Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 02:34:54 EDT
From: Bapopik
Subject: Hello (1848!?)

The citations for "hello" in 1852 (by a fireman) and in 1853 (by Mose,
fireman of the Bowery) led me to believe that the first "hello" would be from
Bowery slang, in the 1848 play by Benjamin A. Baker, A GLANCE AT NEW YORK.
Mose the fireman was the play's main character.
I read the play today. Was "hello" in this 1848 play?

Pg. 21 LIZE: Hello! Mose, what's the matter?
Pg. 22 MIKE: Hallo! Major; where have you been?
Pg. 25 HARRY: Hello! Mose. Where are you going?

The only caveat I have is that I did NOT read the 1848 play. I read
Samuel French's Standard Drama, The Acting Edition, No. CCXVI, published about
1890. The original 1848 play was also published by French. There is no
reason to suppose that the two editions would be different, but you never
know. Neither the NYPL nor the Library of Congress have the original; copies
are at Brown and Yale Universities, however.
The RHHDAS quotes this play for "foo foo" (as does the DA) and "knock
down drag out." Page 21 has "there's goin' to be a first-rate shindig." I
don't know how you can find some items and not find others. The play's only
about 30 pages long! "Hello" is so common, however, that you forget to look
for it! Again, the 1848 original may be different, but I don't think so.
"Hello" is probably an Americanism in its 150th year!