[PW] Request help with "The Fortnightly" and quotation "If fifty million people say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing"

Donna Halper dlh at donnahalper.com
Sun Dec 13 14:18:32 PST 2020

On 12/13/2020 11:57 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> The quotation in the subject line is usually attributed to Nobel
> Prize-Winning author Anatole France. I've written a QI article about
> this topic listing pertinent citations beginning with a semantic match
> in 1766.

For some reason, a number of newspapers in the late 1930s began 
mentioning this quote, but the ones I have found did not attribute it to 
anyone. Most set up the quote with "a wise man once said..." or "some 
wise man said..." For example, E.V. Durling's column in the Los Angeles 
Times, 22 March 1938. Other late 1930s newspapers that cited the same 
quote explained it was "anonymous," such as on the editorial page of the 
Bluefield (WV) Daily Telegraph, 26 May 1938.  It's not until the late 
1940s that I see newspaper columnists regularly attributing it to 
Anatole France.

Donna L. Halper, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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