"I'm From Missouri"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Although the origin of the expression "I'm from Missouri, you've got to show me" has been widely debated, the expression is generally attributed to Willard Duncan Vandiver, who used it in a speech before the Five O'Clock Club of Philadelphia when Vandiver, a congressman, was inspecting the Navy Yard at Philadelphia as a member of the naval committee of Congress. Vandiver and Governor Hull of Iowa, both without evening suits for the banquet to which the committee members were invited, decided to attend anyway. That evening Vandiver discovered Hull wearing a rented evening suit, making Vandiver the only person without proper dress. Late in the evening Hull gave a speech, concluding it by introducing Vandiver as a Missourian and calling on him for a speech. The embarrassed congressman spoke, but at the end of his talk, referring to Hull, he said:

"His talk about your hospitality is all bunk; he wants another feed. He tells you that the tailors, finding he was here without a dress-suit, made one for him in fifteen minutes. I have a different explanation; you heard him say he came over here without one and you see him now with one that doesn't fit him. The explanation is that he stole mine and that's the reason why you see him with one on and me without any. This story from Iowa doesn't go at all with me; 'I'm from Missouri, you've got to show me.'"