Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 03:50:06 EST From: Bapopik Subject: Christmas Potpourri (Fresh Air Fund, Tenement, Blind Tiger, etc.) CHRISTMAS POTPOURRI "Wait till next year" and "Podunk" deserved their own entries. Here are a few smaller items from my files. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- FRESH AIR FUND I mistakenly left this item off of my Christmas philanthropy posting. The DA's earliest citation for "Fresh Air Fund" is the New York Tribune of 2 July 1882. The second citation (Scribner's Magazine, April 1891) seemingly goes into detail of how it all started in a small hamlet in northeastern Pennsylvania, but that citation provides no date. This is from the Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 21 July 1874, pg. 2, col. 3: The money collected in the large cities to pay the expenses of children's excursions is called the "Fresh-Air Fund." The Baltimore _Gazette_ reminds the people of Baltimore that their funds for the recruitment of the poor children are rather low. Yes; we know no place which needs so much a very large fund of fresh air as Baltimore--particularly in the region of the basin! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- TENEMENT I checked a New York Public Library microfilm reel of tenement pamphlets. Most interesting was THE TENEMENT HOUSES OF NEW YORK CITY/ A CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY BY THE TENEMENT HOUSE BUILDING CO (1891). Page 3 opens with, "The first tenement-house in America was built in 1838 in Cherry Street, and only a stone's throw from the site of the model houses of the Tenement-House Building Company." 1838? How come OED has 1858? How come both the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NEW YORK CITY don't record this? Don't look too hard for it on Cherry Street. I think it's now the Brooklyn Bridge. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- BLIND TIGER The following certainly helps determine the origins of "speakeasy" and "blind tiger." It's from the New York Press, 3 May 1897, pg. 2, col. 3: The serving of liquor in coffee cups was said to have begun last night. This is on the same level as the "Speakeasy" of Pennsylvania and the "Blind Tiger" of South Carolina, and the authorities expect to have no trouble in suppressing it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- JAG The RHHDAS has a nice entry and some 1890s citations for "jag," but I like this one, from Vogue, vol. III, no. 7, 1894, pg. 4, col. 2: CORRECT SHE: "What is 'jag' derived from?" HE: "Jug, my dear." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- DEGREES OF DRUNKENNESS Before the six degrees of separation were the degrees of drunkenness. I can't find all of them now, but one of my earliest is this, from the New-York Mirror, 21 May 1825, pg. 343, col. 2: A gentleman perceiving a man swallowing liquor from a thermometer, inquired of a bystander the reason of such strange proceeding; to which he replied, "Oh! he is getting intoxicated _by degrees_." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- KENTUCKY KATSUP I can't seem to find "Kentucky Katsup" anywhere, even though other "Kentucky" items are plentiful. This is from the Providence (RI) Journal, 15 February 1839, pg. 2, col. 3: KENTUCKY KATSUP, is the last name which has been given to Monongahela Whiskey. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- WHISKEY/WHISKY In the 19th century, there was a debate about the spelling of this, which Tom Dalzell might find useful. This is from the Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 26 September 1874, pg. 2, col. 3: The word _whisky_ has no _e_ in it, and its plural is _whiskies_, not _whiskeys_.--_Petersburg Index (selected)_. Yes it has; and its plural is "_whiskeys_." (See WORCESTER.) It comes from "_usquebaugh_." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- HOLDING A PAT HAND This poker term is illustrated in the University of Michigan's WRINKLE, vol vii, no. 7, 4 April 1900, pg. 11, col. 2: "POKER TERM--HOLDING A PAT HAND." Irishmen ("Patricks") are shaking. "Standing pat" would reach great political significance around this time. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- RUBBER Paul Dickson's BASEBALL DICTIONARY says this is "the last and deciding game of a series when the previous games have been split." No citations or dates are given in the entry. The term may or may not come from poker. This is from the Chicago Times, 12 September 1886, pg. 5, col. 2: WON THE RUBBER./Chicago's Base-Ball Artists Take the Deciding Game from the Detroit Players. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- SLEEPER "Sleeper" (I don't have the next edition of the RHHDAS to check) can be found in the cartoon Penny Ante by Gene Knott, "Finding a 'Sleeper,'" 24 October 1917, Vancouver Daily Sun (St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other papers as well), pg. 8. One character declares, "Ah! I found a 'sleeper' in the pot!!! This is the first sign of luck I've had all evening." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- POT This is from the New York Sun, 5 June 1871, pg. 1, col. 3. In describing a game of dominoes, "he who has the best hand takes the money in 'the pot'--that is, the money to which each player contributed at the outset of the game." The word "pot" is explained as a new or unfamiliar word would be. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- PUT UP OR SHUT UP This card gambling term ("Put up or shut up") was used in two Thomas Nast cartoons for Harper's Weekly: 19 August 1876 (pg. 684) and 30 December 1876 (pg. 1064). The latter, however, was "Put up and shut up." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- THE HICKS ARE IN "Jimmy Hicks" is the number "six" in craps. However, I couldn't find this phrase defined anywhere. It's from the Boston Journal, 23 May 1911, pg. 8, col. 4: "THE HICKS ARE IN" AND BETTORS MOURN Lively Ball That Caused Downfall of Pitchers Has a Dead Substitute. "The hicks are in." This is gamblers' slang for the intrusion of loaded dice into a crap game. (...) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- GALLERY GOD Before the " peanut gallery" (1893 in the DA), there were the "gallery gods" (not in the DA). Both terms began with the stage but moved to baseball and other venues. Dickson's BASEBALL DICTIONARY records neither term. The Daily Graphic (N.Y.), 29 March 1879 has "A GALLERY GOD'S/ REMINISCINCES PAST AND CRITICISMS PRESENT OF THE STAGE. I am one of the gods of the gallery, and an old gallery god, too." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- GIG The RHHDAS quotes the DAE and DA with an 1847 citation. This is from the National Police Gazette, 4 July 1846, pg. 364 (?bad copy), col. 4: MORE POLICY INFAMIES. (...) The aristocrats of the bunsiness, whose heavy depots are located under the guise of Exchange Offices, in Broadway and Chatham street, have recently held a private convention, the results of which have been a unanimous resolution to increase the rates of purchase to the buyer, at an average of forty to forty-five per cent--the increase on one species of tickets alone, called "gigs," amounting to an increase of 100 _per cent_. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- COCKTAIL I found this is my files; the Tamony papers probably have it, though. It's from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ANSWERS TO QUERIES, 22 April 1917, pg. 2, col. 6: (...) Reddall writes: Cocktail--The national American "drink," said to have been invented by one Elizabeth Flanagan. She was the widow of an Irish soldier who fell in the service of this country. She appears after his death to have been a sutler, and in that capacity to have followed a troop of Virginia horse who, under command of Col. Burr, took up quarters in the winter of 1779 in a place called the "Four Corners," situated on the road between Tarrytown and White Plains, Westchester County, N. Y. Here Elizabeth Flanagan set up a hotel, which was largely patronized by the officers of the French and American forces quartered in the vicinity, and here it is that the drink known as the "cocktail" was invented. O. K., so why did Washington Irving, who lived in Westchester County and who wrote a history of New York and who was not one to ignore the region's glories, say that the "cocktail" was invented in Baltimore? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- PAINT THE TOWN RED "Paint the Town Red" was extensively discussed in a long article in an 1887 Scientific American (I think), but it doesn't have this, from the Milwaukee Journal, 29 September 1886, pg. 2, col. 2: Exciting Origin of a Well-Worn Phrase. At this late day, says The Pittsburg Dispatch, another origin for the expression, "Painting it red," is given. Back in the '60s racing was one of the exciting features of Mississippi river travel, and when an opportunity offered for a trial of speed all hands were breathless with excitement. The first command from the captain would be: "Paint her red, boys!" which was river slang for filling the fire-box with rosin in order to create a quick, hot fire, at which time the fire-boxes would be thrown open. Then, if the night were dark, the effect was simply grand. As far ahead as the eye could see the river would be a deep red from reflection, forming a beautiful picture, which, once seen, could never be forgotten. It was at that time that the expression, "Paint the town red," originated, as the old steamboatsmen intended to convey the idea by its use that they would have a beautiful time on arrival at their destination. I gotta go to Toronto. Maybe I'll paint it black. Fuchsia?