The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90418   Message #3322496
Posted By: GUEST,azizi
13-Mar-12 - 08:38 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Lady's alligator purse? Her own thread
Subject: RE: Folklore: Lady's alligator purse? Her own thread
Jon Corelis,

I noticed that there was no attribution for that information from the Susan B. Anthony House website about the origin of the "lady with the alligator purse" version of "Miss Lucy Had A Baby".

It might have been a coincidence that Susan B. Anthony's purse was made of alligator skin and there was a pre-existing line in a playground rhyme about "a lady with the alligator purse". And some enterprising, creative reporter could have made up the "vote said the lady with the alligator purse" version. Indeed, I think it's likely that that is what happened.

And Jon, my focus is probably different than yours. I accept the fact that this rhyme is about death or at least about illness that could have led to a person dying. Read M.Ted Date: 21 Apr 06 - 08:18 PM comment about diptheria (bubble in one's throat).

However, I don't think that the lady with the alligator purse represents death because, in most versions I've read, she succeeds in curing the baby when the doctor, and the nurse fail.

I'm specifically interested in finding an early citation for the inclusion of the alligator purse in these playground rhymes.

And I'm not convinced that the rhyme that you cited is the source for the "Miss Lucy Had A Baby" family of rhymes. I think this (and the core verses for the very widely known "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat") came from the "Bang Bang Lulu" song. Since I believe "Bang Bang Lulu" is of American (USA) origin, I also believe that "Miss Lucy Had A Baby" is of American origin. And I think that the "lady with the alligator purse is a later addition to that rhyme.