Tact Is the Ability To Describe Others As They See Themselves

Mary Pettibone Poole? Abraham Lincoln? Aldous Huxley? Eleanor Chaffee? Apocryphal? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The ability to perceive others as they see themselves is an enormously helpful guide for smooth and productive interactions. Here is a pertinent adage:

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.

This saying has been attributed to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, quotation compiler Mary Pettibone Poole, and others. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Abraham Lincoln employed this saying. Mary Pettibone Poole did record this saying in 1938, but it was already circulating.

The first match located by QI appeared in March 1925 in the “Washburn Review” of Topeka, Kansas which acknowledged another periodical: 1

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves, says the Tulsa University Collegian.

“The Collegian” was (and remains) the newspaper of the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. No attribution was provided. Thus, based on current information the creator was anonymous.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Tact Is the Ability To Describe Others As They See Themselves

Notes:

  1. 1925 March 25, Washburn Review, Inter-Collegiate, Quote Page 3, Column 1, Topeka, Kansas. (Newspapers_com)