"Black Friday" (day after Thanksgiving), 1951

Bonnie Taylor-Blake taylor-blake at NC.RR.COM
Wed Aug 5 00:33:32 UTC 2009

Here's another early (post-WWII) use of "Black Friday" to denote the day
after Thanksgiving.

It's difficult to determine how widespread this 1951/1952 usage was or
whether it was just a humorous attempt by an associate editor of *Factory
Management and Maintenance* to describe the day after Thanksgiving, a day
known for worker absenteeism, but I offer it as a data point.  (It's also a
little tough to know whether this is related to -- or perhaps whether it
influenced -- Philadelphians' "Black Friday," a term used at least as early
as the mid-1960s to describe that hectic, headache-filled day of shopping
that followed Thanksgiving.  See link, far below.)

-- Bonnie



"Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis" is a disease second only to the bubonic
plague in its effects.  At least that's the feeling of those who have to get
production out, when the "Black Friday" comes along.  The shop may be half
empty, but every absentee was sick -- and can prove it.

What to do?  Many companies have tried the standard device of denying
Thanksgiving Day pay to employees absent the day before and after the
holiday.  Trouble is, you can't deny pay to those legitimately ill.  But
what's legitimate?  Tough to decide these days of often miraculously easy
doctors' certificates.

Glenn L. Martin, Baltimore aircraft manufacturer has another solution:  When
you decide you want to sweeten up the holiday kitty, pick Black Friday to
add to the list.  That's just what Martin has done.  Friday after
Thanksgiving is the company's seventh paid holiday.

We're not suggesting more paid holidays just to get out of a hole.  But, if
you can make a good trade in bargaining, there are lots of worse things than
having a holiday on a day that was half holiday anyway.  Shouldn't cost too
much for that reason, either.

[From M.J. Murphy's "Tips to Good Human Relations for Factory Executives,"
*Factory Management and Maintenance* 109(11), 137, November 1951.  Murphy
was the Industrial Relations Editor for the magazine; *Factory Management
and Maintenance* was published in New York City.]

(Murphy again used "Black Friday" in his column for the February, 1952,
issue [p. 133]:  "November FACTORY [page 137] told of one company's solution
to heavy Friday-after-Thanksgiving absenteeism.  The company added "Black
Friday" to its list of paid holidays."]


"Black Friday," 1966:


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list