Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 30 03:24:09 UTC 2010

HDAS files contain two refs. to slaves actually named "Sambo" (1704 and
1768). OED has an 1818 that is unlikely to be generic.

Judge Haliburton's _Clockmaker_ (Series 2)  1838, p. 30 seems to use
the name generically: "And sold a second time ag'in."

Henry Louis Gates (_Signifying Monkey_, p. 95) cited an undoubted ex. from
1846: "Here, 'Sambo,' you dam jiggery toe nigger."

The name was in common (white) use by the 1850s. There's even a rare plural
by 1864:

1864 in _Arkansas Historical Qly._ XII (1953) 360: Hundreds of spectators -
ladies, gentlemen, civilians, soldiers, "Sambo's," etc., crowded around.


On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 9:12 PM, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at> <
JJJRLandau at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at>"
>              <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM>
> Subject:      Sambo
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I found an 1861 usage of "Sambo" to mean a black man.
> Harper’s Weekly    December 21, 1861
> <quote>
> Some writers from Port Royal have stated that the negroes will not work,
> but that when work is offered them they will fly to the woods. This is
> indignantly denied by other writers, and by several officers of the
> expedition, who state that the contrabands work willingly and ably. It would
> not be surprising if poor Sambo, after a dozen generations of slavery,
> should want to celebrate his sudden emancipation by a brief holiday.
> </quote>
> OT: some semi-eggcorns (i.e. unlikely to be accepted by the Eggcorn Data
> Base)
> encountered recently:
> "[Yerkes Observatory] resembles a hay silo for Babe the Blue Ox (Paul
> Bunion's companion)"
> typo in a Rodgers and Hammerstein script: "June is busing out all over"
> (presumably a song for civils rights activists)
> a man who had composed a song meant to say "I had a pianist record it on
> CD" but didn't realize that "pianist" is pronounced with three syllables.
>     - Jim Landau
> and a happy FDR's birthday/March of Dimes day to y'all
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