Quotes defining history…

July 13, 2009 by  
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

When I was fourteen years old (ah, so many years ago) I acquired an interest in quotations. By the time I was twenty-one I had read the entire collection of Bartlett’s Famous Quotations and recorded each of the quotes that had significance for me.  I have since added to my list of favorites.

Coincidentally, when I was twenty-one, I also bought my first collectable newspaper;  The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Many years ago I concluded that often a quote, paired with a specific headline, added profound meaning to the headline.  The right quotation enhanced the moral or social significance of the  headline.  Often, the right quote was able to capture the ‘essence’ of the headline.

Quotes, like newspapers, unite us with the past.  They provide us with the thoughts of those who came before us.   Additionally, within a newspaper, you may find text that contains a statement that later becomes a famous quote.

For instance:  the Boston Gazette of December 26, 1805 contains a report on the Battle of Trafalgar. The article quotes British Admiral Horatio Nelson as saying, “England expects that every man will do his duty.” And we all know of President Franklin Roosevelt’s quote in his inaugural  acceptance speech in 1933,  “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” which can be found on the front page of many newspapers of the time.

Of course, each individual would select different quotes to pair with a headline.  I believe that the quotes a person prefers are a reflection of that person’s personal social background, religious background, education, and political persuasion.

With that said, and with your indulgence, I would like to share with you a very small sample of my pairings.


“It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is true of men as of dogs.” – Eric Hoffer

Headline:  Treaty of Peace – Pennsylvania Packet –  11/08/1783

Quote: “What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free.” – F.S. Hayek

Headline:  Death of Benjamin Franklin – The Gentleman’s Magazine – 06/01/1790

Quote:  “It is sweet to serve one’s country by deeds, and it is not absurd to serve her by words” – Sallust

Headline:  Death of President Washington – The True American – 01/01/1800

Quote:  “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government” – Edward Abbey

Headline:  Queen Victoria Coronation – Main Farmer/Journal of Useful Arts – 08/07/1838

Quote:  “Uneasy is the head that wears a crown” – William Shakespeare

Headline:  This “Flying Machine” Flies – Philadelphia Press – 12/19/1903

Quote:  “I think for months and years.  Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false.  The hundredth time I am right” – Albert Einstein

Headline:  Life Terms in Prison for Leopold and Lobe – Los Angeles Evening Herald – 02/04/1924

Quote:  “Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Headline:  Death Takes Stalin’s Reign – Syracuse Herald-Journal – 06/06/1954

Quote:  “O, it is excellent to have a giant’s strength! But it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.” – William Shakespeare

Headline:  Eichmann Convicted – Los Angeles Mirror – 12/11/1961

Quote:  “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” – Joseph Conrad

Headline:  A Lonely Life Ends on Elvis Presley Boulevard – Memphis Press Scimtar – 08/17/1977

Quote:  “It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise.  This is true of men as of dogs.” – Eric Hoffer

Thank you for attention and interest.

Morris Brill

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...


2 Responses to “Quotes defining history…”

  1. Richard Botteri on July 14th, 2009 12:04 pm

    If you are really interested in quotations, you should try to buy a copy of “Quotidian.” The book contains a quotation for each day of the year. The book was published in 1989. The editor is Goody Cabell, a very talented woman living in Portland, OR. The book is out-of-print but a few copies are available on Amazon.com.

  2. Bunny Reier on September 28th, 2010 4:43 pm

    This is certainly stunning. The sole thoughts I will have to this really is i always like it had been with bullet-point type understanding that there were your movie along with DeNiro reading that script.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!