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
“See The Dog Jump In A Circle. Leave Her Home To Entertain Every Visitor Here” (Cabinet mnemonic)

“St. Wapniacl” was the old mnemonic (since at least 1917) to remember the offices of the President of the United States’ Cabinet. It was arranged in order of creation and importance: State, Treasury, War, Attorney-General, Postmaster-General, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor.

The New York (NY) Times, on March 30, 1980, stated that the new Department of Education and other Cabinet changes made a new mnemonic necessary. The Times suggested: “See The Dog Jump In A Circle. Leave Her Home To Entertain Editors.” This stood for: State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and Education.

New Cabinet offices since 1980 have been Veterans Affairs (1988) and Homeland Security (2003). The Times’ mnemonic has been changed slightly to: “See the dog jump in a circle; leave her home to entertain every visitor here.”


Wikipedia: St. Wapniacl
St. Wapniacl is a Mnemonic which was used for decades to help remember the offices of the President of the United States’ Cabinet, in their order of creation and importance.

The Mnemonic
Those cabinet offices were: State, Treasury, War, Attorney-General, Postmaster-General, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor.

Obsolescence
This mnemonic has been obsolete since 1947 when the Departments of War and the Navy were combined into the Department of Defense by the National Security Act of 1947.

The usefulness of this mnemonic has been further eroded by the following changes to the US cabinet since 1947:

In 1953 the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was created.
In 1965 the Department of Housing and Urban Development was formed.
In 1966 the US Department of Transportation was created.
In 1971 this old mnemonic was further undercut when the United States Postmaster General ceased being a cabinet level position.
In 1977 the Department of Energy was formed.
In 1979 the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was reorganized into the United States Department of Education and United States Department of Health and Human Services.
In 1988 the United States Department of Veterans Affairs was created.
In 2003 United States Department of Homeland Security

Modern Usage
Although obsolete for nearly sixty years, St. Wapniacl can still be found to be referenced on occasion. For instance on this webpage it can be found in a hypothetical question: “Is it true that St. Wapniacl is the patron saint of gov doc librarians and for what reason?”

Suggestions for replacement
A 1988 editorial in the New York Times first suggested a new mnemonic which has later been revised to become: See The Dog Jump In A Circle; Leave Her House To Entertain Educated Veterans’ Homes.

30 March 1980, New York (NY) Times, “The Cabinet,” pg. E20:
See The Dog Jump In A Circle. Leave her Home To Entertain Editors.

April 1 is the first official day of business for the new United States Department of Education—and we propose therefore that it be retirement day for St. Wapniacl, as amended.
(...)
A new device is needed for remembering all 13 departments—State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education. Ideally, it should not only indicate the departments in order, but distinguish among those with identical initials. Our suggestion is two sentences. That’s a big jump from two words, but so is five new Cabinet departments in 27 years.

St. Wapniacl, R.I.P.

Long live: See The Dog Jump In A Circle. Leave Her Home To Entertain Editors.

Google Books
Timid Virgins Make Dull Company and Other Puzzles, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes
By Dr. Crypton
New York, NY: Viking
1984
Pg. 90:
See the dog jump in a circle. Leave her home to entertain editors.

New York (NY) Times
How to Remember the Cabinet
Published: October 20, 1988
When Congress voted Tuesday to create a needless new Department of Veterans Affairs it also created three problems.
(...)
The third problem, memory, confronts students. Once, they could remember the cabinet departments, in order of creation, with a mnemonic: St. Wapniacl (for State, Treasury, War, Attorney General, Post Office etc.) Now a more complex device is needed, which also distinguishes between departments whose names start with the same letter.

The two-sentence mnemonic previously proffered on this page can be readily revised to account for Veterans Affairs:

See the dog jump in a circle. Leave her home to entertain educated veterans.

The words stand for State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health etc., Housing etc., Transportation, Energy, Education and, now, Veterans.

New York (NY) Times
A Cabinet Mnemonic for Wall Streeters
Published: March 28, 1989
To the Editor:
‘’Cabinet Fever’’ (Topics of The Times, March 17) suggests a mnemonic device consisting of two seven-word sentences whose first letters list the chronological order of the creation of the United States cabinet departments ("See the dog jump in a circle. Leave her home to entertain educated veterans").

Perhaps a more timely candidate to remember these 14 cabinet positions (State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, and Veterans Affairs) in protocol order would be:

Suddenly, the Dow Jones industrial average collapsed, leaving hard-headed traders evoking evil verbs.
JOSEPH R. DONOVAN Merion Station, Pa., March 17, 1989

New York (NY) Times
Old St. Wapniacl
Published: December 28, 1992
(...)
A refined mnemonic is available, one that has the added virtue of giving the departments in the correct order of their creation:

See The Dog Jump In A Circle. Leave Her Home To Entertain Educated Vets.

That is, State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education and Veterans Affairs.

New York (NY) Times
THE WAY WE LIVE NOW: 7-17-05: ON LANGUAGE; Mnemonics
By Jack Rosenthal
Published: July 17, 2005
(...)
This column was prompted by the mnemonic given here last summer for remembering the cabinet departments in order of creation. ("See the dog jump in a circle. Leave her house to entertain educated veterans’ homes.") That prompted Henry E. Nass, a New York reader, to offer a wealth of information and several of his own clever mnemonics. ‘’Memorization,’’ he says, ‘’was and is a demonstration of culture or intelligence or sophistication.’’

Google Books
An Incomplete Education:
3,684 Things You Should Have Learned But Probably Didn’t

By Judy Jones and William Wilson
New York, NY: Ballantine Books
2006
Pg. 664:
The names of the departments in the president’s Cabinet: See the dog jump in a circle; leave her home to entertain editors vivaciously (State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs).

Google Books
Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge:
The Book of Mnemonic Devices

By Rod L. Evans
New York, NY: Perigee
2007
Pg. ?:
Cabinet Secretaries (in Order of Creation and Succession; Current)
See the dog jump in a circle; leave her home to entertain every visitor here.
state
treasury
defense
justice
interior
agriculture
commerce
labor
health and human services
housing and urban development
transportation
energy
education
veteran’s affairs
homeland security

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, November 25, 2010 • Permalink