Dakota Datebook

Dickinson Does

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


In 1925, when it was decided that the American Legion would hold its state convention in Dickinson the following year, a contest for coming up with a snappy slogan for the city was begun. It was decided that the slogan that won the contest would then be used as advertising for the convention.

“A short snappy slogan” had the best chance of winning, the Legion stated, and they even gave some examples—“Why not Minot?” for one, and for another, “Wide awake Devils Lake.” There was a cash award available for the first and second best slogans received. A whole $5.00 would go to the winner, and $3.00 to second place.

The contest was announced at the beginning of October, and for a month, until the first of November, people across the state sent in suggestions. At the beginning of November, the American Legion collected and reviewed the forty submissions they received from the fourteen contestants vying to give Dickinson its new name.

One can imagine the process, digging through both alliterative and non-alliterative, rhyming and prose phrases.

Honorable mention included several varied options: “Depend on Dickinson,” as submitted by a Miss Lily Sherwood; “Second to none: Dickinson,” as submitted by a Mr. J. M. Roberts; “Hookem Cow, Dickinson,” which makes less sense to us today, than it did then, perhaps, and was submitted by Dr. C. L. T. Herbert; “Hole In One, Dickinson,” submitted a Mr. John Kostelecky; and finally, “I’m hopping to Dickinson,” submitted by John Herringer.

These were interesting, but not what was desired. Second place went to Cora Simpson of Bismarck. Her submission, “You’ll Like Dickinson,” was to the point.

However, they wanted something short, and short is what they got, for the winning slogan, sent in by 11-year-old Delmar Boulger of Dickinson, was, shortly: “Dickinson Does.”

By this day, the winner was announced and advertisements for the winning slogan were already being developed, and it became the American Legion’s aim “To use the slogan … constantly in advertising the convention and to secure its adoption by the business, professional and industrial interests as a permanent slogan for the city.”

The Dickinson Press, October 9, 1925
The Dickinson Press, November 6, 1925

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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