THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
The Library of Congress THE LOC.GOV WISE GUIDE
AD HIGHLIGHTS
ARCHIVES
ABOUT THIS SITE
HELP
July2007
HOME How About a Little Summer Reading? Get Your Hot Dogs Right Here! In the Trenches of WWI Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright Poetry Across the Atlantic This Land Is Your Land! Space: The Final Frontier
Get Your Hot Dogs Right Here!

All hail the hot dog! July marks National Hot Dog Month, and the quintessential American food will be sizzling on grills everywhere this summer. In fact, some three-fourths of Americans say hot dogs are more strongly associated with Independence Day than with any other holiday, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, there is such a thing—it's a project of the American Meat Institute Foundation). Perhaps that's why Nathan's Famous chooses July 4 as the date of its annual hot dog eating contest at Coney Island, the site of its first restaurant.

Wieners precooking in vegetable oil Dan Martinez and Bob Humphrey rope calves at spring branding at the Circle A, Quinn River Line Camp, Nevada, June 1978

In Paterson, N.J., a hot dog is a way of life … the Hot Texas Wiener, to be exact. Each year, the members of the many cultural communities populating this multicultural, multilingual city eat hundreds of thousands of deep-fried beef hot dogs, topped with spicy mustard, chopped onions and a distinctive chili sauce. The origins of this "relished" town staple can be traced to 1924 and an "old Greek gentleman" who owned a hot dog stand in downtown Paterson. The origins of its moniker is lesser known however. Perhaps the gentleman designated his food find as a Hot Texas Wiener because of the spicy chili sauce and the image the Southern state evokes--cowboys, Latino flair, the rugged West. What evolved was more than a regional food favorite—it has become an occupational tradition.

In 1994, Timothy Lloyd, executive director of the American Folklore Society, documented the Hot Texas Wiener tradition for the Working in Paterson Folklife Project of the Library's American Folklife Center. Brought to you as part of the Library's American Memory collections, "Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting," presents interview excerpts and photographs from the four-month study of occupational culture in Paterson, N.J.

American Memory features written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps and sheet music that document the American experience. Other work-life collections include "Buckaroos in Paradise," "America at Work, America at Leisure," which was born out of the American Folklife Center's Paradise Valley Folklife Project, and "Inside an American Factory."

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library to preserve and present American folklife through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The Archive at the Folklife Center was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of cultural heritage material from the United States and around the world.


A. Wieners precooking in vegetable oil. 1994. American Folklife Center. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.

B. Dan Martinez and Bob Humphrey rope calves at spring branding at the Circle A, Quinn River Line Camp, Nevada, June 1978. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. 1978. American Folklife Center. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.