Badge No Longer Misinformed
by Ray Papa

Have you tried on a lug lately? Well, is gonna put the lug on you mugs who don't believe Humphrey Bogart was born on Christmas Day, 1899. You think he was lyin' when he gave 25 December 1899 as his birth date on his marriage license to marry Miss Bacall on 21 May 1945? Read on.

census data

In the Ontario County Times, 15 June 1898 his physician dad and painter mom were married on Saturday, which means they was married 11 June 1898. You turkeys what believe that stuff about Bogie bein' born on 23 January 1899 must think either his folks were up to somethin' they shouldn't have or that Bogie was born about 10 weeks earlier than normal! The Ontario County Times, which kept tabs on the region's notables, announced in its January 10, 1900, issue: "Born: at New York, Dec. 25, 1899, to Dr. and Mrs. Belmont DeForest Bogart, a son." That's because the Bogarts had a summer home in South Bristol Town, Ontario Co., New York.

So where's zis stuff about Humphrey Bogart bein' born on some other day than Christmas Day 1899 come from? Here's some examples from them that 'sposed to know better.

census data

In Maud Humphrey: Her Permanent Imprint on American Illustration, by Karen Choppa and Paul Humphrey (a second cousin to Maud Humphrey), page 83, they wrote, "Dr. Bogart and Maud's first child and only son was born January 23, 1899."

Alan G. Barbour in Humphrey Bogart wrote on page 11, "Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born on January 23, 1899, even though later publicity releases would claim that he was born on Christmas Day, 1900, to romanticize his background."

One more example is from Bogey: The Films of Humphrey Bogart, by Clifford McCarty, page 7. "He was born on January 23, 1899. (Warner publicity later changed his birth date to December 25, 1900, possibly to foster the view that a man born on Christmas Day couldn't really be as villainous as he appeared on the screen.)"

Now, if you still think they lied to the newspaper in Ontario County, and that Bogie and Bacall both lied about his birth date, then here's the kicker. There are two images here that show what's on the United States 1900 federal census and on the New York 1900 state census. Both give his month of birth as December and his year of birth as 1899.

Still think they lied to the census takers or that they spelled "JAN" as "DEC," both times by mistake, or they wanted to "cover up" Bogart's being a born a "preemie"? What would Bogie say today about them that don't believe he really was born on Christmas Day 1899? He'd probably say, "Don't be a sap!" or it don't amount to a hill o' beans. By the way, both those censuses can be viewed by the public. The easiest one to find, if you are a subscriber to (this ain't no commercial) can be viewed online.

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