More early "Murphy-ish" citations (UNCLASSIFIED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 8 18:50:38 UTC 2008

I think we need to distinguish the episodic ones (like the first two
and the last) from the timeless/proverbial ones (most of the others),
with only the latter being true precursors of Murphy.  It's
conceivable that the episodic ones were intended to allude to a
pre-existing proverb or dictum, but it's far from certain.


At 11:33 AM -0600 1/8/08, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC wrote:
>Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
>Caveats: NONE
>_The Friendly Arctic: The Story of Five Years in Polar Regions_ By
>Vilhjalmur Stefansson  NY: MacMillan 1921. page 594
>"It seemed, too, that everything that could possibly go wrong did go
>wrong and that every chance was decicded against us." [Google books full
>_Inside Europe_ By John Gunther NY: Harper, 1938 p. 330
>"Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong."  [Goggle Books
>Snippet View -- check against hard copy]
>_The Television Program: Its Direction and Production_ By Edward
>Stasheff, Rudy Bretz New York: Hill and Wang, 1962 p. 175
>"By the Law of Inverse Probabilities, which states that anything that
>can possibly go wrong will, . . ." [Goggle Books Snippet View -- check
>against hard copy]
>_The Butcher; the ascent of Yerupaja_ by John Sack;  New York: Rinehart,
>1952.  p. 13
>"It goes like this: anything that can possibly go wrong, does. "
>[Goggle Books Snippet View -- check against hard copy.  The phrase
>"possibly go wrong" appears 5 times in the book; most are not visible
>with Google books]
>_The Sackbut_ v.1:6-9 (1920/21)p. 351
>"If they can possibly go wrong you can be sure they will." [Goggle Books
>Snippet View -- check against hard copy]
>_Writing and Producing the Radio Play_ By Carl Alfred Buss [Thesis].
>Madison, WI:  Univ of WI, 1933 p. 5.
>"It always seems that on my busiest days everything that can possibly go
>wrong does."  [Goggle Books Snippet View -- check against hard copy]
>_The Beloved Woman_ By Kathleen Thompson Norris.  Garden City, NY:
>Doubleday, Page & Co., 1921.  p. 190
>"She was alert, serious, authoritative; her manner expressed an anxious
>certainty that everything that could possibly go wrong was about to do
>so." [Google books full view]
>Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
>Caveats: NONE
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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