Posted by ESC on July 03, 2007
In Reply to: The back of a napkin posted by Allen on July 03, 2007
: Am new to etymology and trying to find the history of the phrase "back of a napkin" Anyone know it or can give me a process for discovery?
Regarding my own process regarding finding the origin of a phrase, I mostly depend on a small library of reference books, online sources (including this site) and my own recollections. I don't know about scholarly research. Looks like that involves interviewing people and recording information about when they heard the phrase and where, etc., and searching/scanning old newspapers, letters and books for references to phrases.