From the November 11 edition of The New York Times:
Today it is possible to write the date with the repetition six times of a single digit. It is the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year, and so one may save time and just put it down 11-11-11. It will be a century before the same thing can be done on Nov. 11, 2011 though, of course, on Dec. 12th next year there will be a close approximation to it with 12-12-12 as a correct presentation of the date.
Still today for the last time until the error is changed will one digit appear seven times in the date, however it be written. Today, 11-11-1911, 800 years ago this was beaten by writing 11-11-1111, on Nov. 11, 1111 but it is not likely that the precise monkish scribes at that time would have allowed so slovenly a method of recording an essential fact. As none of us is likely to be living in the year 11111, it would be well for those who delight in curious trifles to take their fill of enjoyment out of this method of dating today, 11-11-11.
“Today is 11-11-11; Date Can’t Be Written in This Way Again for a Century,” The New York Times, Nov. 11, 1911.
We love sharing these fascinating historical artifacts with you. We greatly suspect that the writer of this 1911 New York Times piece wondered what we here in 2011 might say about this curious temporal phenomenon. Imagine that writer in Manhattan a century ago penning this article looking forward a hundred years wondering if we here in this day might look back to his article a hundred years in the past. Mission accomplished!
We’ve previously brought to your attention other fun historical notes like these. You will remember that last Thanksgiving, we unearthed a 1910 magazine article in which the writer, living in 1910, looked back to 1810 to note the enormous societal changes that had occurred in that century. At the end of that piece, the writer speculated what we the citizens of 2010 might do to celebrate Thanksgiving. Last December, we brought to your attention a series of editorials, published in the New York Times in 1931, speculating what the year 2011 might be like.
So, sometimes its fun to abandon true legal blogging for a day and remark upon these fun finds.