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Goldfish swallowing was an American school fad starting in the 1930s, where a live goldfish is swallowed.

It is not clear how it became a fad: various people have made claims. A 1963 letter to the New York Times claimed that the fad began in late 1938 when Lothrop Withington Jr., a Harvardmarker freshman with "[class] presidential aspirations," was encouraged by his "campaign managers" to do so as a publicity stunt: "Reporters and photographers were inadvertently present in the Harvard Freshman Union when Withington swallowed his live goldfish (with a mashed potato chaser) and started a nationwide fad in the spring of 1939." The editor replied that "unless the Editor's memory is deceiving him, the goldfish-swallowing craze among school and college boys had begun at least as early as 1930." Apparently his memory was deceiving him, as Time magazine noted in a 1939 article, "Harvard Freshman Lothrop Withington Jr., son of a onetime (1910) Harvard football captain, started the fad sweeping U. S. campuses...".

See also



References

  1. Newman, Harry, Jr. "The Goldfish Swallowers." Letter to New York Times, February 27, 1963, p. 6


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