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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 3 19:44:20 UTC 2013

The 1910 citation is fantastic, Hugo! Thanks for taking the time to
search for cites illuminating the Hemingway legend and for sharing
your discoveries. The article on the QI website has now been updated
and an acknowledgement using your preferred handle "Hugo" (as
indicated off-list) is included.


On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM, Hugo <hugovk at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Hugo <hugovk at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Flash fiction: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Did Ernest
>               Hemingway write these famous six words?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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=
> "
> http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024546/1889-06-30/ed-1/seq-11/%3=
> Bwords%3D/?date1=3D1836&sort=3Ddate&date2=3D1922&searchType=3Dadvanced&lang=
> uage=3D&proxdistance=3D10&rows=3D20&ortext=3D&proxtext=3Dfor+sale+baby+neve=
> r&phrasetext=3D&andtext=3D&dateFilterType=3DyearRange&index=3D3
> Here's a particularly short ad (El Paso Herald, December 14, 1915):
> "BABY buggy never been used. Bargain, 515 N. Florence."
> http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88084272/1915-12-14/ed-1/seq-11/;w=
> ords=3DBABY+never+Sale?date1=3D1836&sort=3Ddate&sort=3Ddate&date2=3D1922&se=
> archType=3Dadvanced&language=3D&proxdistance=3D10&rows=3D20&ortext=3D&proxt=
> ext=3Dfor+sale+baby+never&phrasetext=3D&andtext=3D&dateFilterType=3DyearRan=
> ge&page=3D2&index=3D14
> 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
> sacrifice."
> http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085947/1910-05-16/ed-1/seq-7/;wo=
> rds=3DBaby+baby+Never+sale?date1=3D1836&sort=3Ddate&sort=3Ddate&date2=3D192=
> 2&searchType=3Dadvanced&language=3D&proxdistance=3D10&rows=3D20&ortext=3D&p=
> roxtext=3Dfor+sale+baby+never&phrasetext=3D&andtext=3D&dateFilterType=3Dyea=
> rRange&page=3D2&index=3D10
> cheers,
> Hugo
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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