Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 02:19:49 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Supermodels; El Nino/La Nina; IHOP; Bible Codes
Michael Gross's MODEL (1985) was correct. Clyde Matthew Dessner's SO
YOU WANT TO BE A MODEL! (1948) has "super-model," but it's a stretch to say
he "coined" it.
Dessner ran Barbizon Models. Page 255 of his book mentions "the model
of tomorrow." Then, on the last page (page 256), this person is described:
She will be a super-model, but the girl in her will be like the girl in
you--quite ordinary, but ambitious and eager for personal development.
If Dessner had used "super-model" to name the book, or even a chapter of
the book, or even given us a wink that he's coining something, I'd give it to
him. But he simply uses it once in a 256-page book, and the term is not used
again for about 25 years (1972).
On page 242, Helen Bennett is an "ultra high-fashion model." THIS is
the term he uses. "Top model" was (and is) used frequently and is the title
of a current magazine. On page 245, we have the full term--"top-flight
model." Somehow, "flight" took flight.
In etymology, I've come across many stray, early citations--for "Big
Apple," "science fiction," and "jinx," for example. If the citations are
isolated in time (over ten years) and frequency (only one?) and the tone of
use does not indicate an intended coinage, it's best to make note of the
first citation, but not give it too much weight in the creation of the term.
The 1948 term is "super-model"; the 1972 article had both "super model"
and "supermodel" and was followed up by other citations.
I'll go through Naomi Sims's papers soon--I still think she's the first