PBF | April

Party Banter Friday: 

In Which A Librarian Provides You With An Interesting Fact to Make You More Popular During Weekend Socializing

In honor of this week’s Earth Day and so you know who to thank when you want to refer to someone who litters with a word that is not an expletive, we give you this month’s Party Banter Fact:

The term “litter-bug”, which became a national slogan, was coined by Traverse City native, environmentalist, and internationally-known painter, Maud Miller Hoffmaster.

This is she:


Mrs. Hoffmaster was born in 1883 and passed away at 85 in 1969, having earned the titles of painter, author, teacher, and activist. She sold her scenic paintings at galleries across the world, especially in France. She wrote two novels and also lectured for 35 years about the relationship between painting and music.

While she wasn’t doing those little old things, she was engaging in her Up North community as a member of the Friendly Garden Club here in Traverse City as well as advocating for the Great Lakes. In 1920 she started a local anti-litter campaign, using the word “litterbug” and it quickly caught on across the country.

So, when you’re out and about this weekend, you may spot a litterbug. You may not, the campaign was pretty successful. But if you happen to spot a roving  bachelorette party and its remnants: dollar store plastic sashes, stray high heels, Taco Bell wrappers: think of Maud. And maybe the voice of Maud might whisper to you to spend your Sunday walk to brunch picking up trash. Wear gloves.

Photo credit: Our featured image for PBF is a picture from our digital history collection. You can view the original image and browse our collection here.

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