[Ads-l] Antedating (?) BYOB and BYOL and BYOS

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 21 17:46:55 UTC 2018

Interesting.  that makes the two of the earliest examples of BYOL from Alabama.

And I just found a couple more examples from earlier.  A December 1915 paper from Montgomery Alabama has two cartoons with BYOL, explained as "Bring Your Own Licker".  It appears in cartoons on the same page.  In the first, a four panel cartoon, a man receives an invitation to a party with BYOL on it.  In the next, he scratches his head and says, "Now what in the world does BYOL mean! I must go look it up in the social directory.  In the third, he reads "Bring Your Own Licker".  In the fourth, he's rushing off to the Express Office to pick up his order of booze.  In a second cartoon, a man who looks like Santa Claus, and who is labled, "Uncle Holliday Dissipation" says, "Merry Christmas! BYOL."

Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama), December 26, 1915, page 5.



Statewide prohibition went into effect in Alabama in July 1915, so this was the first holiday party season where getting alcohol would have been problematic.

Perhaps this cartoon was the genesis? Or it might have reflected local practice that had already developed.

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From: "ADSGarson O'Toole" <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
To: ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu
Sent: 12/21/2018 7:11:19 AM
Subject: Re: Antedating (?) BYOB and BYOL and BYOS

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Poster: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Antedating (?) BYOB and BYOL and BYOS

Barry Popik has a pertinent entry with a June 15, 1919 citation for B. Y. O=
. L.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle, Bring Your Own Beer); BYOL (Bring Your Own Liq=

Here is a 1918 citation for B. Y. O. L. I think the context indicates
that the intended meaning is =E2=80=9CBring Your Own Liquor=E2=80=9D, but t=
he meaning
is not explicitly stated.

Date: June 13, 1918
Newspaper: The Pensacola Journal
Newspaper Location: Pensacola, Florida
Article: Rotarians To Mobile Today
Quote Page 5, Column 5
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
The Rotary Club of Pensacola leaves
early today for Mobile, Ala., where the
members will be accorded an excellent
time. The Gulf City brethren have
not told just what is in store for them,
but Charles B. Hervey, being an old
Towser, has been bruising about and
it is reported that aside from business
sessions there will be a few social fea-
tures, such as rides on the bay, a Dog

river trip, on which Towser will be
the guide=E2=80=94he knows the trail=E2=80=94and
then will follow a beach "eats."

B. Y. O. L. has not been printed on
the invitations to go to Mobile, but
it is highly probable that some of the
Pensacola Rotarlans have some friends
in the Gulf City who are expecting to
show them the way to go home.
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 9:06 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

BYOL and BYOB both came into wide use after passage of the 18th Amendment=
in 1919.

Widely reported news items, beginning in late-1919, discuss the fact that=
it is a new addition to (or replacement of) R. S. V. P. to invitations to =
parties in New York City.

Princeton Daily Clarion (Princeton, Indiana), December 15, 1919, page 2.
"Many New York invitations bear this corner inscription: B. Y. O. L. Brin=
g your own liquor."

BYOB appears as early as July 1920, usually defined as bring your own boo=
ze, instead of beverage.

The Pioneer (Bemidji, Minnesota), July 30, 1920.
"What Does B. Y. O. B. Mean? On the bottom of the sheet announcing the c=
oming meeting of the Minnesota State Bar association, off in an inconspicuo=
us corner is the legend: 'P. S. - B. Y. O. B.' Now what we want to know is=
whether that means 'Bring Your Own Books' or 'Bring Your Own Basket,' or '=
Bring Your Own Boo-- we haven't the heart to say that, knowing the freeness=
with which the surpetitious flagon flows in the Saintly City. - Daily Virg=

BYOL appears to have been most common, but a widely reported controversy =
about invitations to a government/military function in Washington DC in 192=
4 involved BYOB. That same week, there was a similar controversy involving=
invitations for the national convention of the Associated Harvard Clubs of=
the World in Detroit, involving the initials, "O, B. Y. O.", which the rep=
orter interpreted as "Oh, bring your own." There were also occasional uses =
of B. Y. O. H. (bring your own hooch). My favorite one, however, was a hum=
or piece about imagined Hollywood orgies that used "B. Y. O. H. N" - "bring=
your own hypodermic needles" - liquor was plentiful in Hollywood (they sai=
d), but drugs were harder to come by.

A few years earlier, there were several reports of the use of "B. Y. O. S=
." for "bring your own sugar." The earliest example dates to 1917, and rel=
ates to sugar rationing in England during World War I. There are several m=
ore examples of B. Y. O. S. in the US in 1918 and 1919, after the US entere=
d the war. A few of those references refer to Herbert Hoover, who led the =
United States Food Administration and encouraged rationing.

Santa Ana Register (California), September 17, 1918, page 5.
"At noon a Hooverized Hoover luncheon will be served. B. Y. O. S. (bring=
your own sugar) and notify hostess by Thursday."

I have found one, isolated instance of "B. Y. O. L.", with apparently the=
same meaning, from 1916, in Montgomery, Alabama. It is not explicitly def=
ined, and there is no suggestion that it is a custom to write it on invitat=
ions yet, but the context suggests that they intend it to be understood as =
"bring your own liquor." In a poem about an upcoming picnic of the Montgom=
ery Cotton Exchange uses it three times. Here is a representative stanza:

Montgomery Advertiser, May 14, 1916, page 3.

"A silent wink, a secret sigh,
Gives entrance to much pleasure.
Watch, friends, initiates align
In bringing on their treasure
Which lendeth cheer and addeth tone;
Thus, you bring too, some of your own,
As else, perhaps, you find it - 'fudge!'
That you forget - B. Y. O. L."

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