JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 452
Is it possible that James Steveson's Paddington : report on the necessity of latrine accommodation for women in the Metropolis, published in 1879, is the first book published in English to use the word "latrine" in the title?! Well, in a lightly interesting and perhaps stupefying way, the answer is "yes". And this just to get to this very obscure graphic.cartoon book, Smoe, the Latrine Orderly, by H.E. Swinney, published by the Ledger Company in Fort Worth, Texas. According to WorldCat/OCLC, the massive cataloging tool used by librarians everywhere, there aren't any copies of this book in any library anywhere in the world. I'm both surprised and underwhelmed. The cartoons all appeared in the Fort Worth Army Air Field's newspaper "Lone Star Scanner", which is also a publication that doesn't seem to have survived anywhere. H.E. Swinney may be Sergeant H.E. Swinney, who was present at Pearl Harbor on 7 December and who fought his way through WWII, though I'm not sure.
The pamphlet's jokes and cartoons I can appreciate as having been funny once upon a time, making people laugh as they snapped their newspapers over their eggs at the PX. Maybe they made people laugh for a few years, but probably not much more. It makes me think for just a little about the average age for how long jokes are "funny". I'd say that the Smoe funny lasted about 2 years 5 months and 5 days. More or less.
The word "latrine" is from the French and from the Latin before that, and appears fairly early in English (1642 according to my 1933 OED), but for whatever reason, it just doesn't find its way into the title of any English books for more than two hundred years.
The reason I'm spending any time at all on this little pamphlet is because its title is so entirely unexpected. And that, as the man said, is all I have to say about that.