Spelling is the Pitts!

Pittsburgh -- Pittsburg

A Question in Etymology.

An old dispute has been revived in the city of Pittsburg, or Pittsburgh, as the case may be. In old times they used to spell it with an “h,” after the English fashion of putting that letter where it is least needed. The dictionaries incline that way in this case. Worcester, who is called Wooster at the North, has “burgh — a corporate town or borough,” and Webster gives the choice of burg, burgh, burough and burh without the “g.” This ought to be enough to satisfy all parties; but it only widens the breach, and obliging people, who wish to satisfy all parties, have their hands full.

1870

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1902

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1819

Half of the papers have “Pittsburg” in their head-lines; the other half have nailed “Pittsburgh.”

These images are from the same map. For the railway, they used the Pittsburg spelling, but for the city, they used Pittsburgh.

The railroads, to secure traffic, have to paint their cars on one side “Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago,” and on the other “Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago;” on the locomotives they put “P., F. W. and C.,” and allow each man to spell it with an “h” or not, as he pleases. Harper’s Gazetteer drops the “h.”

In the meantime there is a lull in the question whether the first syllable in the name of the city should have one or two “t’s.”

The site used to be called Fort Pitt, in honor of the great English statesman; but people now generally think it is named after the coal pits which abound in the neighborhood.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jun 16, 1874

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More newspaper examples:

An 1867 paper

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1833 Paper - "Pittsburgh"

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Now, just for fun, two that use BOTH spellings!

1854 -- Gold Rush Era - California Paper

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1845 - Norwalk, Ohio Paper

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One Response to “Spelling is the Pitts!”

  1. You Say Korea, They Say Corea « YesterYear Once More Says:

    […] wasn’t unique to articles about Corea – Korea. Newspapers had the same problem with Pittsburgh and […]

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