers to the "'Me-Too' episode of 1881", in which Thomas
Platt, a protégé of New York political boss Roscoe Conkling, dutifully
followed his mentor by resigning from the Senate over a dispute with
President Garfield.  When Platt and Conkling were not reelected to the
Senate as they had expected, Platt was derided with the nickname "Me Too

Here are early cites for "Me Too Platt":

(Port Jervis, New York) Evening Gazette, June 8, 1881, p. 1
Result of the balloting at Albany to-day noon -- Depew scores 51, while
"Me Too" Platt remains at the regular 29.

(Albert Lea,  Minnesota) Freeborn County Standard, June 9, 1881, p. 4
The process of vindicating Conkling and "me too Platt" at Albany
progresses very slowly.

More cites for the attributive/adjectival usage:

(Decatur, Illinois) Review, Apr 27, 1886, p. 2
Some of the New York papers are giving considerable space to Senator
Cullom, stating that he is no "me-too" senator, but an independent force
within himself.

Atlanta (Georgia) Constitution, Nov 23, 1887, p. 6
Tom Platt, of New York, is still me-too.

(Portland) Morning Oregonian, Aug 19, 1888, p. 3
He reminded me instantly of the "Me Too" cartoons I have seen so often,
but, in other respects, he was a complete surprise.

(New Philadelphia) Ohio Democrat, June 11, 1896, p. 4
This man Platt -- let's see, was not he the "me too" man who quarreled with
Garfield because Roscoe Conklin told him to do so?

(Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, Apr 23, 1900, p. 4
That weak and watery element of the fusion combine, the me-too little
faction that calls itself the free silver republican party, is to change
its name and rechristen itself with the high sounding title, "Lincoln
republican party."

New York Times, Oct 12, 1901, p. 2
Mr. Shepard was asked yesterday morning if he would say "me, too," to Mr.
Low's declaration to remove Deputy Commissioner Devery. "I am not a 'me,
too' man," replied Mr. Shephard.

And here are early cites for "me(-)too" as a noun:

(Williamsport, Pennsylvania) Daily Gazette And Bulletin, Sep 1, 1884, p. 2
Mr. Hendricks, the "Me Too" of the Cleveland combination, climbed on a box
at Indianapolis and delivered himself of a speech also.

(Coshocton,  Ohio) Semi Weekly Age, June 15, 1888, p. 1
Dave Schanfarber was the Plumed Knight of the occasion, while Cliff McCoy
ably supported him as the "Me Too."

Athens (Ohio) Messenger, May 21, 1896, p. 2
Platt first came into national notoriety through his acting as the "Me
Too" of Senator Conkling.

(Warren, Pennsylvania) Evening Democrat, Oct 10, 1900, p. 2
Mr. Hanna, like his me-too Roosevelt, is the flower of aristocratic
democracy, the national leader in the form of plutocracy.

Davenport (Iowa) Daily Leader, Apr 14, 1901, p. 14
Now he has fallen within three months, before a man who last fall was
denounced as "Platt's 'Me Too.' "

Anaconda (Montana) Standard, June 26, 1901, p. 6
General Cailles is at last in condition to play a strong Me Too to Aguinaldo.

--Ben Zimmer

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