Safire on "Long Pole in the Tent"

Shapiro, Fred Fred.Shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 5 14:05:16 UTC 2008

In tomorrow's "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine, William Safire writes about the expression "the long pole in the tent."  He quotes me about a 1970 citation, then quotes Joan Hall about a 1947 usage in a Senate Armed Services Committee report.  This ostensible 1947 citation is a classic Google Books taking-the-beginning-date-of-a-serial-as-the-date-of-the-snippet error.  In fact, Google Books indicates that the snippet is from the 92nd Congress, which places the true dating of the usage in the 1971-73 range.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                                         Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research  Yale University Press
Yale Law School                                        ISBN 0300107986

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