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.

Recent entries:
“Can you buy an entire chess set in a pawn shop?” (5/23)
“I passed my physical exam! But I only got a C in Hepatitis” (5/23)
“I like to play chess with old men in the park…although it’s hard to find 32 of them” (5/23)
“I like to play chess with old men in the park…although it’s hard to find 32 of them” (5/23)
“Some people say I have a bad attitude. I say screw them!” (5/23)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from August 02, 2013
“Aspire to inspire before you expire”

"Aspire to inspire before you expire” is a saying that has been printed on many gift items, such as posters, bumper stickers and T-shirts. Tullah Hanley, a former belly dancer who became a philanthropist during her marriage and after her husband’s death in 1969, said in January 1970 about a donation of paintings to a museum:

“I aspire to inspire before I expire.”

Tullah died on June 3, 1992. The saying—sometimes changed to “aspire to inspire before you expire”—began to be popularly cited in books and articles since the late 1990s.


The Hanley Collection (St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY)
Tullah Hanley
According to Tullah Innes Hanley, her father was a Hungarian building contractor, her mother, an Egyptian, born in a harem and adopted by Hungarian parents.  Her family became poverty-stricken upon the death of her father, leading, ultimately, to her coming to America.
(...)
She was fifteen when she began to dance and an “old” twenty-four when she married Mr. Hanley.  They were married in 1948.
(...)
After the death of T. Edward Hanley she continued the couple’s philanthropy, donating generously to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and many other college libraries.  She donated art and exhibited the pieces she kept all over the country.  She even began a youth center in Mr. Hanley’s home town of Bradford, Pennsylvania, a source of much comment in the small city.

Tullah Innes Hanley died June 3, 1992.

Google News Archive
26 January 1970, Vancouver (British Columbia) Sun, “‘Aspire to Inspire’ - Tullah Gives All for Art,” pg. 11, col. 1:
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—A curvy 46-year-old exotic dancer says she is giving a local museum 211 impressionist paintings she inherited—and will stand on display alongside them.

“I aspire to inspire before I expire,” says Tullah Hanley, widow of wealthy investor Thomas E. Hanley of Bradford, Pa.

Google News Archive
1 August 1971, Ocala (FL) Star-Banner, “The Ladies Were Saying” by The Associated Press, pg. 7C, col. 3:
Some quotable quotes from women during the week.

“I aspire to inspire before I expire.”—Tullah Hanley, millionaire art collector and former belly dancer now living in Bedford, Pa.

Google News Archive
17 November 1975, Sarasota (FL) herald-Tribune, “Belly Dance Enjoys ‘Shock’ Tactics,” pg. 4-B, col. 1:
BRADFORD, Pa. (AP)—Tullah Hanley, the millionaire belly dancer who likes to shock people with her frankness about sex, has written a huge biography.
(...) (Col. 3—ed.)
Tullah, a nonstop talker with a voluptuous body kept firm by strict diet and daily exercise, says she wrote the book “because I aspire to inspire before I expire.”

Google Books
Financial Planning for the Utterly Confused
By Joel J. Lerner
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1998
Pg. 275:
Aspire to inspire before you expire.

Google Books
So There You Are:
The selected prose of Glenn Brown, journalist

By Glenn Brown
Edited by Paul Ruffin
Huntsville, TX: Texas Review Press
1998
Pg. 149:
In bold letters it said: “Aspire to inspire before you expire.”

Google Books
How Did I Get to Be 70 When I’m 35 Inside?:
Spiritual Surprises of Later Life

By Linda Douty
Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Pub.
2011
Pg. 161:
Signs on church marquees are usually more pithy than profound, but I spotted one recently that is worth mentioning: “Aspire to inspire before you expire.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Friday, August 02, 2013 • Permalink