Mohandas Gandhi? Dorothy Uris? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Archaeologists and historians have expended enormous efforts in tracing the origins of civilization. A trenchant humorist has said that scholars should not be trying to ascertain where civilization began; instead, they should be trying to guess when it will begin. Did Mahatma Gandhi say something like this? Would you please explore this quip?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in “The Baltimore Sun” of Maryland in 1925. A column titled “Sunbeams” contained five miscellaneous statements, and this was the first. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
The question is not where civilization began, but when will it.
The article had no byline, so the ascription of the statements was anonymous. Many years later a thematically related saying was attributed to Mahatma Gandhi without solid evidence.
Below are additional selected citations and commentary.
- 1925 December 14, The Baltimore Sun, Sunbeams, Quote Page 8, Column 3, Baltimore, Maryland. (Newspapers_com) ↩