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 November 25, 2010
“Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm”

William Manchester’s book, Portrait of a President: John F. Kennedy in profile (1962), includes a famous line: “‘Washington,’ John Kennedy once said lightly, ‘is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.’” The joke implies that Washington, DC has it all wrong; the South is known for its charm and the North is known for its efficiency. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) is often given credit, but the saying has been cited in print before Kennedy joined the House of Representatives in 1947.

Washington Senator Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989) said in 1945:  “Washington—with its Northern charm and Southern efficiency.” Also in 1945, the father of a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient was ordered out of a Washington dining room for his improper attire. He remarked: “A remarkable city, Washington: it combines Northern charm and Southern efficiency.”


Wikipedia: Warren Magnuson
Warren Grant “Maggie” Magnuson (April 12, 1905 – May 20, 1989) was a United States Senator of the Democratic Party from Washington from 1944 until 1981. Upon leaving the Senate, he was the most senior member of the body. Magnuson also served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the Washington’s 1st congressional district from 1937 to 1944.

2 October 1945, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, “Washington Scene: Ironies of the Hotel Heave-Ho” by George Dixon, pg. 8, col. 6:
Washington, Oct. 1.—Senator Warren G. Magnuson, of the great state of Washington—the vacationist’s paradise, tourist rates on request—came through the other day with the most pithy description of the nation’s capital I have ever heard.

“Ah, Washington!” sighed the senator, rapturously. “Washington—with its Northern charm and Southern efficiency.”

19 October 1945, Casa Grande (AZ) Dispatch, pg. 8, col. 7:
“Oh, its Northern charm and Southern efficiency!”—Senator Magnuson, Wash. State, speaking of the nation’s capitol.

23 November 1945, Santa Rosa (NM) News, “Quotes of the Week,” pg. 4, col. 2:
“Oh, its Northern charm and Southern efficiency!”—Senator Magnuson, Wash. State, on the nation’s capital.

Google Books
It Happened in 1945
By Clark Kinnaird
New York, NY: Duell, Sloan & Pearce
1946
Pg. 348:
The father of a Congressional Medal of Honor winner who was in Washington at the invitation of the President, was ordered out of the dining room of a capital hotel because he wasn’t wearing a coat. A Washington columnist reported having overheard, “A remarkable city, Washington: it combines Northern charm and Southern efficiency.”

Google Books
The Army Wife
By Nancy Shea
New York, NY: Harper & Row
1954
Pg. 337:
A longstanding local witticism has it that Washington is “the city that runs on southern efficiency and northern charm.”

Google Books
Portrait of a President:
John F. Kennedy in profile

By William Manchester
Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co.
1962
Pg. 200:
“Washington,” John Kennedy once said lightly, “is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.”

29 May 1962, Janesville (WI) Daily Gazette, “Capitol Puts on Cultural Airs” by John Crosby, pg. 14, col. 1:
Washington has been called a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm (most recently by President Kennedy, who attributed it to someone else) but this is rapidly becoming both untrue and unfair.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, November 25, 2010 • Permalink