Flash fiction: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Did Ernest Hemingway write these famous six words?

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 1 22:27:00 UTC 2013

Hi Garson,

I found quite a few similar adverts in Chronicling America (advanced
search, ...with the words: "for sale baby never", within 10 words of each
other), mostly for baby carriages such as this from the Pittsburg Dispatch
(June 30, 1889, right column, under "For Sale - Miscellaneous"):

"FOR SALE-A $50 BABY CARRIAGE, BICYCLE wheels, rubber tires: never used;
will be sold at a bargain. Inquire at 23 UNION AVE., Allegheny, Pa. je30-61"


Here's a particularly short ad (El Paso Herald, December 14, 1915):

"BABY buggy never been used. Bargain, 515 N. Florence."


The Spokane Press (May 16, 1910) writes of "Tragedy of Baby's Death is
Revealed in Sale of Clothes":

"The world is indeed a complication of joys and sorrows, a continuous play
made up of tragedy and comedy, and even in every day life, items and
experience, small and unusual to us, perhaps, is woven a little story of
the heart.

"Last Saturday an ad. appeared in a local paper which read: "Baby's hand
made trousseau and baby's bed for sale. Never been used." The address was
on East Mission street.

"This perhaps meant little to the casual reader, yet to the mother who had
spent hours and days planning the beautiful things for her tiny baby, it
meant a keen sorrow and disappointment.

"She had perhaps, dreamed of the time when her little one should be grown
up and could, with a source of pride, look back upon its babyhood days and
display the handiwork of its mother in the first baby clothes worn and the
first trundle bed it had slept in when it first opened its eyes upon the
beauties of the world.

"But the hand of fate had been unkind and took from the devoted parents the
little one which was destined to be the sunshine and light of their life,
and the mother, in a desire to forget her sorrow by part ing with anything
which reminded her of the little one, advertised the garments at a




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