"sissy" during the Civil War?

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 9 23:27:37 UTC 2013

Here is a relevant instance of sissy in 1882. Jon, what date is given
by the teachings of the hidden esoteric long-suppressed coruscating
Vol. III of HDAS?

[ref] 1882 January, Little Hearts and Little Hands: An Illustrated
Monthly for the Children of Spiritualists, Volume 1, Number 1, Sissy's
Reason by Violet, Start Page 10, Quote Page 10, E. W. Allen and Office
of Little Hearts and Little Hands, London. (Google Books full view)

[Begin excerpt]
Standing by his side was a fair-haired little fellow, whose girl-like
face, long curling hair, and timid manner had won for him the name of
"Sissy," but we shall see presently that Sissy was far from being
weak-minded, or mean-spirited, though, as some of the boys said, he
looked "quite a soft" -- but they only said so when Frank was away for
Sissy and Frank were great friends.
[End excerpt]

On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 2:36 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg
<nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Subject:      "sissy" during the Civil War?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Margaret Mitchell defended her use of "sissy" in Gone with the Wind by saying that "I picked up that word and the line in which it was used from a letter, dated 1861, from a boy to his father, explaining why he had run away and joined an outfit in another section. 'I just didn't want to join any Zouaves. I'd have felt like a sissy with those red pants etc.'" (http://goo.gl/T7aNe) The OED gives "sissy" from 1846 for "a sister" but dates the use to refer to "an effeminate person; a coward" from 1887. Google Books doesn't seem to have anything for that use before 1885. Is the word older than that or was MItchell wrong?
> http://goo.gl/T7aNe
> Geoff
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