Origin of the Bake Sale (and Maddow's "Bakesales for Bombers"/"Bakesales or Billionaires")

Here’s the origin of the “bake sale” (an American tradition, now endangered thanks to Michelle Obama), plus Rachel Maddow’s recent “bake sale” obsession.

Rachel Maddow, in February 2011, talked about “bakesales or billionaires.” If the SEIU and the AFL-CIO can’t buy political elections anymore, Maddow said, the Democrats will have to resort to bake sales while the Republicans have all the billionaires.

Maddow’s argument never made any sense. The Democrats have more millionaires and billionaires than Republicans do–from Warren Buffett to everyone else on the TARP bailout dole. Barack Obama raised so much money in 2008 that he didn’t participate in campaign financing. “Bake sales” my foot!

On Friday, Maddow had a segment called “Bakesales for Bombers.” It’s based on a popular bumper sticker saying that Maddow likes: “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

The bumper sticker never made much sense. WWII–you want that financed with bake sales? That would be a “great day” for our country?

I’ve traced the saying to at least 1973, when it was used by the executive secretary of the National Education Association. The teachers’ lobby. What a surprise!

I’d looked at the origin of the “bake sale” a few years ago for the Oxford English Dictionary, and I looked again. The first citations are for “baking sale,” and they come from St. Paul, Minnesota–just next to Michele Bachmann’s district.

From my website:

Chronicling America
24 May 1891, St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, pg. 10, col. 3:
The ladies of the church (Methodist—ed.) will this week Saturday start a Saturday baking sale in the store adjoining the postoffice.

Chronicling America
31 May 1891, St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, pg. 11, col. 2:
The first of the “Saturday Baking Sales” by the Methodist ladies occurred yesterday in the room next to the postoffice. It was a success and thoroughly practical. Let them continue through the summer months.

Chronicling America
27 October 1895, St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, pg. 19, col. 7:
The ladies of the Congregational church will hold a baking sale from 3 to 4 Friday afternoon in the church parlors.

Chronicling America
19 March 1899, St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, pg. 20, col. 6:
The ladies of St. Matthew’s church will hold a baking sale and sale of fancy articles Saturday, April 1, at the home of Mrs. Walter Hill.

14 June 1901, Bridgeton (NJ) Evening News, pg. 3, col. 5:
The home-made baking sale, which was to have been held by the ladies of the Episcopal church on Saturday of the present week, has been postponed to Saturday afternoon, June 22nd, in the choir-room of the church.

21 November 1903, Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot, “Albion,” pg. 6:
On Nov. 28 the Daughters of the King will hold a bake sale at the grocery store of Mr. Rodenbach.

The bake sale is now endangered by the nanny state. From The Blaze:

Hold the Brownies! Obama Set to Sign Bill Limiting School Bake Sales
Posted on December 3, 2010 at 7:30pm by Scott Baker
WASHINGTON (AP) — Don’t touch my brownies!

A child nutrition bill on its way to President Barack Obama — and championed by the first lady — gives the government power to limit school bake sales and other fundraisers that health advocates say sometimes replace wholesome meals in the lunchroom.

Republicans, notably Sarah Palin, and public school organizations decry the bill as an unnecessary intrusion on a common practice often used to raise money.

“This could be a real train wreck for school districts,” Lucy Gettman of the National School Boards Association said Friday, a day after the House cleared the bill. “The federal government should not be in the business of regulating this kind of activity at the local level.”

The legislation, part of first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to stem childhood obesity, provides more meals at school for needy kids, including dinner, and directs the Agriculture Department to write guidelines to make those meals healthier. The legislation would apply to all foods sold in schools during regular class hours, including in the cafeteria line, vending machines and at fundraisers.

The bake sale is an American institution, recorded in print since at least 1891.

Therefore, according to Hate-America-First, bake sales must be bad!

If Michele Obama wants to eliminate bake sales, we might as well have Barack Obama lecture us not to ever buy Girl Scout Cookies. Change!

Rachel Maddow’s “bakesales or billionaires” lecture was a grossly misleading explanation of campaign finance.

“Bakesales for bombers”? Rachel, aren’t you cheerleading this useless war in Libya? If it had been George W. Bush, don’t you think we’d have gotten some “kinetic action” snark by now?

Have a brownie, girl!