• No products in the basket.
cart chevron-down close-disc
  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 44

Make Lemonade

A motto and a method. Words by George Upton.

The proverb “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is understood to have been coined by the American writer Elbert Hubbard in 1915. In his obituary of Marshall Pinckney Wilder, one of the most successful vaudeville performers and a favorite of the British royal family, Hubbard wrote that the actor achieved greatness despite the challenges of being born with dwarfism: “He picked up the lemons that fate had sent him and started a lemonade stand.”

The phrase would come to be refined and popularized over subsequent decades, embodying a particularly American belief in self-made success. Yet the history of making lemonade goes back a lot further than enterprising American children and their 5¢ stands. Medieval Egyptians drank qatarmizat—lemon juice sweetened with sugar—in the 11th century, and by the 17th century, lemonade had become so popular in Europe that a guild, the Compagnie de Limonadiers, was formed in Paris, monopolizing its production. 


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Four

Buy Now

This story appears in a print issue of Kinfolk. You’re welcome to read this story for free or subscribe to enjoy unlimited access.


Kinfolk.com uses cookies to personalize and deliver appropriate content, analyze website traffic and display advertising. Visit our cookie policy to learn more. By clicking "Accept" you agree to our terms and may continue to use Kinfolk.com.