[Ads-l] blue laws, examples indirectly in a 1776 ephemeris

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Oct 19 11:55:26 UTC 2020

The "blue laws" collocation has been discussed here at length, and OED (revised 2013) features it today, with citations in 1755, 1762, 1781, etc., and discussion of "uncertain" significance of blue.

Not sure if this is new or sheds light, but an ad in Nov. 29 1775 Connecticut Journal (New Haven) 2/1 states that Hosea Stafford's 1776 "Astronomical Ephemeris...Almanack...," now in the press, will contain "Extracts from the ancient Records of New-Haven vulgarly call'd the Blue Laws."

The 1776 almanack does include two pages of examples from 1640-3, including on inappropriate behavior on the Lord's day, excess money charges, several "filthy dalliances," and admonishment to prevent Rams and Ewes from mating until the "fittest season."

Date of Publication: 1775
Early American Imprints, Series 1, no. 14479  (filmed)
Title: An astronomical ephemeris, kalendar, or almanack, for the year of our Lord, 1776. ... Adapted to the horizon and meridian of New-Haven, lat. 41 deg. 19 min. north; and longit. 73 deg. 14 min. to the westward of the meridian of Greenwich, (according to the latest observations) but may indifferently serve for all the towns in Connecticut. By Hosea Stafford, philo.

S. Goranson

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

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