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:
“Going from vegetarian to vegan just left me irate, on reflection” (12/13)
“Fast food is an oxymoron” (12/13)
“Distilled water is just cooked water” (12/12)
Subpoena Cannon (12/12)
“I went to Legoland last week. People were lined up for blocks” (12/11)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from January 28, 2016
Michigan: Michigander (nickname)

"Michigander” is one of several names—such as “Michiganian”—for a resident of Michigan. The name is a jocular combination of “Michigan” and “gander,” and has been cited in print since at least 1838. Many 1840s citations were directed against military officer and politician Lewis Cass (1782-1866).

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) used the term “Michigander” on July 27, 1848, and is often incorrectly given credit for coining it.

[This entry was assisted by research from Fred Shapiro and Quote Investigator Garson O’Toole.]


Wikipedia: Michigander
Michigander and Michiganian are demonyms for residents of the U.S. state of Michigan. Less common alternatives include Michiganer, Michiganite, Michiganese, and Michigine. There is no “official” term
(...)
Michigander is considered pejorative by some due to the circumstances under which the term was coined, but others perceive no such negative connotation. Michigander is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, coining it when he was a Whig representative in Congress. On July 27, 1848, Lincoln made a speech against Lewis Cass, who had been a long-time governor of the Michigan Territory. Cass was then running for president on a “popular sovereignty” platform that would have let states that were conquered in the Mexican-American War decide whether to legalize slavery. Lincoln accused the Democrats of campaigning on the former President Andrew Jackson’s coattails by exaggerating their military accomplishments.

But in my hurry I was very near closing on the subject of military tales before I was done with it. There is one entire article of the sort I have not discussed yet; I mean the military tale you Democrats are now engaged in dovetailing onto the great Michigander [i.e. Lewis Cass].

Lincoln thus combined Michigan with gander to form a nickname that made Cass sound foolish like a goose.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Michigander, n.
Etymology:  Apparently formed within English, by blending. Etymons: proper name Michigan , gander n., -er suffix1.
Apparently originally a humorous blend of the name of Michigan (see Michigan n.) and gander n.: see note below. In later uses probably regarded as < the name of Michigan (see Michigan n.) + -er suffix1. Compare earlier Michiganian n.
Apparently originally a nickname given to General Lewis Cass (1782–1866), governor of Michigan Territory (1813–31), who was regarded by his political opponents as resembling a goose; the term was reputedly coined by Abraham Lincoln (compare quot. 1848). In spite of its humorous origin it has now superseded Michiganian (Michiganian n.) as the usual term for an inhabitant of Michigan.

A native or inhabitant of the state of Michigan. Cf. Michiganian n.
Quot. 1842 is referring to possible names of newspapers.
1838 Hampshire (Northampton, Mass.) Gaz. 14 Nov. 1, I came..the last thirty miles to Detroit by rail road. This is part of one which the Michiganders are making across St. Joseph’s.
1842 Bellows Falls (Vermont) Gaz. 25 June 3/4 ‘The Vermonter’ does well enough,..but come to the New Hampshirer, or Massachusettser, or Connecticutter, or Michigander—‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’.
1848 A. Lincoln Coll. Wks. (1953) I. 509, I mean the military tail you Democrats are now engaged in dove~tailing on to the great Michigander [sc. General Cass].

14 November 1838, Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA), pg. 1, col. 6:
From the Correspondent of the Bangor White.
MICHIGAN.
SEPT. 16, 1838.
(...)
I came, as I told you, the last thirty miles to Detroit by rail road. This is part of one which the Michiganders are making across St. Joseph’s.

25 June 1842, Bellows Falls (VT) Gazette, pg. 3, col. 4:
“The Vermonter” does well enough, and so would the Rhode-Islander, and Marylander and New-Yorker--but come to the New-Hampshirer, or Massachusettser, or Connecticutter, or Michigander—“a rose by anoy other name would smell as sweet.” - The Locomotive.

4 July 1848, Hudson River Chronicle (Ossining, NY), “The Presidency,” pg. 2, col. 2:
... each number of the CHRONICLE shall hurl “a little more grape” at the Michi-Gander, and whatever aid we can give to the effort to break up and rout the legions of locofocoism, shall be freely and cheerfully rendered.

13 July 1848, Newark (NJ) Daily Advertiser, pg. 2, col. 5:
Some forlorn Cassite then called for three cheers for the great Michigander.

19 July 1848, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, pg. 2, col. 4:
The “great Michi-gander,” it will be seen, has already fallen to third place in the list.

25 July 1848, Sandusky (OH) Register, “The Reserve Battery,” pg. 2, col. 2:
The battery under the charge of Old Zack, who appears mounted on “old Whitey,” is pouring very uncomfortable “fire into the rear” of the “great Michi-gander.” who is assuring his tall friend, that the “noise and confusion will prevent his being heard on the important topics” to which his attention has been called.

Chronicling America
28 July 1848, Lancaster (OH) Gazette, pg. 1, col. 2:
And all speak of the distinguished Michigander (Lewis Cass—ed.), as John Van Buren styles him, in the same manner.

OCLC WorldCat record
How a Michigander and a South Carolinian Fought a Duel.
Publisher: VINCENNES, INDIANA
Edition/Format: Article Article
Publication: VINCENNES GAZETTE, (October 19, 1861)
Database: The Civil War: 1855-1869

Google Books
19 January 1887, Puck, “Nomenclature,” pg. 347, col. 1:
THIS country is full of towns and villages whose names are so peculiar that jokes are poked at the people who live in them. We all know that the man who makes his home in Michigan is called a Michigander, and, we presume, his wife is known as a Michigoose, and his children as Michigoslings.

OCLC WorldCat record
Following the footprints of the republic: the story of an automobile tour of two Michiganders in the Old Dominion, and a little history.
Author: Charles H Reed
Publisher: [Clio, Mich.], [publisher not identified], [1928]
Edition/Format: Print book : Biography : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Words and Phrases in American Politics: Michigander
Author: Hans Sperber
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: American Speech, v29 n1 (19540201): 21-27
Database: JSTOR Arts & Sciences III Collection

OCLC WorldCat record
Some early Michiganders
Publisher: [Minneapolis?] : M. White, ©1972.
Edition/Format: Book Microform : Microfilm : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Better cancer care for Michiganders : a study of the American Cancer Society, Michigan Division
Author: James T Bennett
Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : Heartland Institute, 1992]
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Mystic Michiganders
Author: Mark Jager
Publisher: Cadillac, Mich. : Zosma Publications, 1997.
Edition/Format: Print book : English : 1st ed

OCLC WorldCat record
AGING MICHIGANDERS: DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES AND CUMULATIVE INEQUALITY
Author: Colleen Rood-Wilson
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Michigan Sociological Review, v24 (20101001): 74-96
Database: JSTOR Arts & Sciences X Collection

OCLC WorldCat record
Yoopers, Trolls, and Detroiters: Perceptions of Michiganders’ Talk
Edition/Format: Downloadable article Downloadable article : English
Publication: UP Englishes, (2012-03-28T00:52:00.000Z)
Database: ACI Scholarly Blog Index

Twitter
Governor Rick SnyderVerified account
‏@onetoughnerd
#tbt to 1848, when President Lincoln coined the term ‘Michigander.’ Happy birthday, Pres. Lincoln >> http://bit.ly/1E43CU0 via @fritzklug
9:00 AM - 12 Feb 2015

MLive
Actually, ‘Michigander’ was used before Abraham Lincoln’s speech
By Fritz Klug |
on February 15, 2015 at 8:08 AM, updated April 14, 2015 at 2:17 PM
LANSING, MI—On Abraham Lincoln’s birthday this week, we published a story about how the 16th president coined the term ‘Michigander.’

It was nothing new: the bit of linguistic history had been reported several times over the years by news publications, universities and in books.

But soon after publishing the story, I received an email from Barry Popik that Lincoln did not originate the term. New scholarship challenges previous notions of the etymology of the term Michigander.

Popik, an American etymologist, pointed to examples where Michigander had been used before Lincoln’s 1848 speech attacking Lewis Cass, who was running for president. In fact, ‘Michigander’—which came from a combination of Michigan and gander, a male goose—was already a popular term at the time Lincoln used it to attack Cass.

So, why has Lincoln been sourced on the word?

I called Ben Zimmer, the executive editor of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus as well the language columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He had written about Lincoln and Michigander previously.

For a long time, it was sourced that Lincoln was the first to use term. But new evidence, as presented by Popik, shows that the term was used beforehand, as well as people using it to describe Lewis Cass.

Posted by Barry Popik
Other ExpressionsOther States • Thursday, January 28, 2016 • Permalink