Bill Mullins spots 1896 "hot dog" in a Utah newspaper (first non-college attestation)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Fri Dec 24 02:44:27 UTC 2004

Ads-l member Bill Mullins shared the 1896 "hot dog" passage below with me, and with his permission I'm now sharing it with ads-l. The big surprise is that "hot dog" here turns up in Utah (of all places) within 5 months of its first attestation at Yale (Oct. 19, 1895), and even though there's evidence for the term in ca. 30 colleges by 1900, its first attestation in the Harvard humor magazine comes only in 1901. Utah beat Harvard by 5 years!

    The 1896 Utah attestation is the earliest one thus far noticed outside a college context, pre-dating by a year the 1897 one spotted by Sam Clements.
The 1896 Utah "hot dog" doesn't specifically refer to a sausage, but the presentation of the term in quotes and the reference to dog meat seem to indicate the writer was familiar with college slang's new item "hot dog."

    Mullins' information appears below my signoff, with "hot dog" being mentioned at the very end.

Gerald Cohen

[message sent by Bill Mullins to me, G. Cohen]:

>From the Ogden _Standard Examiner_ Feb 28 1896 , p. 2/5.

"All About the Dogs
Lamb-Like Session of the City
Cost of Catching and Cremating
Canines and Counting Caudal
Come-a-Longs Causes the Only

[skip paras 1 - 4]

     One gentleman moved that the dog
tax collector be required to bring in the
tails of all dogs cremated and present
them to the council with his bill.

     Another gentleman objected long and
strenuously.  He said that the mere
presentation of a dog's tail would not
prove that the other end of the dog had
been cremated also, that if the position
of canine catcher was ever filled by a
dishonest man that the whole country
would soon be filled with tailless kiyi's,
and as fast as new tails grew out again
they would be cut off and cashed in for
a dollar apiece.  The other council-
men rose up as one man and said, in
effect, that a caudal appendage once
amputated was always abbreviated.   The
gentleman hedged by saying that the
tails would be taken off on the install-
ment plan, say once a month for three
months, and then the profitless remains
would be given to the crematory as a
guarantee of good faith.  It would also
make very "hot dog".

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