Marilyn Monroe Never Said That

“The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you can never be sure if they are genuine.” — Abraham Lincoln

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, the real credit belongs to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Harvard professor who wrote it in a paper in 1976 and later wrote a book on the topic.

“You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love you.”

Nope, Jane Austen never, ever said this. It’s a quote from a film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, her most famous novel, but it comes straight from the screenplay by Deborah Moggach. This line never appears in the original novel, nor anything even close to it. Jane Austen’s writing is better than that, folks.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Yes, Abraham Lincoln did indeed say this! He used this phrase in his 1858 speech accepting his nomination as senator for the newly-formed Illinois Republican Party. He was speaking about the division caused by the heated debates over slavery in the United States, and warning that the country could not continue on in unity if its citizens could not agree on such a fundamental thing. But he didn’t make this proverb up — Jesus did. He was responding to the Jewish leaders who were accusing him of performing miracles and casting out demons by the power of Satan.

— Mark 3:22–26

“No bread? Then let them eat cake!”

While doomed, headless Marie Antoinette catches a lot of flak for having supposedly uttered this heartless suggestion in response to starving peasants, there’s no evidence that she actually said anything of the sort. The anecdote — actually quoted as “let them eat brioche” — comes from the Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, where he recounted the story of an unnamed princess who was supposed to have said this. However, he wrote that portion of the multi-volume book in 1767, when Marie Antoinette was only 12 years old and had not even moved to France yet (she was still living in Austria at the time).

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

Pinterest, Tumblr, and those Facebook memes in Comic Sans (beloved by your great-aunt) all attribute this self-love slogan to Marilyn Monroe, but there’s absolutely no evidence that she actually said it. The entire quote, which became popular on Internet dating profiles in the early 2000’s, goes like this:

Historical costumer, fifty-cent-word purveyor, aspiring humorist, and Oxford comma fan. Books, women's history, & musings of a new mom. Twitter: @sewistwrites

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