[Ads-l] Serenity Prayer (early instance March 9, 1933)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 24 22:35:45 UTC 2019

I have known for several years about the March 9, 1933 occurrence of the Serenity Prayer language (not the Serenity Prayer itself).

As some of you may know, of all the words and phrases and quotations and proverbs I have researched, the Serenity Prayer is the item I am most obsessed with.  I have continued to research it even after the two front-page New York Times articles and the Chronicle of Higher Education article.  There is much I could say on this subject, but I am not yet ready to do so.

I do, however, encourage others to investigate early evidence of the SP!  If anyone is to make real advances on what I have already found, it would be Stephen Goranson or Garson O'Toole or one of the other great sleuths on ADS-L.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, December 24, 2019 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer (early instance March 9, 1933)

My post about the Serenity Prayer contained an OCR error.  "Mrs.
Harrie K. Chamberlin" should have been "Mrs. Harrie R. Chamberlin".

On Tue, Dec 24, 2019 at 8:52 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> The following citation presents the second oldest full instance of the
> Serenity Prayer (I think). This post mentions three instances.
> However, Fred Shapiro or Stephen Goranson may know of other early
> instances of which I am unaware.
> [ref] 1933 March 9, The Atlanta Constitution, Y.W.C.A. Regional
> Conference Closes On Thursday, Quote Page 6, Column 7, Atlanta,
> Georgia. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> The address of Mrs. Harrie K. Chamberlin, national president, will
> bring the conference to a close this morning, her subject being, "A
> New Role for Leadership." She will request Y. W. C. A. board and staff
> members to carry to their associations "hope for the future based upon
> experience of the past, with the courage to change what must be
> altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and insight to know
> one from the other."
> [End excerpt]
> A partial match for the Serenity Prayer was found in an entry dated
> October 31, 1932 of Winnifred Wygal's diary located at the Schlesinger
> Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute
> for Advanced Study Harvard University. Fred described this citation in
> his 2014 article in "The Chronicle Review". See below for a link to
> the article.
> The earliest full version of the Serenity Prayer appeared in the March
> 1933 issue of "The Woman’s Press" within an article titled "On the
> Edge of Tomorrow" by Winnifred Wygal. Fred also described this
> citation in his article in "The Chronicle Review".
> Website: The Chronicle Review (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
> Article title: Who Wrote the Serenity Prayer?,
> Article author: Fred R. Shapiro,
> Date on website: April 28, 2014
> https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.chronicle.com%2Farticle%2FWho-Wrote-the-Serenity-Prayer-%2F146159%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7C233f6e74cf514c1e576d08d788ba389c%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C637128205700703847&sdata=UrUgz0eMeUMf%2B0FiTJAIuDJTOn0ztC67pinUOs0o4IM%3D&reserved=0
> Garson

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