[Ads-l] Joke: "How Many People Work Here?" "About Half of Them"

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 27 20:49:21 EDT 2020


The best I can do with the date is to say that issue 3213 was published for
the 8th week of 1907.

https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/fb

On Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 7:55 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Joe Stynes sent me a great tweet with a link to the page in "Fliegende
> Blätter" containing the joke. But there is no date. Can someone figure
> out the date? The quotation is on page 92  and the issue cover seems
> to occur on page 85.
>
> https://twitter.com/joestynes/status/1299102638953426947?s=20
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> FB v.126 no.3213 p.92 «Mißverstanden»
> „Wieviel Leute sind denn bei Euch im Bureau tätig?"
> „Tätig? Na — zwei Drittel!"
> https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/fb126/0098/image
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 7:18 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Update: The earliest newspaper (dated October 19, 1907) containing the
> > joke pointed to the English language magazine "Transatlantic Tales"
> > (and "Fliegende Blätter"). Now I've found the desired issue of
> > "Transatlantic Tales". Interestingly, the joke appeared in the
> > November 1907 issue. This happens because magazine issues are often
> > available before their cover dates.
> >
> > Still looking for a German instance of the quip.
> >
> > [ref] 1907 November, Transatlantic Tales, Volume 37, Number 1,
> > Misunderstood (Filler item), Quote Page 97, Ess Ess Publishing
> > Company, New York. (Google Books Full View) link [/ref]
> >
> > https://books.google.com/books?id=L-U5AQAAMAAJ&q=two-thirds#v=snippet&
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > MISUNDERSTOOD
> > "How many people work in your office?"
> > "Work? Perhaps two-thirds of them."
> > --Translated for Transatlantic Tales from "Fliegende Blätter."
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 2:50 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
> > <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > A request was sent to me to explore the joke in the subject line. I
> > > found a version in 1907 attributed to a German Humor magazine. If you
> > > can locate an early German version of the joke that would be
> > > excellent:
> > >
> > > [Begin excerpt 1907 instance]
> > > “How many people work in your office?”
> > > “Work? Perhaps two-thirds of them?”
> > > —Translated for Transatlantic Tales from “Fliegende Blaetter.”
> > > [End excerpt]
> > >
> > > Here is a link to the Quote Investigator article.
> > > https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/08/27/how-many/
> > >
> > > The article includes a October 19, 1959 citation attributing an
> > > instance of the punchline to Pope John XXIII.
> > >
> > > Barry Popik examined this topic previously.
> > >
> https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/how_many_people_work_here_oh_about_half_joke
> > >
> > > [Begin acknowledgment]
> > > Great thanks to Eccles whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question
> > > and perform this exploration. Also, thanks to Barry Popik for his
> > > helpful research. Popik located multiple instances of the joke
> > > beginning in 1918 together with a 1963 version with the punchline
> > > attributed to the Pope.
> > > [Begin acknowledgment]
> > >
> > > Garson O'Toole
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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