So today was a weird day. I guess they’re all kind of weird? Anyways…
Why is it weird?
Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Lincoln used this expression. Some quotation references attributed the remark to Adlai Stevenson II who was the Governor of Illinois and a Democratic Presidential nominee. Indeed, Stevenson did deploy a version of this adage in speeches as early as 1952.
But the earliest appearance of this notion located by QI was in an advertisement in 1947 for a book about aging by Edward J. Stieglitz, M.D. The image at the top of this article shows the ad for “The Second Forty Years” which ran in the Chicago Tribune newspaper [ESCT]:
The important thing to you is not how many years in your life, but how much life in your years!
The rhetorical technique of reversing word order in successive clauses is called chiasmus or antimetabole. In this case, “years in your life” is transformed into “life in your years”, and the contrast between the two subphrases is highlighted.
So the GOP twitter account misattributed a quote to Lincoln.
Which is regrettable.
Except the fun didn’t stop there.
The Quotes Game is Strong
So here’s a lovely print of the United State’s current President… the cheeto Donald Trump. It looks like your standard 8 x 10 digital print.
Except it isn’t.
There’s a typo in the quote written on the print.
It’s supposed to be “too great” not “to great“.
The Library of Congress is selling a print with a typo and a description that says the picture “captures the essence of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency of the United States.“
Now that is truly regrettable.
And frankly you’ve got to wonder if anybody spotted the typo and let it be printed anyway… did the librarians troll trump or did he troll himself?
The Library of Congress Shop supports the Library’s mission through the development and sales of products based on the Library’s collections, exhibitions and architecture. The Shop also supports book signings and events sponsored by the Library’s curatorial divisions.
The Library Shop features custom and book-related gifts and souvenirs. Many items are exclusive reproductions and adaptations from our rich collections. In developing products, the Shop staff works closely with our curatorial staff to refine concepts for accuracy. Items are created in support of exhibits and representative of our vast collections.
Our online store offers an edited assortment of the gifts found in our onsite Shop. The onsite Shop is located in Washington, D.C. on the ground floor of the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson building, near the carriage entrance.