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Columbia Archives - History's Newsstand Blog : History's Newsstand Blog

First reference to “Ivy League”?

March 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-4-17-2015-Ivy-LeagueSome words including names, titles,  etc. are so noteworthy or common that we forget they had a beginning – a first use. According to Wikipedia, the first public use (in print) of the term “Ivy League” occurred within the Christian Science Monitor, Boston, February 7, 1935. The usage was in reference to Brown University being accepted into the “League”. A quick search on The New York Times database shows that it did not print the title until nearly a half-year later. Is Wikipedia correct? Until we see confirmation to the contrary we’ll assume their assessment to be accurate. If anyone has information to the contrary, please let us know.

First use of the term “Columbia”…

December 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Finding “first” mentions of significant, people, places and terms is always a delight for the rare newspaper collector, and with the internet–and the time required–many fascinating items can be found.

The term “Columbia” as a reference to America, very commonly used through the 19th century in both print & image, was first used in the London publication “Gentleman’s Magazine” in 1738. Because the printing of Parliamentary debates was illegal in England, they appeared under the thinly veiled heading of “Debates in the Senate of Lilliput” or similar heading, with names & places often fictitious or taken from Johnathan Swift’s famous work, which was the literary sensation at that time. The term Columbia was coined by the famed Samuel Johnson, a regular contributor to the “parliamentary” reports found in “The Gentleman’s Magazine“.

In the June issue of 1738, the debates from Parliament note: “…It is observable that their conquests and acquisitions in Columbia (which is the Lilliputian name for the country that answers our America,) have very little contributed to the power of those nations…”.

A significant “first use” of a very popular poetic name for the United States of America.