Is That an Emoticon in 1862? in NYT

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Jan 19 23:34:22 UTC 2009

The article also has the expression "Are we just seeing the the
equivalent of the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich?" a
reference that seems to becoming ingrained in popular culture. BB

On Jan 19, 2009, at 3:14 PM, Grant Barrett wrote:

> Our own Fred Shapiro is quoted in this article about whether a
> semicolon next to a close parenthesis in 1862 is an emoticon or a
> mistake.
>> In the transcription of President Lincoln’s speech, which added
>> comments about applause and shouts from the audience was this line:
>> "...there is no precedent for your being here yourselves, (applause
>> and laughter ;) and I offer, in justification of myself and you,
>> that I have found nothing in the Constitution against."
>> Bryan Benilous, who works with historical newspapers at Proquest,
>> said the team felt the ";)" after the word "laughter" was an
>> emoticon, more than a century before emoticons became a widespread
>> concept.

The American Dialect Society -

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