This article examines the first two volumes of the American Dialect Society's Dialect Notes, spanning 1889-1904, to explore the cross-fertilization of language and literary studies within the historical context of the society's founding moment in 1889. In particular, this archive reveals that language and literary studies intersected not only in the broad interests of early ADS members—including, for example, such noteworthy figures as thomas Wentworth Higginson, Sarah Orne Jewett, George L. Kittredge, James Russell Lowell, and William Dwight Whitney—but also converged in the objects, methods, and projects of dialect scholarship—individual scholars' contributions to Dialect Notes and the larger American Dialect Dictionary project, both of which drew on popular dialect literature. The article finally suggests that historicizing the mutually “linguistic” and “literary” beginnings of the ADS calls attention to the long-interdisciplinary nature of dialect study, affirming ongoing interdisciplinary work on American dialect.

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