Creator: Elbert Hubbard, founder of New York artisan community called Roycrofters, collector and creator of adages
Context: The May 1913 issue of “The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest” published by Elbert Hubbard contained a set of humorous definitions for “editor”: 1
EDITOR: A person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.
2. A delicate instrument for observing the development and flowering of the deadly mediocre and encouraging its growth
3. A seraphic embryon; a smooth bore; a bit of sandpaper applied to all forms of originality by the publisher-proprietor; an emictory.
A shorter version of the first definition evolved over time. The following appeared in a Meyersdale, Pennsylvania newspaper in 1922 without attribution: 2
Editor—One whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff and then print the chaff.
- 1913 May, The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest, Volume 36, Number 6, (Definition of Editor), Quote Page 192, Elbert Hubbard: The Society of the Philistines, East Aurora, New York. (Google Books Full View) link ↩
- 1922 February 23, Meyersdale Republican, The Gloom Chaser, Quote Page 3, Column 2, Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com) ↩