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 September 28, 2012
“Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around”

""Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around"” is a 17th century saying that was repopularized in the 20th century. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) wrote in Essays, “Of Seditions and Troubles”:

“Money is like muck, not good except in be spread.”

However, in Bacon’s A Collection of Apophthegms, New and Old (1625), he gave a clue about a possible origin for this expression:

“Mr. Bettenham, reader of Grays-Inn, used to say, that riches were like muck; when it lay upon a heap, it gave but a stench and ill odour; but when it was spread upon the ground, then it was cause of much fruit.”

The playwright Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), in his play The Matchmaker (1955), wrote:

“Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”

The Matchmaker (1955) was made into the very successful Broadway musical, Hello, Dolly! (1964), where the line was:

“Money is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread about, encouraging young things to grow.”

Two oil industry multi-millionaires became associated with the saying in the 1960s. Texas oil magnate Clint Murchison, Sr. (1895-1969) said in 1961, “Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell.” J. Paul Getty (1892-1976), the founder of Getty Oil Company, commented in 1967, “Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.” Getty is frequently given credit for the line today, even though his remark came after The Matchmaker (1955), Murchison’s remark in 1961, and Hello, Dolly! (1964).


Wikiquote: Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman and essayist.
(...)
Essays (1625)
. Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.
.. Of Seditions and Troubles.

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 38:
Francis Bacon
English jurist, philosopher, and man of letters, 1561-1626
“Above all things, good policy is to be used that the treasure and moneys in a state be not gathered into few hands. For otherwise a state may have a great stock, and yet starve. And money is like muck, not good unless to be spread.”
Essays “Of Seditions and Troubles” (1625)

Wikiquote: Thornton Wilder
Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American author and playwright.
(...)
The Matchmaker (1954)
Later adapted into the musical Hello, Dolly
. Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.

Wikipedia: Hello, Dolly! (musical)
Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955.

Hello, Dolly! was first produced on Broadway by David Merrick in 1964, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and nine other Tonys.
(...)
Act II
A chastened Horace Vandergelder finally admits that he needs Dolly in his life, but Dolly is unsure about the marriage until her late husband sends her a sign. Vandergelder spontaneously repeats a saying of Ephram’s: “Money is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread about, encouraging young things to grow.”

Google Books
The Works of Francis Bacon
Vol. III
London: Printed for J. WALTHOE, D. MIDWINTER, W. INNYS, A. WARD, D. BROWNE, C. DAVIS, J. and R. TONSON, and A. MILLAR.
1740
Pg. 261:
A COLLECTION OF APOPHTHEGMS
NEW AND OLD
(Originally published in 1625—ed.)
Pg. 279:
162. Mr. Bettenham, reader of Grays-Inn, used to say, that riches were like muck; when it lay upon a heap, it gave but a stench and ill odour; but when it was spread upon the ground, then it was cause of much fruit.

28 June 1935, Christian Science Monitor, “The World’s Business” by H. B. E., pg. 13:
Bacon well said, “Money is like manure, not good except it be spread.”

18 June 1961, San Diego (CA) Union, pg. H9, col. 1:
Time magazine, quoting multi-millionaire Clint Murchison Sr.: “Money is like manure; spread it.”

Google News Archive
19 August 1961, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “Books of the Day,” pg. 29, col. 8:
THE REAL FRANCIS BACON, by Bryan Bevan.
(...)
We do learn that the recent famous saying by a Texas millionaire, Clint Murchison, that money is like manure, it must be spread around to fertilize otherwise if left in a pile it will smell, was said much earlier by Bacon. He put it, “Riches were like muck; when it lay upon a heap, it gave but a stench and ill odor, but when it was spread upon the ground, then it was the cause of much fruit.”
WILLIAM TETLEY.

Sports Illustrated
January 21, 1963
A Big Man Even In Big D
Dallas has hosts of millionaires, but none of them can quite match the combination of business acumen and sporting zeal of Clint Murchison Jr., who has successfully overcome the handicap of being a rich man’s son

Joe David Brown
(...)
Besides supplying his sons with advice, savvy and, most important, a well-filled poke, Old Clint has enriched Texas folklore with any number of pungent comments on life in general and wealth in particular, one of which Clint Jr. has adopted as a sort of working motto: “Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell.”

Google News Archive
10 September 1969, Nevada (MO) Daily Mail, “Boyle Column” by Hal Boyle (AP), pg. 2, col. 6:
Quotable notables: “Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell.” Clint Murchison, Texas financier.

Google Books
The State of the Language
Edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press
1990
Pg. 231:
In the same vein, millionaire J. Paul Getty commented in 1967, “Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.”

Google Books
Preposterous Proverbs:
Why Fine Words Butter No Parsnips

By Max Cryer
Auckland: Exisle Publishing Limited
2011
Pg. 155:
Francis Bacon elaborated on Jonson’s belief that ‘Gold is but muck’ in his (1625):

‘Money is like muck—not good unless it be spread.’

A further reincarnation appeared in Thornton Wilder’s 1958 play The Matchmaker:

‘Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around.’

The thought became even more famous in the musical adaptation, Hello Dolly!

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (1) Comments • Friday, September 28, 2012 • Permalink


great post.

Posted by sporting goods equipment  on  09/29  at  02:53 PM

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