Welcome to www.EllisParkerButler.Info SIGN-IN
Welcome to www.EllisParkerButler.Info, the best place on the Internet to find information about the life and work of Ellis Parker Butler, American humorist and author.

home : publications

Pigs is Pigs

by Ellis Parker Butler

"Pigs is Pigs" is without question the most famous and widely read story written by Ellis Parker Butler.


Railway agent Mike Flannery wants to charge the livestock rate for a shipment of two guinea pigs and refuses to accept the lower pet rate saying "Pigs is Pigs." The customer's complaint is routed bureaucratically throughout the railway company while the guinea pigs reproduce geometrically in Flannery's stationhouse.

First published in The American Magazine in September 1905, the amusing little story might have died in pleasant obscurity if it hadn't been used by Railway Appliances Company as part of a marketing program.
'Pig is Pigs' printed by the Railway Appliances Company (December, 1905)
Reprinted as a pamphlet, the company distributed 10,000 copies to customers and prospects. A book version (printed by Doubleday, Page and Company) followed and the story quickly became an American classic.

Reprinted many times, "Pigs is Pigs" is included in numerous anthologies of American humor.


  • September, 1905
    "Pigs is Pigs" first appears in print in The American Magazine. Includes five illustrations (plus a drawing of dual cornucopias as part of the title) by Will Crawford.
  • December, 1905
    Railway Appliances Company prints 10,000 copies for distribution as an advertisement. (The printing is unauthorized and results in a law suit by American Magazine and Butler. A second printing, of an additional 10,000 copies, is also unauthorized and most copies are destroyed.) This soft cover pamphlet is approximately 7 inches square printed on quality textured stock. There are 20 pages including the five illustrations by Will Crawford that had accompanied the story in the American Magazine. The first page of the text also has the dual guinea-pig cornucopia drawing that would later appear on the cover of the Doubleday book. Pigs is Pigs
  • April, 1906
    The First Edition of Pigs is Pigs by Doubleday, Page and Company is printed. Approximately 4.5 inches by 7 inches, the little book has 37 pages plus five illustrations by Will Crawford. The brown, white and black cover features the dual guinea-pig cornucopias.
  • October, 1906
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in Good Literature Magazine. This printing includes all the Crawford illustrations, including the cornucopias, on two 11" x 17" pages.
  • 1909
    Doubleday, Page and Company (for the Reviews of Reviews Company) re-issues Pigs is Pigs in substantially the same format as 1906.
  • 1911
    Doubleday re-issues Pigs is Pigs in substantially the same format as 1906.
  • 1914
    "Pigs is Pigs" is made into a silent film directed by George D. Baker. [IMDB]
  • 1921
    Doubleday re-issues Pigs is Pigs in substantially the same format as 1906.
  • 1924
    Doubleday re-issues Pigs is Pigs in substantially the same format as 1906.
  • October, 1925
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in The Golden Book Magazine. No illustrations, but there is a reproduction of Butler's autograph, complete with the drawing of a pig. The magazine's editor wrote: "Everybody whose memory goes back twenty years remembers 'Pigs is Pigs.' I believe the little book reached a million circulation."
  • 1925
    Doubleday publishes a new edition of Pigs is Pigs, this time with illustrations by Paul Carruth. The book's size is also slightly larger at 5" x 7.5". There's a new cover, too, with a drawing of Mike Flannery in a rainstorm of guinea pigs.
  • January, 1934
    "Pigs is Pigs" is printed again in The Golden Book Magazine. Irvin S. Cobb is the "guest editor" and he lists "Pigs is Pigs" as one of his "Six Favorite Stories." There is a new illustration by James Daugherty and the reproduction of Butler's autograph, complete with the drawing of a pig. There's also a subtitle this time: "A Comedy of Multiplication."
  • February, 1937
    A condensed version of "Pigs is Pigs" appears in Readers Digest.
  • 1937
    Doubleday re-issues Pigs is Pigs again with the Carruth illustrations. The book is the larger 5" x 7.5" size. This time, the cover has a recursive drawing of a guinea pig reading the book (which has a drawing of a guinea pig reading the book...).

  • September 13, 1937
    Ellis Parker Butler dies.
    Pigs is Pigs 1940 Edition
  • 1940
    Doubleday re-issues Pigs is Pigs in substantially the same format as 1937.
  • 1942, 1943
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in The American Reader's Library editor Mary Perks. Exclusive Distributor: the American Crayon Company, Sandusky Ohio.
  • 1944
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in World's Greatest Humorous Stories introduction by Irvin S. Cobb, World Publishing Company. It's the first story in the book, but that may be because it was the earliest work included.
  • 1946
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in A Treasury of Laughter edited by Louis Untermeyer, Simon and Schuster, New York. Includes two original illustrations by Lucille Corcos.
  • 1948
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in The Bedside Book of Humor editor Mathilda Schirmer, People's Book Club, Chicago. Includes seven original illustrations.
  • 1950
    Yet another Doubleday re-issue of Pigs is Pigs, again with the Carruth illustrations. The book remains the larger 5" x 7.5" size, but this time, the recursive drawing of a guinea pig reading the book has more color.
  • 1953
    "Pigs is Pigs" is adapted as a Disney story, told in verse, in the Giant Golden Book Walt Disney's Treasury. This adapted text is used in the Disney cartoon in 1954.
  • May 21, 1954
    "Pigs is Pigs" is released as a Disney short film (cartoon). It's the same story, but the filmmakers showed no desire to follow the original text. Flannery (no first name) is still the station agent but his customer is now McMorehouse. This short (directed by Jack Kinney, story by Leo Salkin and animation by John Sibley) was nominated for an Academy Award (Short Subjects - Cartoons).
  • 1954
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in An Encyclopedia of Modern American Humor editor Bennett Cerf, Doubleday and Company, Inc. The anthology has a geographical orientation and Butler is assigned to the Midwest (he was born in Iowa).
  • 1958
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in Introduction to Short Stories editors H. L. Willis and W. R. McGillivray, MacMillan Company of Canada. Willis and McGillivray felt the need to edit some of the text (probably to target younger readers), but they left the Irish vernacular intact.
  • 1960
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in Humorous Short Stories compiled by Greta A. Clark, Hart Publishing Company, New York. Includes an original illustration.
  • 1962
    Walt Disney's Treasury is revised and enlarged, still with the same "Pigs is Pigs" adaptation, and printed as Walt Disney's Story Land, 55 Favorite Stories. Reprinted in 1987 and 1991. Golden Books (Western Publishing Company, Racine WI).
  • 1965
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in Great Humorous Stories compiled by Louis Morris. Includes original illustrations by Hamilton Greene. The original Irish dialect has been transformed into standard English. New York:Hart Publishing Company. LOC 64-24883.
  • 1990
    "Pigs is Pigs" appears in The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose editor Frank Muir, Oxford University Press.
  • December, 1999
    An electronic copy of the "Pigs is Pigs" text is released as a part of Project Gutenberg.
  • July, 2001
    Electronic copies of "Pigs is Pigs" are released on the EllisParkerButler.Info web site.

Editor's Notes:

  • Concurrent with the Doubleday books there were several editions printed by the A. L. Burt Company, New York. The A. L. Burt Company published a number of standard works and classics in inexpensive editions. The Burt editions of Pigs is Pigs greatly resembled the Doubleday books. Some used the Crawford illustrations and others used the Carruth illustrations (including some editions of the smaller form factor books with the newer Carruth illustrations). These editions were not dated, so tracking the date of publication is difficult.
  • Hodder and Stoughton (London, New York, Toronto) published volumes for the UK and Canadian markets. These volumes were not dated.


Saturday, October 07 at 1:04:13am USA Central
This web site is Copyright © 2006 by the ANDMORE Companies. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Images for viewing only. All copyrights remain with the holder. No covers or publications for sale.
www.EllisParkerButler.Info is a research project of the ANDMORE Companies, Houston TX USA.