Dear AHT: 'Texas Monthly' Actually Believes That the Hamburger Was Invented in Tiny Athens, Texas

Dear AHT

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Any publication that dares back one party in the contentious issue of where the hamburger was invented had better be prepared for blowback. AHT received some collateral damage when this Barry Popik bomb landed in our inbox.


Dear AHT, Letters From Our ReadersIt's not true.

Any simple Google for "Fletcher Davis" would have found my work. [And there it is, third search result! --The Mgmt.] Anybody could have asked me.

"The documentary evidence supporting this claim is strong: An article filed from the World's Fair by a reporter for the New York Tribune described a sandwich called a hamburger, made by an unknown vendor."


Hamburger stand, Harlingen, Texas; February 1939; Russell Lee. More historic burger photos here.

Has he seen the actual article? Has any of us found the 1904 New York Tribune citation? Why is it missing in the ProQuest digitization of the New York Tribune? Why is it missing in the Chronicling America digitization of the New York Tribune? Even if shown to exist, the 1904 newspaper article wouldn't prove anything. There is no other documentary evidence from any historical newspaper. Zero. Zip. Nada. STRONG EVIDENCE?

As I discovered several years ago, there is a citation for "hamburgers" in the 1883 New York (NY) Sun. Hamburger sandwiches were served in the 1890s in Chicago, in Los Angeles, in Dallas, and even in Montana and Hawaii. There is no reason whatsoever to conclude that everyone got the idea from tiny Athens, Texas.

"There it was dubbed 'hamburger,' a term apparently coined in derision by St. Louis citizens of Teutonic extraction who viewed as barbaric the culinary practice, native to Hamburg, Germany, of devouring large handfuls of ground beef, sometimes raw."

Yep, the name "hamburger" was coined in St. Louis in 1904. This is beyond incompetent.

The Texas Monthly has fact-checkers and access to Google searches, no?

Barry Popik
Austin, Texas

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