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Author Topic: "It takes two to make an accident" - looking for historical advertising slogans  (Read 1342 times)
alpha_bet
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« on: November 24, 2015, 5:39:24 pm »

"It takes two to make an accident," Jordan Baker says to Nick Carraway, after almost hitting a pedestrian while driving, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

When I read this novel in high school, the phrase sounded like a common truism.
Re-reading tonight, I realized - what nonsense! - it obviously only takes one to make an accident.
I've asked around, and looked on the internet, but can't see that this phrase shows up anywhere outside of relation to The Great Gatsby.
I have a sneaking suspicion it's a 1920s advertising slogan.

If you've ever heard it in common speech, I'd be thrilled to hear from you.

Or if you have a great idea for searching for early 20th-century advertising slogans, please, lay it on me?
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mystictechgal
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 7:59:11 pm »

I can't help, but I wanted to thank you for asking the question. I was reminded of a friend from years ago who, when I last saw him, was working on his PhD in history, specializing in early advertisement. It was fun to look him up and see where he landed and what he's been up to.
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citrine
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2015, 9:34:35 pm »

The Ad Access digital collection at Duke University is a great source.
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science_expat
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2015, 9:51:30 pm »

"It takes two to make an accident," Jordan Baker says to Nick Carraway, after almost hitting a pedestrian while driving, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

When I read this novel in high school, the phrase sounded like a common truism.
Re-reading tonight, I realized - what nonsense! - it obviously only takes one to make an accident.


Unless the 'accident' is a baby - then it takes 2.
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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2015, 2:33:05 am »

Do a search for "vintage advertising blogs."
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zuzu_
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2015, 11:06:27 am »

Use your library's newspaper database, such as ProQuest historical newspaperse.They have scanned in millions of pages of newspapers into searchable pdf files. I just play around for fun, and text from ads absolutely comes up in the search.

(I was recently playing around searching family names on this database, and found a sensational turn-of-the-century new story about a house fire in Detriot that likely involved one of my ancestors. They, literally, rolled out the beer keg to save it from the flames. The article kept referring to how they were behaving how Poles are wont to do: drinking, fighting, playing with matches, etc.)
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kunsthistorikerin
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2015, 11:13:21 am »

(I was recently playing around searching family names on this database, and found a sensational turn-of-the-century new story about a house fire in Detriot that likely involved one of my ancestors. They, literally, rolled out the beer keg to save it from the flames. The article kept referring to how they were behaving how Poles are wont to do: drinking, fighting, playing with matches, etc.)

OK, that's fascinating.  It especially resonates against today's anti-immigration rhetoric...

OP, I always read that line as being part of Jordan's greater carelessness and inability to take responsibility for things.  If it was from an advertisement, what sort of thing would be advertised with that slogan?  Just curious, I have nothing at stake other than general interest in the topic.
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bunnicula
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2015, 11:22:28 am »

Use your library's newspaper database, such as ProQuest historical newspaperse.They have scanned in millions of pages of newspapers into searchable pdf files. I just play around for fun, and text from ads absolutely comes up in the search.


Also Library of Congress's "Chronicling America" which has a lot of smaller-town newspapers: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
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alpha_bet
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2015, 4:58:12 pm »

Wow, thanks, everyone - those links all look incredibly helpful!

Science_expat - ha, yes, that adds another level of sexual tension to the conversation (Nick and Jordan's)

Kunsthistorikerin - guess I was thinking along the lines of automobile company-backed public service ads like the ones mentioned here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AFn7MiJz_s
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engl6601
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havetochooseausername?


« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 3:54:35 am »

Wow, thanks, everyone - those links all look incredibly helpful!

Science_expat - ha, yes, that adds another level of sexual tension to the conversation (Nick and Jordan's)

Kunsthistorikerin - guess I was thinking along the lines of automobile company-backed public service ads like the ones mentioned here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AFn7MiJz_s


Interesting youtube that gives the etymology of the term "jaywalking" but without any attribution.
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alpha_bet
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2016, 7:39:58 pm »

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=jaywalking
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