While a pretty turn of phrase can be appreciated all on its own, people wanting to prove a point often think that if it was said by someone famous (particularly if that person was known as a clever writer and thinker) will add cache and importance to a quote. Some famous figures are even considered quote magnets, attracting references to orphan quotes or even those known to come from somebody else. This sometimes is a deliberate misquote, and sometimes it’s just that the person writing doesn’t bother to look it up and thinks it’s sounds like someone must have said it and writes down the first name of someone quotable that comes to mind. Among the two highest profile quote magnets are Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois has put together a page listing some of the things Lincoln is most commonly quoted as saying that he actually didn’t. Find out what Lincoln didn’t say below. (Note: Scroll down past the documents.)
The Mark Twain Boyhood home has also started a campaign on Twitter, to try to answer back and correct people who quote things Twain supposedly said and didn’t.
UPDATED November 17 2020: I fixed the link to the Lincoln non-quotes and added my current signature block.
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.