Origin of "joe" (coffee)--"Old Black Joe" (coffee without cream) in 1911 cartoon

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Jun 10 01:51:11 UTC 2004

      HDAS says tentatively about "joe" (coffee; esp. in Navy):
"perhaps as suggested in 1980 quote; the Foster song was extremely
popular." ---1980: Mack & Connell, _Naval Trads._ (5th edition) 260:
'Some sailors call coffee "joe," which some say is a derivative of
[Stephen] Foster's song, "Old Black Joe."'

      Barry Popik sent me a 1911 'Osgar und Adolf' cartoon in
connection with 'hot dog,' and one character speaks of 'Old Black
Joe' meaning coffee without cream. [It fits into the context of
hashhouse lingo,  and Jack Smiley mentions 'joe' (coffee) in his 1941
book _Hash house Lingo_.]

      The 1911 information is:
'Osgar und Adolf' cartoon, by Condo; title: 'Every Little Melody Has
Meaning of It's [apostrophe: sic] Own'; _Tacoma Times_; , Feb. 27,
1911, p.4. (Misspellings below: sic) ---
First frame, Osgar to Adolf: 'Diss moosik box shoult make you der
orders plain, Adolf.  For instance ven id plays "Old Black Joe" id
means coffee mitoudt cream. "Bring me a rose" means Limberger
cheece--und "Come under my plaidie" means oatmeal porridge.'
        Adolf replies: 'So?'
Second frame, music box sings out: 'Hush-a-bye, baby, don't you cry'
and 'Daddy buy me a bow-wow'
        Adolf says: "I see, "Don'd you cry" means peeled onions and
"bow wow" means sissage.'
[Four more frames follow.]

----Gerald Cohen

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