[Ads-l] Request help with "The Fortnightly" and quotation "If fifty million people say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 13 16:54:47 UTC 2020

The quotation in the subject line is usually attributed to Nobel
Prize-Winning author Anatole France. I've written a QI article about
this topic listing pertinent citations beginning with a semantic match
in 1766. Feedback welcome:


In this message I am requesting help with the verification of an
important citation in  "The Fortnightly" journal of London in 1937.
The data below was extracted from snippets displayed by Google Books;
hence, this data may be inaccurate.

Date: July 1937
Periodical: The Fortnightly
Volume 148
Article: The Technique of Social Health
Author: George Catlin
Start Page 412, Quote Page 415,
Publisher: Fortnightly Review Offices, London.
Database: Google Books Snippet
Note: Not yet verified; metadata and text extracted from snippets

[Begin excerpt]
As Anatole France sagely remarked, if fifty million people say a
foolish thing it is still a foolish thing.
[End excerpt]

Anatole France died in 1924, so the evidence provided by this 1937
citation is weak, but it is the earliest attribution to Anatole France
that I have uncovered.

You could help by retrieving the journal, verifying the presence of
the quotation, and determining the correct metadata which may differ
from the metadata listed above.

Ideally, you will send to me scans or photos validating the accurate
metadata and quotation. Scans showing: journal title, date of
publication, publisher name, article name, article author, quotation
together with page number.

If you cannot relay scans that is ok. I will state that you have
visually verified the accuracy of the citation you supply.

You will receive an acknowledgement in the QI article.

Thanks for your consideration
Garson O'Toole

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

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