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The Atlantic Monthly reports that the first emoticon may have appeared in 1648!

Editor Levi Stahl, publicity manager for the University of Chicago Press, was taking in some poems by Robert Herrick when he noticed a rather unusual typographic formation in the second line of the poem “To Fortune.” 

Tumble me down, and I will sit
Upon my ruins, (smiling yet:)

That sure looks like a smiley face.

Now, one can imagine that the printer accidentally included a colon before the close parenthesis. It could just be a mistake. But given the context of smiling yet, it seems more believable that this was an attempt at an orthographic joke.

Thanks Robert Herrick—LOL!

Link:  http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/the-first-emoticon-may-have-appeared-in-1648/360622/

With thanks to  The New Inquiry for such great aggregating.

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