A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 11, 2012
“Love thy neighbor as thyself, but choose your neighborhood”

"Love thy neighbor as thyself” is in the Bible in Leviticus 19:18 and in several passages of the New Testament. “Love thy neighbor as thyself, but choose your neighborhood” is a jocular extension that has been printed in several real estate ads in the 20th century. “Love your neighbor, but be careful of your neighborhood” was written in The Life and Letters of John Hay (1915) by William Roscoe Thayer. John Hay (1838-1905), the Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, called this his motto in 1873. “Love your neighbor but choose your neighbiorhood” was in a 1920 real estate classified advertisement.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself, but choose your neighborhood” has been credited since the 1990s to “Louise Beal.” It is not known who this person is or when she said it, but Hay’s motto long predates any credit to Beal.


Online Parallel Bible
Leviticus 19:18
New International Version (©1984)
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
(...)
Mark 12:31
New International Version (©1984)
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Wikipedia: John Hay
John Milton Hay (October 8, 1838 – July 1, 1905) was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln. Hay’s highest office was serving as United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Google Books
The Life and Letters of John Hay
Vol. I
By William Roscoe Thayer
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
1915
Pp. 384-385:
Those were the days of Mental Photograph Albums, and on February 25, 1873, Hays made this portrait of himself for the album belonging to Miss Lucy Derby.
Pg. 386:
40. What is your motto?
Love your neighbor, but be careful of your neighborhood.

Google Books
The Meaning of Service
By Harry Emerson Fosdick
New York, NY: Association Press
1920
Pg. 190:
We are tempted to accept the motto which John Hay, with genial cynicism, has suggested, “Love your neighbor, but be careful of your neighborhood.”

Google News Archive
17 June 1920, Nashua (NH) Telegraph, pg. 9, col. 1 ad:
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
BUT
CHOOSE YOUR
NEIGHBORHOOD
(Jewett Real Estate Company Inc.—ed.)

Google Books
Paul Hugon Presents “Fourflushese”
The Language of Money
A Complete Course in Six Lessons

By Paul Desdemaines Hugon
San Francisco, CA: Telegraph Press
1928
Pg. 22:
Love your neighbor, but choose your neighborhood first.

Google News Archive
3 May 1936, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, sec. 2, pg. 12, col. 8 classified ad:
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
but pick your neighborhood.
(Van Sciver & Son, realtors—ed.)

Google Books
The American treasury, 1455-1955
By Clifton Fadiman
New York, NY: Harper
1955
Pg. 695:
JOHN HAY
Love your neighbor but be careful of your neighborhood.

Google Books
Words from the Wise:
Over 6,000 of the Smartest Things Ever Said

By Rosemarie Jarski
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2007
Pg. 353:
Love your neighbor but be careful of your neighborhood.
Louise Beal

Google Books
The Little Book of Humorous Quotes
Edited by Malcolm Kushner
The Little Quote Books (littlequotebooks.com)
2011
Pg. 20:
Love thy neighbor as thyself, but choose your neighborhood. ~Louise Beal

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Sunday, November 11, 2012 • Permalink