Vince Lombardi? note Twain? Arthur Brisbane? Vidal Sassoon? Stubby Currence? Anonymous?

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Dear Quote Investigator: over there is one astute saying around gaining accomplishments through initiative that deftly describes the alphabet order that a dictionary. Below are 2 versions:

1) Success comes prior to work only in the dictionary.2) The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.

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This expression has actually been attributed to football coach Vince Lombardi, humorist mark Twain, newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane, hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, and also others. Would you please explore its origin?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive proof that mark Twain make this statement. That is not listed on Barbara Schmidt’s TwainQuotes.com website, vital reference device for check expressions ascribed to the luminary. Also, it does not show up in the large compilation “Mark twain at your Fingertips”.

The earliest solid match because that this saying situated by QI was published in 1935 by a newspaper columnist called Stubby Currence. The details are given more below.

QI conjectures that the expression arised from a precursor declare that remained in circulation by the 1920s. The adhering to was printed in a brand-new Castle, Pennsylvania newspaper in 1925, and the same statement with the words “for it” deleted was printed in a Humboldt, Iowa newspaper in 1926: 1

One method to find success without functioning for that is come look it increase in the dictionary.

Three crucial vocabulary items were shared with the speak under investigation: “success”, “working”, and “dictionary”. However the meaning here was rather different. The reader could find the word “success” merely by looking it up in a dictionary, however this action was distinctive from actually obtaining worldly success. The wordplay and also joke structure right here were distinguishable, yet there were multiple points of similarity with the expression being traced.

In 1932 “The News-Herald” newspaper of Franklin, Pennsylvania printed one more version the the precursor quip. This circumstances semantically suitable the 1925 citation, yet syntactically it to be closer come the next citation in 1935: 2

In a dictionary is the only location one can find success without functioning for it.

In 1935 an expression solidly matching the one offered by the questioner was released in the “Bluefield daily Telegraph” that Bluefield, West Virginia. The words showed up in a column dubbed “The push Box” through Stubby Currence who covered sports for the paper. QI walk not understand whether Currence to be the crafter the the jape or just the transmitter: 3

BUFF SAYS: “The dictionary is the only location where you involved SUCCESS before you get to WORK.”

Here are extr selected citations in chronological order.

In 1941 “The Pampa News” of Pampa, Texas published a shaft titled “Just in between Us Girls” include an unattributed circumstances of the saying that supplied dialectical spelling: 4

Dictionary to be de only ar where you come to success befor’ you git to work.

In 1953 “The Echo” newspaper of Richardson, Texas released an unattributed instance along with a miscellaneous set of unrelated item under the location “Moments”: 5

Only in the dictionary will you find success coming before work.

In 1954 the speak was integrated in a classified advertising in a Syracuse, brand-new York paper: 6

“THE thesaurus IS THE ONLY place where success comes prior to work.”SEE united state FOR THE best JOBSNational Vocational Ser.

In 1957 the energetic quotation collector and widely-syndicated columnist Bennett Cerf ascribed the saying to Arthur Brisbane who was a well known newspaper editor based in new York who died in 1936. QI has not found any type of earlier assistance for this exciting attribution; hence, its status stays uncertain: 7

Arthur Brisbane favored to allude out the the dictionary is the only ar where success comes before work.

In 1980 “The Penguin thesaurus of modern-day Quotations” contained an entry because that the saying with a link to hairdresser and businessman Vidal Sassoon who credited an unnamed teacher: 8

The only location where success comes prior to work is in a dictionary.

In 1994 the adage was ascribed come Vince Lombardi in a sports pillar of “The Seattle Times” in Washington. Lombardi died in 1970: 9

QUOTE ‘The thesaurus is the only location where success comes prior to work. Tough work is the price we need to all pay because that success.’ Vince Lombardi

In conclusion, QI would certainly tentatively credit Stubby Currence based upon the 1935 citation. The attributions come Arthur Brisbane and also Vince Lombardi were just weakly sustained by really late citations. The citation because that Vidal Sassoon was substantive, however the speak was already in circulation. This entry represents a picture of what QI has found and additional data later may change the ascription.

See more: How Much Is A 1935 Silver Dollar Worth, Value Of 1935

Image Notes: Open publication from PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay. Excerpts from the 1817 edition of “A dictionary of the English Language: Compiled for the usage of typical Schools in the united States” by noah Webster published by George Goodwin.

(Great thanks to David Barnhart, Ben Zimmer, and wikicitas who inquiries led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Special many thanks to Barry Popik who additionally fruitfully check this saying, and to “The thesaurus of contemporary Proverbs” which has actually a an important entry top top this topic.)