[Ads-l] "care package"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 10 00:47:00 UTC 2021

My latest Wall St. Journal column commemorates the 75th anniversary of the
first "CARE packages," later known more familiarly as "care packages."

Archived (non-paywalled) version: https://archive.is/FeeI3

The OED3 draft entry for "care package" (Nov. 2010) starts with this
bracketed cite:

[1945 Washington Post 16 Dec. iii. 7/3 CARE'S packages will be made up
either here or abroad.]

That article, written by Dorothy Dunbar Bromley, first appeared in the New
York Herald Tribune on Dec. 9, 1945, p. II4, col. 1 (available on ProQuest).

The first non-bracketed OED cite is from May 13, 1946. Here's an antedating
to March:

Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 25, 1946, p. 7, col. 4
The volunteers will ask benefactors to sponsor "Care Packages" which will
provide food for one person for 30 days.

OED sense 2 ("A gift package sent to a person who is away from home for an
extended period, often containing his or her favourite foods") is dated to
1965. Here are a few cites from the '50s:

Des Moines Register, Jan. 21, 1954, p. 20, col. 1
Harlan Miller, "Over the Coffee"
Hearkening to the plaints of college boys & girls home on holiday, who
complain food at the campus isn't like the chow at home, our youngest
overflows with sympathy. "Maybe life'd be better," he suggested, "if your
Mom or Dad sent you a CARE package occasionally?"
Hammond (Ind.) Times, Aug. 18, 1955, p. B5, col. 4
"'Going to College?' Purdue Student Gives Views on Money Problems"
Then too, those CARE packages from home and "coke-dates" can add extra
Illiwoco (MacMurray College yearbook), 1959, p. 28 (photo caption)
Jean Tobey shares a "CARE" package from home with a crowd of sophomore


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

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