[Ads-l] Antedating of "con artist"

Mon Mar 7 23:49:50 UTC 2016

Trying again, using my iPad.

Newspapers.com<http://newspapers.com/> can push this back to 1878 in a summary of court dispositions that unfortunately does not spell out what the con was.  The (Chicago) Daily Inter-Ocean, Mar. 28, 1878, p. 8:  "Before Justice Summerfield yesterday: . . .Mollie Atchison for disorderly conduct and interfering with an officer as he was arresting a prisoner, was fined $50. James Williams, pickpocket on the street cars, $100. John Harvey, alias William Williams, great "con" artist, $100."

John Baker

Sent from my iPad

On Mar 7, 2016, at 4:55 PM, Hugo <hugovk at GMAIL.COM<mailto:hugovk at gmail.com>> wrote:

con artist, OED: 1899

Here's Ben Yagoda on sham/con/choke artists with a possible 1898 in The
Capital via Google Books, but Google shows me nothing:


But there are some con artists in a baseball report in The Times
(Washington D.C.) of 17 August 1898:

The ex-Pittsburg twirler was positively invincible as long as he wanted to
be, and, up to the seventh inning, he gave the visiting "con" artists but
four hits.

The times. (Washington [D.C.]), 17 Aug. 1898. Chronicling America: Historic
American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <


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

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