Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 15:16:39 CDT


Subject: Yankee

David, etal.

I found a few interesting items on Yankee in the Scott-Foresman

Company citation files we hold. [For those who don't know, this

collection contains ca. 350 linear feet of citations collected for

Thorndike-Barnhart, World Book, etc. dictionaries. Includes citations

collected by Clarence Barnhart and others.]

First is a variant on your note. A letter to the Wall Street

Journal (1/7/1977) page 6 reads: "The word Yankee itself is

ambiguous--depending on one's point of view. To people in other parts

of the world it simply means someone from the United States; to people

in the United States it means someone from north of the Mason-Dixon

line; to us northerners it means someone from New England; to New

Englanders it means someone from Vermont; to Vermonters it means

someone from the Green Mountains; to Green Mountain Vermonters it

means someone who eats apple pie for breakfast; to Green Mountain

Vermonters who eat apple pie for breakfast it means someone who eats

it with his knife."

2. Newsweek (7/31/1978), p. 65. ". . . Perkins was at bottom a

Vermont Yankee who inherited the conscience and some of the

eccentricities of his New England forebears."

3. [The source is simply the acronym NY; maybe New Yorker]

(4/28/1956), page 43. "Basically, Yankees meant countrypeople who

were of English settler stock. . . . Their habitat was in particular

New Hampshire and Vermont, although they were scattered over the rest

of New England. Their pronunciation of the English language has a

peculiar salty flavor. . . "

4. I am curious if you have taken a look at B. A. Botkin, ed., A

Treasury of New England Folklore: Stories, Ballads, and Traditions of

the Yankee People (New York: Crown, 1947. I know it contains

Mencken's etymology of Yankee and wonder if it might give other


Randy Roberts

Western Historical Manuscript Collection

University of Missouri-Columbia