Speaker: George Dixon? Ann Richards? Vito Marcantonio? Oliver Herford?
Target: Harold Ickes? George H. W. Bush? Newbold Morris? Jones?
Dear Quote Investigator: A person who is born into a wealthy and successful family is “born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth” according to a longstanding idiom. There is a funny variant that applies to a gaffe-prone person:
Born with a silver foot in his or her mouth.
Would you please explore who crafted this barb, and who was targeted?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI occurred in the syndicated column of George Dixon in November 1944. Dixon aimed his criticism at Harold Ickes, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, who helped to implement President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ policies. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Suppose Ickes was gone? What would I do on dull days? I’d have to scurry around and do some work, that’s what I’d have to do.
But, the way things transpired, I will always have him on tap when I need him. And he never fails. If ever a man was born with a silver foot in his mouth, it was old Harold.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1944 November 10, Evening Herald (Republican and Herald), Washington Scene by George Dixon, Quote Page 2, Column 4, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com) ↩