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.

Recent entries:
“My wife thinks I’m crazy because I like sausages” (joke) (10/20)
“I’ve robbed banks before…and they’re never getting their pens back” (10/20)
“I called the Tinnitus hotline earlier, but it just kept ringing” (10/20)
“Hockey is much better if you imagine the teams are fighting over the world’s last Oreo” (10/20)
“Bar & Bra. Same letters, different words, but both keep men waiting eagerly till they open” (10/20)
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Entry from July 15, 2004
Hot Dog (Polo Grounds myth & original monograph)
The word "hot dog" was not coined at the Polo Grounds, at Madison Square Garden, or even in New York City. This has been exhaustively detailed in a Gerald Cohen, David Shulman and Barry Popik monograph published in late 2004 (see below). The story is too long to be told here, but some short mention of the popular myth is due.

According to the legend, Harry Stevens' men were selling the stuff at the New York Giants games at the Polo Grounds. The date for this that used to be given is 1906; earlier "hot dog" citations were found, so the date for the legend was soon changed to 1901. "Get your red hot dachshund sausages!" the vendors cried out.

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan ("TAD"), the sports cartoonist of the New York Evening Journal, heard this, but allegedly didn't know how to spell the troublesome word "dachshund." He used "hot dog" in his cartoon. The rest is history--except it was never history.

The earliest citations of "hot dog" are the 1884 and 1886 citations in the citation list below. Other "hot dog" citations have been published in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, H-O (1997). These were first presented in Cohen's Comments on Etymology in 1995.

In the Yale Record, October 19, 1895, pg. 4: "How they contentedly munched hot dogs..." The Yale University "Kennel Club" (a "dog wagon") had first opened in the fall of 1894. The humor magazines of other universities, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell, all show that the term "hot dog" had been well known before 1900. The term "dog" had been in earlier use, indicating where the ingredients presumably came from.

TAD wasn't even employed by the New York Evening Journal in 1901. In 1993, Leonard Zwilling (an editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English) published a TAD Lexicon. Zwilling found that the earliest TAD "hot dog" published in the New York was December 12, 1906, in a story about the six-day bicycle race at Madison Square Garden. Not the Polo Grounds!

Harry Stevens had admitted in several newspaper articles that the TAD "hot dog" came from his famous early catering efforts at Madison Square Garden's six-day bicycle race. Stevens admired TAD's cartoons so much that he placed one in his office. For many years, Stevens had told newspaper reporters that this was the original cartoon that had coined the word "hot dog." Shortly before TAD's death in 1929, the first example of the TAD myth appeared in a newspaper.

TAD was certainly a great cartoonist and slang popularizer/coiner--perhaps America's greatest. But "hot dog" was in use over ten years before he first used the term in print.

In 2001, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (http://www.hot-dog.org) officially admitted that the TAD story is a myth. My name is on the web site as Barry Popick. The myth still gets told by lazy newspaper reporters and writers who do not know how to search the web, or who use old, outdated materials.


OCLC WorldCat record
Origin of the term "hot dog"
Author: Gerald Leonard Cohen; David Shulman; Barry A Popik
Publisher: Rolla, MO : G. Cohen, 2004.
Edition/Format: Print book : English : 1st ed
Subjects
Frankfurters -- Terminology -- History.
Frankfurters -- History.
English language -- Etymology.

Univ. of Missouri-Rolla News
UMR professor writes book on origin of 'hot dog'
11/29/2004 11:03 - UMR Public Relations

Dr. Gerald Cohen, a professor of foreign languages at the University of Missouri-Rolla, has just published a 300-page book Origin of the Term 'Hot Dog' together with word sleuths Barry Popik and the late David Shulman.

"Popik discovered that 'hot dog' (hot sausage) arose in Yale slang of 1894 or 1895," says Cohen, "and it then spread quickly throughout college slang of the mid-late 1890s.

"The term was based on the popular 19th-century belief that dog meat could turn up in sausages," says Cohen, "and this belief had a basis in fact."

Dog meat in sausages? "Yes," says Cohen. "It was scandalous but true. Some butchers even hired dog killers -- young toughs armed with a club who would bash any poor dog they came across and then sell the carcass to the butcher."

"College students since time immemorial have combined a keen sense of wit with occasional bad taste," Cohen adds. "Both came into play in referring to a hot sausage as 'hot dog.' The term at first was disgusting, but of course it gradually caught on."

Cohen has researched the origins of "hot dog" since 1978 and last year decided to compile all the material he and his colleagues have collected. He is publishing the book himself -- "just 60 copies," he says. "I don't want to be left with many extra copies. If you saw my office, you'd know why."

"The book is scholarly, and my target market is libraries, lexicographers, and anyone interested in the detailed study of slang," Cohen says. "I've applied the principles of thorough German scholarship to the study of a single word."

Among other things, the book presents all the early college material on "hot dog," mostly from college humor magazines, and then illustrates in detail the popular 19th century belief about dog meat turning up in sausages.

Cohen is at particular pains to refute the usual story about the origin of "hot dog" -- that on a chilly April day in New York City, around 1900, Polo Grounds concessionaire Harry Stevens decided the baseball fans needed something warm to eat, invented the hot-sausage-on-a-bun, and cartoonist T.A. Dorgan drew his cartoon for the next day (dachshund-like sausages with legs) and coined the term "hot dog."

"It's a charming piece of Americana," says Cohen. "But it's a complete fabrication. Dorgan didn't come to New York City until 1903, and his supposed Polo Grounds/hot dog cartoon simply doesn't exist. He did use the term later and probably helped popularize it. But his first two 'hot dog' cartoons came on Dec. 12 and 13, 1906, in connection with a 6-day bike race at Madison Square Garden, not a baseball game at the Polo Grounds."

Cohen once even offered $200 to the first person who could produce Dorgan's Polo Grounds/hot dog cartoon. Despite some intense looking by scholars who relish (no pun intended) a challenge, the elusive cartoon hasn't yet surfaced. "It's elusive," insists Cohen, "because it's non-existent."

Would Cohen's book make a nice Christmas-stocking stuffer? "Probably not," he says. "It's a bit too detailed for that. But it does belong on the shelves of libraries."

And how is this book relevant to Cohen's teaching? "I teach a course on etymology (it's my main area of research), and I tell my class that even a humble slang term can be worthy of a surprisingly detailed study," he says. "I once wrote two books on the origin of the term 'shyster,' and the late word researcher Allen Walker Read spent several decades on the word 'OK.'"

"Our language has a rich history, and appreciating that richness is the main purpose of my course," he adds.

"This is really an enormously interesting field -- both for scholars and lay people. A lot of research has gone into the 'hot dog' project, but the results are comprehensible to anyone."

As for his two co-authors, Cohen calls Barry Popik an extraordinary independent scholar who has made major contributions to the study of "The Big Apple," "dude," "I'm from Missouri, you've got to show me," "The Windy City," "Oscar" (movie award) and many more items. Three-fourths of the material in the "hot dog" book was unearthed by Popik.

David Shulman, who died on Oct. 30, was also an independent scholar. He deciphered Japanese codes in World War II, afterwards provided the Oxford English Dictionary with thousands of antedatings, and did research in the New York Public Library every day it was open until the very end of his life. Shulman headed Cohen and Popik in the right direction for "hot dog," namely by directing them toward college slang and away from Coney Island.

Cohen's book sells for $40 (plus $7 mailing), and anyone interested can contact him by email at .

Kansas City Star
Frankfurter, she wrote: Hot dog shrouded in mystery
By J. BRADY McCOLLOUGH
The Kansas City Star
Posted on Sun., Apr. 2, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- Many of the dead at Bellefontaine Cemetery have statues erected in front of their graves. Some honor the Virgin Mary, some honor Jesus Christ and some honor the great artists of our time.

But only one man decided to honor himself.

Here lies Chris Von der Ahe, the man who married baseball and the hot dog way back in 1893. This statue, stretching 25 feet high, is a testament to his foresight. How could he ever have known that the love shared between baseball and the hot dog would never wane?

Even today, Von der Ahe's frock coat and Rollie Fingers mustache present an air of invulnerability. Only a man like this could have sold the first hot sausage at a ballgame.

Von der Ahe, the owner of the St. Louis Browns baseball team in the 1890s, originally had the statue built in front of Sportsman's Park. A German immigrant, Von der Ahe was the George Steinbrenner of his day, even making his employees call him "Der Boss."

Von der Ahe did many things for baseball. He was one of the first owners to introduce the formerly wine-and-cheese sport to the masses.

The owner of a brewery near Sportsman's Park, he sold his beer at the ballpark, bringing in a rowdier group of fans. He built an amusement park next door, creating a "Coney Island of the West."

Well, you can't have a Coney Island without hot dogs, right? Turns out, Von der Ahe may have done just that, according to noted hot-dog historians.

J. Thomas Hetrick, author of Chris Von der Ahe and the St. Louis Browns, read every St. Louis newspaper and magazine during the years in question and saw no mention of hot dogs at Sportsman's Park. And Gerald Cohen of the University of Missouri-Rolla has found that hot dogs weren't sold at sporting events until 1906.

But, whom to believe? Bruce Kraig, a food historian at Roosevelt University in Chicago, doesn't discount the Von der Ahe theory. "I wouldn't rule it out," Kraig says.

Ever since the New York World published a series called "The Great Hot Dog Mystery" in 1931, men have been searching for answers about the mystery meat. For Cohen, an etymologist, the mystery is embedded deep in the words. For Kraig, who has loved hot dogs since he was a child in Brooklyn, it's in the dog itself. He wonders how the one-time grilled delicacy became a boiled wiener in a bun.

Unfortunately, Von der Ahe's gravesite provides no clues about the hot dog, only that he was one.

Gerald Cohen spent more than one-third of his life doing research on the hot dog and finally published a book on it in 2004. Surprisingly, he doesn't like them at all. In fact, there is no sign of a hot dog-obsessed man inside his Rolla home, just a grandfather of three wearing a cardigan sweater.

"I had hot dogs once in my life, and they made me sick," Cohen says. "It was at a Yankee game, at a place across the street from the ballpark. But I never had another hot dog again after that."

Cohen, 65, grew up in Manhattan and moved to the small college town of Rolla to teach foreign languages in the 1970s. He soon became captivated with the origin of English words like "eureka," "dude" and "shyster" and started publishing articles on such topics. In 1978, the term "hot dog" crossed his path, and it consumed his life.

"What else am I going to do with my time?" Cohen asks in his thick, squeaky New York accent. "Skiing in Vail, Colo.? I'll probably get hurt."

On this afternoon, Cohen is surrounded by stacks of papers. He offers a copy of his book, The Origin of the Term 'Hot Dog.' Cohen printed only 60 copies, and 39 of them have been sold.

"It's not Harry Potter," he says. "I sometimes think that the closest a man can get to giving birth is writing a book."

After a 26-year pregnancy, you'd think Cohen would be sick of talking hot-dog history. But he wants the record to be set straight. Too many publications have gotten it wrong for too long, he says.

He clears his throat and begins telling the accepted story with a sarcastic, bard-like tone.

"It was a chilly day in April at the Polo Grounds, about 1900," he says, clearly enjoying this. "A food concessionaire named Harry Stevens realized that people were not going to buy his ice cream on this chilly day. So, he decides to sell hot sausages. There's a cartoonist up in the stands by the name of T.A. Dorgan, and he drew the cartoon, which showed little sausages running around with legs. He wanted to refer to them as dachshund sausages, but he didn't know how to spell dachshund. Since he didn't know how to spell it, he said 'hot dog,' and, as they say, the rest is history."

Cohen spent years trying to refute the story and even offered $100 to any etymologist who could find Dorgan's cartoon. Nobody could find it, and Cohen discovered that Dorgan didn't even move to New York until 1903.

For many years, Cohen believed a conspiracy theory that said the Polo Grounds story was made up to take the credit away from Brooklyn, where the hot dog originated in Coney Island in the 1870s.

"You have to forgive me for a pun," Cohen says, "but I barked up the wrong tree several times on this."

With the help of etymologists Barry Popik and David Shulman, he found out that the term hot dog was first used not at the Polo Grounds in 1900, but as college slang at Yale in 1895. Cohen finally had his answer.

But what about baseball? If it's not Von der Ahe, and it's not Harry Stevens and the Polo Grounds in 1900, then what is it?

As Cohen's research was coming to a close, he came across an article from 1926 that quoted Stevens telling a new story.

"I have been given credit," Stevens said in the article, "for introducing the hot dog to America. Well, I don't deserve it. In fact, at first I couldn't see the idea. It was my son, Frank, who first got the idea and wanted to try it on one of the early six-day bicycle crowds at Madison Square Garden. I told Frank that the bike fans preferred ham and cheese. He insisted that we try it out for a few days, and at last I consented. His insistence has all Americans eating hot dogs."

Turns out, the first cartoons found from Dorgan with those little sausages running around are from December 1906 at a six-day bike race. (...)


9 September 1836, Newburyport (MA) Herald, pg. 2, col. 4:
SLANDER BY INSINUATION. A clown walked up leisurely to the stall of one of those small traders who furnish canal-tourists of limited means with "wittles and drink," and just as he was on the point of vending a large lot of sausages to a hungry looking traveller, which were to last him until his arrival at Buffalo, a vagabond, looking suspiciously at the article and addressing the seller, said: "Is them good sasserges?" "Yes, they are good sausages, you ignorant ramus. You would like to keep me from selling 'em, if you could fix it that way, I don't doubt." "No, I wouldn't," responded the loafer; "I don't know nothing special about them sasserges; they may be good sasserges; I don't say they a'nt good sasserges; all I do say is, that wheresomever you see them kind of sasserges, you don't see no dogs!" "I guess, on reflection," said the traveller, "that I won't negoatiate for them articles. The man's last remark has gi'en me a dislike to 'em."

6 July 1838, New York (NY) Commercial Advertiser, pg. 2:
Sausages have fallen in price one half, in New York, since the dog killers have commenced operations.

14 July 1838, Boston (MA) Times, pg. 2:
In Saxony they make cheese out of potatoes; in Cincinnati they make combs out of pigs' toenails; in Holland they make clam chowder out of frogs; in New York they make sassengers out of -- what?

18 September 1838, Boston (MA) Times, pg. 2:
The Methuen gazette editor "infers" that dog-meat sausages is a new article of food. Bless your soul man -- it's as old as your granny.

7 June 1843, Subterranean (New York, NY), pg. 2:
If Hoboken were in any other state, and freed from the injurious effects of sword-fish liquors, dog sandwiches, and pilfering Jerseymen, it would be a Paradise.

28 October 1843, Subterranean (New York, NY), pg. 125:
A Bologna sausage or two with a piece of bread would be of advantage to those whose appetite might lead them to partake of a spurious dog sandwich.

6 November 1847, Logansport (IN) Telegraph, pg. 2, col. 4:
REASONABLE REQUEST -- Love me, love my dog, as the sausage-maker observed to his customer.

Chronicling America
27 October 1859, Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), pg. 1, col. 3:
Sausage Maker's Sign. -- Love me, love my dog.

19 December 1859, London Magnet (UK), pg. 6, col. 3:
A SAUSAGE-MAKER'S MOTTO.—Love me, love my dog.

1860-1870s, Henry De Marsan's New Comic and Sentimental Singer's Journal, pg. 259:
Der Deitcher's Dog

Oh! Where, oh! Where ish mine little dog gone?
Oh! where, oh! Where can he be?
His ear's cut short, and his tail cut long:
Oh! Where, oh! where ish he?

Tra, la la, [etc.]

I loves mine lager, 'tish very goot beer
Oh! where, oh! where can he be?
But mit no money I cannot drink here:
Oh! where, oh! where ish he?

Tra, la la, [etc.]

Und sausage is goot: Baloney, of course,
Oh! where, oh! where can he be?
Dey makes 'em mit dog, und dey makes 'em mit horse:
I guess dey makes 'em mit he.

17 September 1870, Ohio Farmer, pg. 605:
What's the difference between a chilly man and a hot dog? One wears a great coat, and the other pants.

25 September 1872, Every Evening (Wilmington, DE), "A Demented old Idiot," pg. 1, col. 5:
An organist in this city, went to a music store the other day, and, when one of the salesmen appeared, the following conversation ensued.
(...)
Organist (angrily) – I called to get Martini’s Ecole de’Orgue. I see it advertised, and I want it. Now, have you got that that Ecole d’Orgue, or not? If you have, run it out; for I’m in a hurry.
Salesman – You must take me for a fool, don’t you? This is no sausage shop. This is a music store. What do you suppose we know about Martini’s cold dog, or his hot dog, or his luke-warm dog, or any other dog belonging to any other man? You must be crazy. We don’t deal in dogs. Martini never left his dog around here anywhere. I say, John, here’s a demented old idiot in here wanting to buy some kind of an Italian cold dog. Send for a policeman. He’s mad.

1883, Henry De Marsan's New Comic and Sentimental Singer's Journal, pg. 7:
Kaiser, Don't You Want to Buy a Dog?

As I took a lemonade, de oder day,
In a shtore oppon Broadway,
Und anoder fellow dere
Vas trinking a Prandy Smash,
And says: Kaiser, ton't you vant to puy a dog?
He makes cood sausage-meat,
You can sell it in Division Shtreet;
So, come along mit me, and you will see dat dog.

14 September 1884, Evansville (IN) Daily Courier, "A Very Dry Letter," pg. 2, col. 5:
Occasional Correspondent of the Courier.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., Sept. 7, 1884.
(...)
Even the innocent "wienerworst" man will be barred from dispensing hot dog on the street corner.

5 July 1886, Syracuse (NY) Standard, pg. 3, col. 2:
Making pants for a hot dog is a business that few tailors care to engage in. -- Hartford Sunday Journal.

14 November 1886, Nashville (TN) Tennessean, pg. 9, col. 2:
"Hot stuff," "hot pup," "hot dog," sings out the fiend who carries in one hand a tin cooking arrangement, and on the other arm a basket. He is the wiener wurst fiend. It is his cries that greet you as you enter the theater and regreet you as you come out. He is the creature whose rolls make night hideous, and whose wares make dreams that poison sleep. The luxury came originally from Austria. Wiener means little and generally speaking, the purchaser gets a little the wurst of it. (No diagram of this joke.) Wurst means, in English, sausage; so that when one of these peddlers says wiener wurst to you he means do you want a little sausage. The tin vessel which he carries is divided into two compartments. The upper is filled with water, in which are about a thousand, more or less, skin sausages. In the lower apartment is the alcohol stove that keeps the sausages hot. In the basket he keeps his rye bread and horse-radish. The sausage, sandwiched by two slices of bread -- which have been smeared with the horse-radish, make up the wiener wurst, which costs you a nickel. Since Shakespeare asserted that nectar was the food the gods lived on, it has been discovered that wiener wurst is the stuff that fattens dudes. The young men who sell the article are, as a rule, not modest.

11 July 1887, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, "The Wienerwurst: The Man Who Sells the Delicious Morsel," pg. 4:
Then he shuts the can, pries open the lid of his big oval basket and whips out two slices of bread and a square bottle. With his knife he spreads out some horseradish on one of the slices, deposits thereon the wurst and then slaps on top of it the other slices of bread and hands it over, a kind of sandwich, with the ends of the wurst sticking out like amputated fingers and the horseradish oozing out all around under the pressure. It is eaten just like a sandwich, with much spluttering, because it is very hot, but it is a delicious morsel to the man who is filled up with beer or something stronger.
(...)
But one thing ruffles his temper, and that is to speak disparagingly of his wurst. When a purchaser, holding out a nickel, remarks, "Gimme some dog," a shade of sadness passes over his face.
(...)
-- (St. Louis, MO -- ed.) Globe-Democrat.

15 November 1887, Bismarck (ND) Daily Tribune, pg. 4:
The shopgirl or milliner's assistant in Munich will trip into the neighboring beer hall at noon, and take for luncheon a quart mug of beer and a piece of bread and a radish. (...) For dinner she has probably consumed the second or third quart of beer since morning and a Frankfurter sausage sandwich.

9 February 1891, Nashville (TN) Daily American, pg. 5:
Two Men Who Mistreated the "Hot Dog" Vendor.
Pat King and W. T. Brooks were arrested last night by Officers Russell and Howington for disorderly and offensive conduct. They were, it is claimed, worrying and cursing one of the little negro "weiner-wurst" boys and became so boisterous that their arrest became necessary.

Google News Archive
31 December 1892, Paterson (NJ) Daily Press, pg. 5, col. 2:
... and somehow or other a frankfurter and a roll seem to go right to the spot where the void is felt the most. The small boy has got on such familiar terms with this sort of lunch that he now refers to it as "hot dog." "Hey, Mister, give me a hot dog quick," was the startling order that a rosy-cheeked gamin hurled at the man as a Press reporter stood close by last night. The "hot dog" was quickly inserted in a gash in a roll, a dash of mustard also splashed on to the "dog" with a piece of flat whittled stick, and the order was fulfilled.

Google Books
Miami University
The Recensio
College Annual
1893
Volume One

From the Press of
The Oxford News Company
Oxford, Ohio
Pg. 92:
FAVORITE EJACULATIONS.
(...)
"Hot! Dog!"

New Brunswick Free Public Library
20 May 1893, New Brunswick (NJ) Daily Times, pg. 1, col. 7:
How New Jersey Breaks the Monotony of Life.
The Frankfurter man Expelled from Asbury Park.

ASBURY PARK, May 19.—The frankfurter sausage peddler must go. This is the edict that has gone forth from the mayor and council of Asbury Park, and an ordinance has been adopted forbidding these renders within the confines of this resort by the sea. These "hot dog" peddlers, as they are familiarly called, have carried on their business uninterrupted with as much persistence and tact as their fellow merchants on Coney island. Standing in front of the hotels and on the street comers, with their cries of "All hot," they have been a familiar sight to thousands of summer visitors. Now this will be changed.

Chronicling America
26 May 1893, New York (NY) World, "He Has a Hot Sausage Monopoly," pg. 3, col. 2:
ASBURY PARK, May 25. (...) The sausage men were so numerous and such a nuisance last year that when the borough was incorporated this spring it was resolved to ostracize these "hot dog" peddlers, as they are familiarly called.

28 September 1893, Knoxville (TN) Journal, "The (They? -- ed.) Wore Overcoats," pg. 5:
It was so cool last night that the appearance of overcoats was common, and stoves and grates were again brought into comfortable use. Even the weinerwurst men began preparing to get the "hot dogs" ready for sale Saturday night.

Google News Archive
24 July 1894, Paterson (NJ) Daily Press, pg. 1, col. 5:
GREAT CAKE WALK!
Paterson's Colored Society In a
Blaze of Glory.

HOT COMPETITION AND HOT
DOG.
After the dance Professor White, a colored magician, was introduced. He ate glass and blew knots out of handkerchiefs, and then took up a collection to buy a hot dog from Morris, the Darktown caterer, who had come in during the performance and opened business in the northwest corner of the hall. The Professor didn't get much more than would pay for a dog.

18 October 1894, Wrinkle (Univ. of Michigan humor magazine), cover page:
A Suit of Clothes, great wonders wrought.
Two Greeks a "hot dog" freshman sought.
The Clothes they found, their favors bought.
A prize! The foxy rushers thought.
Who's caught?

Google Books
December 1894, Yale Literary Magazine, pg. 155:
The morning summons of the alarm clock is the voice of an angel of wrath proclaiming the dawning of a perennial day of judgment, and the sleepy proprietors of the "Quick and Dirty" and the "Hot Dog on Wheels" grow to know our nightly visits so well that they call us by our first names; and the State street canine digs up all his buried bones and retires into forests about Lake Whitney until the raw material for domestic frankfurters returns to its par value.

2 March 1895, Yale Record, pg. 97:
ST. PETER (to applicant): Who are you?
SPIRIT: I used to run a night-lunch wagon.
ST. PETER: Take the elevator down. You will find the "all hots" below.

2 March 1895, Yale Record, pg. 98:
We refer to the proposed boycotting of the "dog wagon."
(...)
"Let us eschew the dog wagon."

Chronicling America
10 April 1895, Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 6 ad:
The "Yellow Fellows" are the -- to use a street expression, "Hot Dogs" this year. Every where you hear the statement, "Yes, the Stearns Bicycles are the best."

5 October 1895, Yale Record, pg. 5:
ECHOES FROM THE LUNCH WAGON

'Tis dogs' delight to bark and bite,
Thus does the adage run.
But I delight to bite the dog
When placed inside a bun.

19 October 1895, Yale Record, pg. 4:
How they contentedly munched hot dogs during the whole service.

Google Books
The New Harvard Song Book
Compiled by R. T. Whitehouse, '91 and Frederick Bruegger, '92
Boston, MA: Oliver Ditson Company
Copyright 1892, 1896
Pg. 142:
DOGGEREL
(Tune -- "Little Old Red Shawl.")
Oh those little old hot dogs!
Those little old hot dogs!
Those little old hot dogs that Rammy sold!
We would put fourteen away
Just before we hit the hay --
Those little old hot dogs that Rammy sold!

Chronicling America
9 January 1896, Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 6, col. 5:
Picking up a copy of the Ogden Standard, copies of which had but just been placed on the desks containing strong editorials against Frank J. Cannon and Judge Goodwin, he said: "I imagine in the language of Colonel Pepper Norris that this is considered 'hot dog,' and suggest that it be added to the list."

1 October 1896, Cornell Widow, "Overheard at the Cafe," pg. 10:
Cheered by a hot dog and a cup of steaming coffee the Senior became loquacious.

Chronicling America
31 October 1896, Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 8, col. 2:
Gus Holmes has written a letter; a confidential and sincerely yours letter. In the language of the late George Pepper Norris, it is "hot dog."

1896, Williard C. Gore, "Student Slang," Contributions to Rhetorical Theory, vol. 2, pg. 20:
hot dog. Good, superior. "He has made some hot-dog drawings for ..."
hot-Willie. Showy, fashionable.
hot Willie dog. Same as "hot Willie."

Google Books
5 January 1897, Harvard Advocate, pg. 107, col. 1:
At length we saw the red light of the night-lunch cart beaming through the storm ahead of us. Soon we reached it, and plumping ourselves down on the benches, filled ourselves with "hot dogs" and steaming coffee, that cheered and warmed us.

Chronicling America
11 February 1897, Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 2, col. 1:
Mrs. Bradley-Martin is no doubt delighted at her costly amusement for, it was what the lamented George Pepper would have designated as "hot dog."

11 April 1897, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 2:
THE ATMOSPHERE CLARIFIED.
What Trilby Sandwiches, "Hot Dogs" and
"High Balls" Are.
Kansas City, Mo., April 9, 1897. -- To the Star: What is a "Trilby sandwich?" What does a young man mean when he says to his friend, "Let's go get a hot dog?" What is a "high ball?"
ANXIOUS MOTHER
(...)
A "hot dog" is a sliced bun and wienerwurst. The origin of the term goes back to the current facetiousness of university towns.

Google Books
April 1897, Kansas University Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 2, "Dialect Word-List - No. 4" by W. H. Carruth and Paul Wilkinson, pg. 88:
hots: cry of the street vendor of hot tomales, tenderloins, wienerwursts, etc. -- General in cities.

Google News Archive
12 November 1897, Paterson (NJ) Daily Press, pg. 1, col. 5:
Thomas Francis Xavier Morris, the "hot dog" man, a German-speaking African, who was tried yesterday afternoon and convicted of keeping a disorderly house at 18 Warren's alley, had sentence suspended. Morris's previous good character standing him in good stead.

1 April 1899, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 7:
YALE'S "DOG WAGONS."
A College Institution Now - The "Yale Ken-
nel Club" and Its proprietor.

From the New York Sun.
New Haven -- Dog wagons are indigenous to New Haven and are the result of the appetites of Yale men who appreciate the fact that the hot wienerwusts snugly imbedded in rolls and covered in mustard are ready to bark at any time. Everywhere else the dog wagons masquerade as owl or night lunch wagons. Even in New Haven, as popular eating places, they are somewhat recent institutions, and have sprung up in all parts of the town, though most liberally scattered through the college quarter, where it is not unusual to find two on one block and another just around the corner. The dog wagons came in response to a natural call. The Yale men are in a large measure responsible for their existence in their present numbers. Restaurants for light lunches are undeniably expensive and college boys, despite their reputation for having money to burn, are, in the majority of cases, seldom burdened with wealth. Before the dog wagons multiplied the "all-hot" man, crying his wares on the street corners and producing them from a white covered basket, had things pretty much his own way and supplied evening lunches to not only the college element but to all late pedestrians. Of these wayside caterers, "Pop" Jamison, who a short time ago sold out his business on Gregson street and left New Haven, was the most famous. Yale men of former days will recall him and his delicious chicken pies with pleasure. He is a gentleman of color and wide experience. His chicken pies have delighted famous men in all parts of the country and his assistant often disposed of upward of 500 pies a day. Many days the demand exceeded the supply. Besides pies, his deep basket contained soft shell crabs, fried oysters and clams and sandwiches of all varieties. He amassed a fortune in the business. The college men, however, grew tired of eating on street corners.

"Billy the Dog Man" must have foreseen this, for he became the pioneer of his kind and established a modest wagon on Elm street, opposite the gymnasium. At once he bacme popular. Every night his stock was sold out. Each day saw an addition in order to supply the demand. "Billy the Dog Man" became enrolled, upon the list of Yale necessities and Yale characters, and his coffers began to fill proportionately.

Envious eyes, noting Billy's success, emulated his example, and dog wagons sprung up all over town, several of them having invaded the residence streets. The owners of these institutions, far from feeling that any aspersion is cast upon their viands by the suggesting title given by their patrons, have entered heartily into the facetious, if somewhat cynical, spirit which prompted it. Billy has met the college more than half way by inscribing on his wagons the following sign:

YALE KENNEL CLUB
LUNCH WAGON.

The wagon itself is a gorgeously painted affair, the foundation color being true Yale blue. Upon it are panels bordered in red and green and yellow representing all manner of dogs, but principally hounds and dachshunds. Stained glass windows ornament the front and ends, with dogs' heads as the chief decorative subject--"Memorial windows" the Yale men call them.

As if to emphasize further his wares, or it may only be a coincidence, his largest and most patronized wagon has attached a very sleek and obese black dog, with a thick, stumpy tail which wags a friendly greeting to all customers. This dog is always in evidence about the "kennel." At night he stays inside, but the warm sunshine of day tempts him to sit on the steps or patrol the sidewalk.

The interior if the wagons are all scrupulously neat. There is a narrow counter and some stools, so when business is not over rushed all patrons can enjoy the privilege of a seat while lunching. There are many times, however, when the interior is packed and lunchers are standing on the steps and grouping themselves at the foot, shouting their orders over the heads of their companions and receiving their portions in the same way. The menu is quite extensive and comprises in addition to the wieners, known as "hot dogs," all kinds of sandwiches, cold meats, tea, coffee, cocoa and cold milk. Nothing more expensive than a ten cent dish is served.

Even at the extremely modest prices fixed by the owners the lunch wagon business pays. Billy, for example, has amassed a comfortable fortune since he opened his first wagon on Elm street. He has long ago doffed the jacket and apron emblematic of his calling as a matter of habitual dress, and is arrayed in the top of the fashion. His purse has frequently tided some of his customers over hard places. For the student who is for a time on his uppers and reduced to strict economy the dog wagon is an inestimable boon. For strangely enough, the Yalensian in financial straits invariably beings retrenchment in the direction of his stomach. Cigarettes, beer, theater-going all these may survive even the most stringent saving measures, the tailor's bill may be increased, likewise the haberdasher's, but the expensive "eating joint" can be sacrificed. With judicious dining out with affluent friends who still maintain their places in the regular eating clubs, and frequent visits to Billy and his competitors, the expense of living can be kept at a minimum.

The dog wagon many times gains the victory over a restaurant for theater parties, while visitors from out of town are usually initiated into its mysteries by Yale hosts.

Google Books
6 September 1899, Printers' Ink, pg. 16, col. 2:
BILLY, THE DOG MAN.
A correspondent writes: "Billy, the Dog Man," is one of the best advertised men in New Haven, Conn. Billy is the pioneer of the lunch-wagon business in the college city. Billy's sobriquet is the appreciation by Yale men of the fact that there are other kinds of meat used in weinerwursts besides beef. Billy has met the humorous college element more than half way by inscribing on his numerous wagons the following sign:

YALE KENNEL CLUB
LUNCH WAGON.

Billy's wagons are gorgeously painted affairs, the foundation color being Yale blue. Upon it are panels bordered in red and green and yellow, representing all manner of dogs. Stained glass windows ornament the front ends, with dogs' heads asthe chief decorative subject. As if to further advertise his "half-smokes," Billy's largest wagon has attached a sleek and obese black dog. This dog is always in evidence about the "kennel." Billy's dog wagons are the best advertised business places in New Haven, and all by his goood-natured adaptation of alleged Yale humor.
FRANK A. HEYWOOD.

16 February 1900, New Haven Evening Register, pg. 10:
Plantsville has sustained another loss. Today its "dog house" was moved to Unionville, the support given the night lunch wagon there being small, causing "The Little Old Man" to wear a smile today like all successful trust and syndicate men.

12 December 1906, New York Evening Journal:
$750 OFFER FOR A LAP SPURS SIX-DAY RIDERS TO MAD SPRINTS.
(A "TAD" cartoon of the six-day bicycle race at Madison Square Garden. "HOT DOG" appears written in a smoke bubble in the center of the cartoon -- ed.)

13 December 1906, New York Evening Journal:
WHERE THEY SELL FRANKFURTERS UNDER THE RING -- AS TAD SEES IT.
(Dogs and frankfurters are illustrated in this "TAD" cartoon-- ed.)

22 July 1911, Anaconda (Montana) Standard, pg. 13, col. 2:
"I came to Yale from a Kentucky town of about 1,000 inhabitants situated more than 1,000 miles from Yale," says a writer in Munsey's Magazine. (Who? When? -- B.P.)
(...)
"Arriving in New Haven on a mild spring evening, I searched out the humble dog wagon, caterer to impecunious students, and here on ham and a hot dog I made my first supper, the only meal I paid for in money during my entire career at college."

4 November 1928, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, "New York Skylines" by Charles Estcourt, Jr., pg. 2F:
Newspapers are announcing that Tad Dorgan, who strangely helped Harry Stevens to fortune as a caterer, by first calling a frankfurter a hot dog, is going to resume a column about sports that was suspended while Tad rested.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Thursday, July 15, 2004 • Permalink


There are so many versions of the origin of “hot dog”, it is debatable which is the real version. But whoever created this ought to be remembered and perhaps given a prize for coining it.

Posted by Jack Woo  on  04/15  at  09:21 AM

Thanks for very interesting article about the origins of “hot dog” term. Btw, I like hot dogs very much!

Posted by cosmeticdentistryhq  on  09/28  at  08:45 AM

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