Easter Bunny [Antedated to 1893]

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 18 16:49:44 UTC 2014

I see that last spring several of you worked on "Easter Rabbit" and
"Easter Hare," so I think those terms are pretty much covered (and
they antedate "Easter Bunny"), but here are some early examples of
"Easter Bunny" specifically.  (I'm going with the OED's definition of
"a rabbit traditionally said to bring gifts to children at Easter; a
representation of this.")  The OED gives as its earliest example a
usage from 1900.

-- Bonnie

P.S.  I should note that I found some early usages of "Easter bunnies"
(including one from 1891; see far below), but these seem to have been
references to bunnies available for purchase at Eastertime.  So, maybe
they *are* representations of the real (ahem) Easter Bunny, but they
could be just baby bunnies available for purchase.  (Baby chicks used
to be sold at Eastertime too, cringe.)  In any event, until someone
finds something earlier, I'm going with 1893 for the fellow who hides
eggs in the garden.

To children ordinary eggs, boiled, dyed and ornamented, are always a
pleasure, and if you tell the nursery folk that an Easter-bunny brings
the eggs and hides them in the garden or the nursery, where they may
be hunted, you surround them with an air of special grace and favour.
[From "About Easter Eggs," The Tamworth (England) Herald, 8 April
1893, p. 6; via Gale NewsVault.]


We have been at some trouble in order to discover facts concerning the
habits of that most important creature, the "Easter bunny," which,
having long ago been "made in Germany," is now gradually being
acclimatised in this country.  He is known to be busily laying eggs
all week, yet neither "Wood" nor "Furneau," nor any other natural
history mentions this pleasing fact, and there is not a book in the
British Museum which contains anything that might clear up the
mystery.  [From "Something about Easter Eggs; How to Buy and How to
Dye Them," The Westminster Budget (London, England), 3 April 1896, p.
8; via newspapers.com.]


Among the shrubbery, hush hush,
I see the Easter bunny rush;
His coloured eggs are hidden there;
Run off at once and find out where.

[From "The Children's Page; Fifty-Two Sundays," The Westminster
Budget, 11 December 1896, p. 38; via newspapers.com.]


Real live Easter Bunnies in the shop window at Hoppe's China Hall are
attracting passers-by.  [From The Alton (Illinois) Daily Telegraph, 24
March 1891, p. 3, col. 2; via newspapers.com]

Easter bunnies at the Fair.  [From The Xenia (Ohio) Daily Gazette and
Torchlight, 16 March 1894, p. ?, col. 3; via newspapers.com; this
seems to be the only page from the 16 March 1894 issue present at

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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