A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 13, 2015
“A paper never refuses ink”

"A paper never refuses/refused ink” means that just because something is printed (for example, in a newspaper), doesn’t make it true. A publisher can print anything—“a paper never refuses ink.”

“In spite of the proverbial truisms, that paper never refuses ink” was cited in 1850. “We are aware, to use a homely German saying, that ‘paper never refuses ink’” was cited in 1856. The expression is currently popular in Ireland and the United Kingdom.


3 October 1850, New-York (NY) Commercial Advertiser, pg. 1, col. 7:
From Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal.
Letters.

(...)
In spite of the proverbial truisms, that paper never refuses ink, and falsehood an be written as well as spoken, the correspondence of every man contains a neutral portrait of the writer’s mind, visible through a thousand disguises, and bearing the same relation to the inward man that a correct picture bears to the living face; without change or motion, indeed, but telling the beholder of both, and indicating what direction they are likely to take.

20 September 1856, The Daily Union (Washington, DC), “The Prospect in Illinois and Indiana,” pg. 3, col. 1:
We are aware, to use a homely German saying, that “paper never refuses ink;” and that the predictions and calculations so freely put forth during a presidential canvass have frequently their origin in wishes, and not expectations; and it is, therefore, with some hesitation that we give expression to a positive belief in such terms.

16 April 1901, The Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), pg. 1, col. 3 ad:
FACTS ABOUT CIRCULATION.
It is one thing to CLAIM CIRCULATION it is another thing to HAVE IT.

White paper never refuses ink. All a newspaper publisher that wishes to manufacture a circulation has to do is to set up the number he claims in type and the printing press does the rest.

26 August 1916, The Freeman (Indianapolis, IN), pg. 6, col. 3:
Yes, we know that paper never refuses ink. But we are not doing these things through the paper.

Chronicling America
9 March 1921, Manchester (IA) Democrat, pg. 8, col. 2:
“Paper Never Refused Ink”
Frank Kelley in The Nation’s Business writes:

Not long ago, at the most famous hotel in the United States, the cashier, an Irishman, hesitated about cashing a check fro a newcomer. The guest indignantly showed his handsomely engraved business card which indicated that he was a president of a big-sounding corporation—The North and South American Development Company, or some such name. Still the Irish cashier hesitated. Smilingly he tapped the engraved card with his index finger and sagely remarked:

“Paper never refused ink.”

There’s a deal of philosophy in that. The remakr should be remembered by all business men who are too easily impressed by pretentious letterhead, or by a beautifully printed stock certificate. You can say anything you wish to on paper and the paper can’t help itself.

11 November 1964, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, “Paper Never Refuses Ink, Nor A Gypsy A Dollar” by William J. O’Donnell, pg. 31, col. 1:
In any case, the conclusions cannot be entirely sound because they are based on the written word. As the oldtimers say, “paper never refuses ink.”

The Independent (Ireland)
Make your stamp with 1/2 Price Ink
PUBLISHED 05/10/2006 | 00:11
In the newspaper business, they say a paper never refused ink. However, in other businesses, and in homes across the country, people are starting to refuse to pay exorbitant prices for their ink cartridges and photocopier toners.

Twitter
Kevin Kennedy
‏@DublinKev
@arseblog Great piece today Blogs, totally agree.  Agents really are a scourge on the game but, sadly, a paper never refuses ink.
7:02 AM - 8 Jun 2010

Twitter
Al
‏@TheTeaInEMT
@MattTheMedic As they say “a paper never refuses ink” if it gets the media more readers/viewers theyll do it. Theyre companys out for profit
8:42 AM - 10 Aug 2010

Google Books
Godfool
By Padraig Standun
Central Milton Keynes: AuthorHouse UK Ltd.
2011
Pg. 15:
“A paper never refused ink and that rag will be lighting the fire this evening.”

Twitter
Al
‏@TheTeaInEMT
@GiveItDiesel well as the old saying goes “a paper never refused ink” what’s in the media and the truth are often 2 different things
6:55 AM - 24 Feb 2011

The Independent (Ireland)
Edel Kennedy: The checks and balances behind every good story
PUBLISHED 11/04/2012 | 07:29
ONE PHRASE that every journalist hates is, “a paper never refuses ink”. Because no matter how much you try to convince people that newspapers—and, indeed, television stations—do everything they can to avoid mistakes and false allegations, few realise the lengths journalists must go to to verify a story.

Twitter
Eddie Dempsey
‏@EddieDempsey
Irish wisdom 101. Just told my Dad about the Daily Mail front page today: “Ah, sure a paper never refused ink”
2:48 PM - 3 Apr 2013

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Wednesday, May 13, 2015 • Permalink