Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 02:36:20 EDT
From: Bapopik
Subject: Hookers; O. K.; Butt-enders

Perhaps not my best title, but it'll have to do.


I finally "hooked up" with George Thompson of NYU. He works in the
Bobst library during the day--and I'm there late in the evening.
He told me that he did a scholarly piece on boxing slang that was
rejected by AMERICAN SPEECH. I've antedated hundreds of Americanisms and I
don't get into AMERICAN SPEECH, either. I go through something like Safire's
"John Q. Public" error every week, and I welcomed him to the ADS outcasts
Thompson's been reading through the early 1800s. I asked him about
"hooker" (which will be a featured word in Tom Dalzell's SLANG OF SIN).
Thompson had the first "hooker"!
The earliest citation had been 1845 (see the RHHDAS). This is from the
NEW YORK TRANSCRIPT, 25 September 1835, pg. 2, col. 4:

Pris.: ...he called me a _hooker_.
Mag.: What did you call her a hooker for?
Wit.: 'Cause she allers hangs round the hook, your honner.

For what it's worth, I found this item about Corlaer's Hook (New York
City, supposedly a place where sailors met "hookers") and other hooks in the
ULSTER PLEBEIAN (Kingston, NY), 5 December 1815, pg. 4, col. 1:

A new imported Anglo-Dutchman, understanding he must go to Powles-Hook
in his way to Philadelphia, made a mistake and got to Corlaer's-Hook; where,
on being told of his mistake by a carman, he exclaimed, somewhat in a passion,
"You are nothing but _hooks_; there is your Kinder-_hook_, your Red-_hook_,
your Powles-_hook_, your Corlaer's-_hook_, and your Sandy-_hook_--and since
you made war against Great Britain you are all _hook'd_." "Weel, weel,
Mynheer," retorted the carman, "If we are all _hook'd_ you are all _damn'd_;
for you have your Amster_dam_, your Rotter_dam_, your Monck_dam_, your
Saar_dam_, and your E_dam_--and since the prince-regent has set a king over
you, you are all _damn'd_."

O. K., BUTT-ENDERS (1839 words)

It had been supposed that the first political "O. K. club" usage began
in March of 1840, until I had unearthed this (a few years ago) from the NEW
ERA, 12 December 1839: "The Feds in the Third Ward have held a meeting to
approve of the nomination of Harrison. Of course, this in the Butt Ender's
phrase is O. K., that is, 'oll korrect.'"
I was reading through Timothy Gilfoyle's wonderful CITY OF EROS: NEW
"hookers" when I found a previously unknown 1839 "Butt-Ender." The DICTIONARY
OF AMERICANISMS has three citations for the Butt-enders political party,
beginning with 4 January 1840.
CITY OF EROS showed the front cover of an 1839 pamphlet guide to New
York City's brothel's, which was written by "A Butt-Ender." Thus, in 1839
"Butt-ender" meant two things: (1) the butt end of a rifle, and (2) (if you
don't know this, ask Beavis).
No library in the country had this "Butt-Ender" guide. The computer
databases didn't list it. CITY OF EROS stated that "Butt-Ender" was in the
private collection of Leo Hershkowitz, of Queen's College.
I contacted Mr. Hershkowitz. He used to work in the Queen's College
library, and he possesses a large collection of impossible-to-find
publications from 19th century New York City, such as BUTT-ENDER, THE WHIP,
and FLASH.
I politely asked him if there was an "O. K." in his BUTT-ENDER. I was
also interested if he had any "hookers" for me, or just one "hello."
He's going through his collection now, and he can be contacted at
Queen's College, where he teaches New York City history.