How 'Pigs is Pigs' Was Written
by Ellis Parker Butler
In 1904 Ellis Parker Butler was writing a number of stories for Ellery Sedgwick, editor of Leslie's Monthly. The editor of Judicious Advertising of Chicago saw these stories and asked for a series of the same sort, and as the first of the series Mr. Butler sent on "The Injudicious Advertising of Mr. Cyrus Boobs." That was the story of a man who discovered among his pet guinea pigs a pair with lopped ears, a great rarity, and, knowing how prolific guinea pigs are, he saw a fortune ahead and began advertising lop-eared guinea pigs. By the time the money was pouring in the lop-eared pair died without offspring.
Mr. Butler had clipped from a Liverpool, England, newspaper, an anecdote about an Englishman who, returning from Africa with a tortoise, wished to carry it with him free of charge on an English train. Dogs, it seemed by the rules read by the Irish station master, were carried free, but the ruling of the Irish station master was "Dogs is dogs and cats is dogs and squirrels in cages is dogs, but that there animal is an insect and must pay." Mr. Butler had this clipping in his purse one day when Ellery
Sedgwick said: "Butler, one of the boys at the office was reading your Judicious Advertising story and he suggested that you could make a story of a man who ordered guinea pigs or rabbits by express and then went away and left them on the express agent's hands."
"So there," says Mr. Butler, "is the story! I wrote it, and rewrote it twice, and the third time I ran in the 'dogs is dogs and cats is dogs' term, changing it to 'pigs is pigs.'" Experience with claims against transportation companies while working in a wholesale grocery out West gave him the red tape idea. Ellery Sedgwick gave him the guinea pig idea and, finally, some one in the Leslie's Monthly office gave the story its title of "Pigs Is Pigs" for Mr. Butler had called it "The Dago Pig Episode." The story was published in the first number of the American Magazine (formerly Leslie's Monthly) in October, 1905, and in book form in April, 1906.