Is That an Emoticon in 1862? in NYT

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 20 01:30:34 UTC 2009

I'm surprised that J8L quoted me.  I thought I didn't have anything to say of any value.  My initial reaction was that this was just too early to be an emoticon, but she persuaded me to soften that stance a bit.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Grant Barrett [gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG]
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 6:14 PM
Subject: Is That an Emoticon in 1862? in NYT

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

> 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.

Grant Barrett
gbarrett at

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