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, 2014
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”

"Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” is a popular saying said at the end of a relationship, the end of school, the end of a theatrical performance, the end of a sports performance, and on many other occasions. “Don’t cry because it’s over—smile because it happened” has been cited in print since at least 1998 and if of unknown authorship.

The saying appears to be a German proverb that was used by German poet Ludwig Jacobowski (1868-1900) in his poem “Leuchtende Tage” ("Bright Days"). The saying has often been credited to “Dr. Seuss,” the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), specifically from his book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990), but there’s no evidence that Dr. Seuss ever wrote this.

[This entry includes subsequent research from the Quote Investigator.]


Wikipedia: Ludwig Jacobowski
Ludwig Jacobowski (21st January 1868 in Strelno (Posen)-2 December 1900 in Berlin) was a German poet writer and publicist.
(...)
The best-known poem
Oh, our bright days
Shining like a few stars,
As a consolation for future action
Glüh’n them golden distance.
Do not cry because it over!
Smile because they have been!
And also cloudy the day,
Our stars redeem!

An even better known adaptation of these verses is commonly Rabindranath Tagore attributed.

Wikiquote: Dr. Seuss
Theodor Seuss Geisel (2 March 1904 – 24 September 1991), better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, was an American writer and cartoonist most famous for his children’s books.
(...)
Disputed
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
. Often attributed to Dr. Seuss without a citation of source, this is also cited as an anonymous proverb.
. This quote has also been attributed to Gabriel García Márquez, in Spanish: “No llores porque ya se terminó... sonríe, porque sucedió.”

Google Books
August 1899, Das Magazin für Litteratur, “Ludwig Jacobowskis ‘Leuchtende Tage’” by Rudolf Steiner, pg. 1899:
Nicht weinen, weil sie vorüber!
Lächeln, weil sie gewesen!
("Do not cry because they are past!
Smile, because they once were!”—ed.)

Google Books
Ludwig Jacobowski:
Ein modernes dichterbild

By Dr. Hermann Friedrich
Berlin: Siegfried Cronach
1901
Pg. 65:
Ach, unsre leuchtenden Tage
Glänzen wie ewige Sterne.
Als Trost für künftige Klage
Glüh’n sie aus goldener Ferne.

Nicht weinen, weil sie vorüber!
Lächeln, weil sie gewesen!
Und werden die Tage auch trüber,
Unsere Sterne erlösen!

OCLC WorldCat record
Geschenktes Leben:
Flucht aus d. russ. Heimat

By Anastasia Vera Chapowaloff
Metzingen (Württ.): Sternberg-Verlag Franz
1973
Pg. 278:
Leuchtende Tage — nicht weinen, daß sie vorüber, sondern lächeln, daß sie gewesen.
(Bright days - do not cry that they passed, but smile, that they have been.—ed.)

Google Books
Das Poesiealbum:
Studien zu den Variationen einer stereotypen Textsorte

By Jürgen Rossin
Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang
1985
Pp. 187, 192:
“Schöne Stunden - nicht weinen, daß sie vorüber - sondern lachen, daß sie waren”.
("Quality times—do not cry that they are over, but laugh that they were here”—ed.)

Google Groups: rec.humor
need some quotes!
Dieter Zasche E1
7/31/96
(...)
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

Google Books
The Songs of Hans Pfitzner:
A Guide and Study

By Richard Mercier
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
1998
Pg. 173:
Ah, our brilliant days shine like eternal stars. They glow from the golden past as consolation for future sorrow. Don’t cry because they are gone! Smile because they have been!

6 June 1998, The Journal News (Rockland County, NY), “Albertus graduates advised to embrace future challenges” by S. Jade Wolfe, pg. 6A, col. 2:
Roche also left his class with a parting piece of advice, paraphrasing from the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” written by his mentor, Dr. Seuss.

“Like Dr. Seuss tells us, today is our day. We’re off to great places, so let’s be on our way. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” counseled Roche.

5 October 1998, The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), “Blank pages inspire restroom philosophers” by Laura Ungar, pg. E1, col. 3:
There are lyrical lines: “The children would play and laugh. The clock would tick as the day would fall…”

There are questions no one can answer: “Should I have married Nick instead?”

There are quotes to live by: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

26 July 1999, Daily Republican-Register (Mount Carmel, IL), “Your Opinion: Salute to ‘Best of Broadway IV,’” pg. 2, col. 5:
And, realizing the feeling of sadness which often accompanies the curtain call on that final performance, I wish to say; “Don’t cry because it’s over—smile because it happened. The reward of anything is to have done it!”
Louise Acres
Director of Public Information & Marketing
Wabash Valley College

September 1999, Practical Horseman, “How do you handle the humane euthanasia of your horse?,” pg. 100, col. 2:
WHEN THE Appaloosa pony I was leasing went blind and had to be put down, I cried and cried and cried. But I tried to think of him in heaven, frolicking about with two good eyes. And I reminded myself of the good times with this quote, which has helped me a lot: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Name withheld by request

Google Groups: alt.music.moffatts
*cries*
The Cather-Nater
11/12/99
(...)
>so far that had been one of the best qoutes I have ever heard, that and
>“Don’t
>cry because it’s over, smile because you were there when it happened”
That is something I *always* tell myself. Especially after summer adventures. The night before I left sleepaway camp in ‘98, I was the biggest wreck. I was crying hysterically like all night, and I cried through the slideshow in the awards ceremony, and our last meal, and the entire car ride home I was crying. But I remember my friend telling me “Dont cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” and that really calmed me down. It is so true.

Orlando (FL) Sentinel
STUDENT sketch
Tara Weeks

January 21, 2000|By Yuriy Geyer, Lake Mary High
(...)
My motto: Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.

Google Groups: alt.fan.hanson
Kesh? 
SecretOK
8/13/00
(...)
~Don’t cry because it’s over~
~Smile because it happened.~

smiley963
Inspirational Quotations 1999
This page was created on August 19, 2000. 
(...)
“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.”
---Unknown

9 May 2000, The Daily Globe (Ironwood, MI), “Tidbits,” pg. 3, col. 1:
Another gem from our Internet friends, a piece entitled “The 14 Things to Live By,” a list with a decidedly distaff feel. So ladies, enjoy.
(...)
11. Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.

11 August 2001, St. Albans (VT) Messenger, “Senior Notes,” pg. 3, col. 4:
So till next time, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Quoteland.com
Dr Suess ~ Disney Quotes??!!
Meggie312
posted 04-19-02 01:53 PM Hide Post
(...)
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” - Dr. Seuss

Google Books
From the Heart of a Father:
Before our Tomorrows Become Yesterdays:
Inspirational stories, letters of love, and motivational messages

BY William Johnson
Allen, TX: Sun Creek Books
2003
Pg. 109:
Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.

Quotesome Blog
Posted on May 7, 2013 by Michelle Lara Lin
10 Famous Misquotations and Misattributed Quotes
(...)
6. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
– Misattributed to Dr. Seuss

There’s no record of Dr. Seuss ever saying this. In Spanish, the quote has been attributed to Gabriel García Márquez, translating to: “No llores porque ya se terminó… sonríe, porque sucedió.” However, there seems to be no source for the latter attribution either. Some websites cite it as an anonymous proverb.

David Paul Kirkpatrick’s Living In The Metaverse
Dr. Seuss Never Said It – Truth Becoming Relative in Maker Culture
July 26, 2013
The Dr. Seuss quote on Goodreads is the first quotation on the popular book-sharing site to reach over 100,000 likes.

It is now the most popular quote on Goodreads.

This quote has eclipsed the musings of history’s most distinguished authors and thought-leaders from Mark Twain to Socrates.

The Dr. Seuss quote is the most appreciated quote on the world’s largest book sharing site with some 18 million subscribers.

The quote is this:  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

It’s a lovely piece of writing.

Except, Dr. Seuss, (Ted Geisel) never said it. The tag on the Goodreads quote indicated that it is “attributed” to Dr. Seuss with no source.

Albany (NY) Times Union
Don’t cry because you thought he said it. Smile because he didn’t.
Posted on January 25, 2014 | By Chuck Miller
(...)
I’ve heard that “Smile because it happened” quotation a lot more these days.  It’s often used as a thematic bandage, an effort to remember the good times when you’re stuck in the bad times.  Hey, did your car break down?  Be thankful you had a car.  Life sucks?  Be thankful you have a life.

People magazine
Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo Address Split
By Jeff Nelson
@nelson_jeff 09/26/2014 AT 03:45 PM EDT
They’ve been silent since their split made headlines, but both Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo are now addressing it.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” the American Idol alum Tweeted Friday, appearing to allude to her breakup, which multiple sources confirmed to PEOPLE this week. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Sunday, September 28, 2014 • Permalink