About

What is the purpose of this website? This blog records the investigatory work of Garson O’Toole who diligently seeks the truth about quotations. Who really said what? This question often cannot be answered with complete finality, but approximate solutions can be iteratively improved over time.

Who uses this website? Articles on the Quote Investigator website have been cited by journalists and writers at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Washington Post, Slate, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, Real Clear Politics, The Jacksonville Times-Union, A Way With Words (Public Radio Program), ABC Television News, ABC (Australia), and more.

People are sharing what they have discovered on the website via multiple social media channels including: Twitter, Reddit, Google+, YCombinator News, Quora, StumbleUpon, FaceBook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Slashdot, and Metafilter.

Will you answer my quotation question? QI greatly enjoys receiving requests from website visitors, and he has been able to help many people.However, QI is unable to research all queries because there are far too many, and a single quotation may require hours of research time. QI maintains more than one thousand open files representing partial investigations many of which are ongoing. New requests arrive every day. Nevertheless, your request might jump to the top of the queue. The contact address to send your request is given further below.

Where do the questions come from? Most questions are written or rewritten by QI. Many questions are based on queries from the general public received via email. In addition, some questions are from face-to-face encounters between QI and inquisitive friends and family members. Also, many questions are constructed from scratch by QI for entertainment purposes.

QI is moving toward demicelebrity status. Here are some examples of items that reference QI research:

Slate: “Did Hemingway Really Write His Famous Six-Word Story?” By David Haglund. (Summary of QI research on “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn”)

TLS – The Times Literary Supplement: “Just glad to see me?” by Fred R. Shapiro. (Includes a positive assessment of the QI website by one of the top quotation experts)

New York Times: “F.Y.I. Answers to Questions About New York” by Michael Pollak. (Mentions QI research on “Quiz Question: Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?”)

Wired magazine: “Baby shoes for sale? You’ve been misquoting Hemingway all this time” by Victoria Turk. (Mentions five quotations examined by QI)

The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Who Really Said That?” by Corey Robin (Article discusses the realm of the WAS (Wrongly Attributed Statement) and praises the QI website.)

Boston Globe: “What is YOLO? Only teenagers know for sure” by Ben Zimmer. (Top lexicographer Ben Zimmer who now writes a wonderful column at the Wall Street Journal discussed QI’s research on “YOLO: You Only Live Once” when he was a columnist at the Boston Globe)

BBC: “Ukraine crisis: Stalin’s joke sums up Obama’s dilemma” (Article includes link to entry titled “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long But It Bends Toward Justice” which discusses a saying employed by Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and Theodore Parker.

BBC: “What makes a classic quip?” (Article includes link to entry titled “This Is Not a Novel To Be Tossed Aside Lightly. It Should Be Thrown with Great Force” about a quote attributed to Dorothy Parker.

Twitter: Jack Dorsey @jack, one of the founders of Twitter, tweeted the following message on June 28, 2013 with a link to a QI entry about the controversial quotation famously employed by Steve Jobs: “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”—NOT Pablo Picasso

Buzzfeed: “13 Pinterest-Famous Celebrity Quotes That Are Totally Fake” by Gabby Noone. (Article includes links to quotations by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Roger Miller)

What is Dr O’Toole’s background? Garson O’Toole has a doctorate from Yale University, and exploring quotations is one of his avocations.

How do I contact Dr. O’Toole? To contact Dr. O’Toole send an email message to “garson o toole”. Delete the spaces in the moniker given and use the gmail domain. Nom de plume Garson O’Toole.