Quote Origin: The Next Best Thing To Being Clever Is Being Able To Quote Someone Who Is

Mary Pettibone Poole? A. A. Milne? Dorothy L. Sayers? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: If you cannot think of something clever to say then you can resort to the next best strategy. You can quote someone else who is clever. This point has been expressed with a concise statement. Would you please help me to determine the creator and find a citation?

Reply from Quote Investigator: A matching quip appeared in the 1938 collection of quotations titled “A Glass Eye at a Keyhole” edited by Mary Pettibone Poole. Some of the items in the collection were already in circulation, and some were formulated by Poole. QI conjectures that the following was authored by Poole. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:1

The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote some one who is.

Additional details and citations are available in the article on the Medium platform which is located here.

In conclusion, QI believes Mary Pettibone Poole deserves credit for the remark in her 1938 compilation “A Glass Eye at a Keyhole”. No earlier matches have been uncovered at this time. Subsequent compilations of quotations by other editors have also credited Poole.

Image Notes: Quotation marks from Gimp, the GNU Image Manipulation Program.

[1] 1938, A Glass Eye at a Keyhole by Mary Pettibone Poole, Section: Excess Prophets, Quote Page 51, Published by Dorrance and Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Verified with scans; thanks to Dennis Lien and the University of Minnesota library system)

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