[Ads-l] Saying: If you don't like our weather, just wait a few minutes

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 23 00:39:31 UTC 2022

Many have explored the origin of the saying in the subject line
including top researchers Paul F. Boller, John George, Nigel Rees,
Barry Popik, and Fred Shapiro.

I was recently asked to explore this topic. According to previous
efforts, the first known instance occurred in 1915, and the first
attribution to Mark Twain occurred circa 1928.

The new article on the Quote Investigator website presents some
earlier citations.


The earliest match I've located appeared in “Field and Stream”
magazine in January 1909 within an article by James A. Cruikshank who
indicated that the saying was circulating in Chicago, Illinois with an
anonymous attribution.

[ref] 1909 January, Field and Stream, Volume 13, Number 9, Where To Go
Hunting, Fishing & Resorts of The United States & Canada by Jas. A.
Cruikshank, Start Page 794, Quote Page 794, Column 2,  Field and
Stream Publishing Company, New York. (Google Books Full View) link


[Begin excerpt]
In Chicago—where they have a saying “If you do not like our weather,
wait a minute”—it seems to a good many of us that, after waiting
several weeks of winter, we like the latest weather less than the
[End excerpt]

In 1920 a newspaper in Randolph, Vermont ascribed the saying to Mark
Twain. This was the earliest linkage to Twain I've found:

[ref] 1920 December 2, Herald and News, Randolph by Roy L. Johnson
(Local Editor), Quote Page 1, Column 4,Randolph, Vermont.
(Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
The weather for the past several days recalls to mind Mark Twain’s
famous quip, “If you don’t like New England weather, wait a minute.”
It would require the services of a bookkeeper to keep an account of
the weather man’s recent activities. First it snowed and then it
rained, and for variety it tried to do both at the same time, with an
occasional clear spell.
[End excerpt]

Feedback welcome
Garson O'Toole

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

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