[Ads-l] "forever home"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 22 13:52:28 UTC 2021

Thanks to Stephen and Dave. It looks like "forever home" with the
pertinent sense was in use by December 1962. I only looked in
newapapers.com, and my search was impeded by the irrelevant matches
generated by simple queries. Hence, this should be antedatable.

Date: December 16, 1962
Newspaper: The News and Observer
Newspaper Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Article: Children Want 'Forever Homes'
Section 4, Quote Page 15
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Children Want 'Forever Homes'

Some children want shiny electric trains for Christmas. Some want
dolls that talk and cry. Four children, now in the care of the
Children's Home Society, only want "forever homes."

A "forever home" is a place of one's own with one's own mother and
father, not a foster home or a temporary home but one for always—like
other children have.
[End excerpt]


On Fri, Oct 22, 2021 at 9:18 AM dave at wilton.net <dave at wilton.net> wrote:
> It appears that the phrase started to gain currency around 1971, at least that's when the hits in ProQuest Historical Newspapers start. Here's the earliest I've found in a quick search (searching for "forever home" and "adopt"):
> “Custody Battles Mar the Joys of Adoption.” Philadelphia Daily News, 12 October 1971, 39. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
> “In any case, the child now legally belongs to its new parents, to a ‘forever’ home. ‘No one can get that child away from you,’ says Mrs. Noyes."
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Stephen Goranson" <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
> Sent: Friday, October 22, 2021 8:17am
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "forever home"
> Not sure if this fits your request, but Christian Register [Boston MA] July 4, 1846, p. 108 [4]/1 has a poem, “From the Orphan’s Advocate,” “Mary and Jesus” By Mrs. M. E. Robbins, [Readex Am. Hist. Newsp.] about child Jesus wearing clothes Mary made and ends:
> The garments which her dear child wore
>  Would more and more become
> Like to the heaven which beamed on him
>  His own forever home.
> The Orphan’s Advocate and Social Monitor [1845-1852] apparently was also published in Boston.
> Also reprinted in Godey’s Lady’s Book Aug. 1, 1845 [Ebsco]
> Stephen
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Nancy Friedman <wordworking at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:41 PM
> Subject: "forever home"
> I'm looking for the origins of this phrase in the secular sense: a
> permanent home for a foster child or a pet. OED has only "Heaven, his
> forever home" (1910).
> Thanks!
> Nancy Friedman
> Chief Wordworker
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