Tag Archives: Sara Osborne (White) Dreiser

“The Little Brown Jug”

As Richard Lingeman explains in the first volume of his Dreiser biography, Theodore Dreiser: At the Gates of the City, 1871-1907,   Theodore Dreiser’s wife Sara* Osborne (White) Dreiser, raised on a farm in Missouri, was called Sallie by friends and Jug by her family. Jug was a family nickname.

The nickname stuck. In adulthood, Sara was always known to relatives and friends as Jug or Juggie.

Jug, states Lingeman, was “a sobriquet given her [Sara] by a beau … because she wore brown so often that she resembled the little brown jug of the song.”

“The Little Brown Jug” was a song written in 1869 by Joseph Eastburn Winner (1837–1918). The song was originally published in Philadelphia, where Winner operated a publishing music business. It was originally a drinking song.

*Her first name was originally Sarah. She dropped the h in later years.




The Little Brown Jug

My wife and I lived all alone
In a little log hut we called our own;
She loved gin, and I loved rum,
I tell you what, we’d lots of fun.

‘Tis you who makes my friends my foes,
‘Tis you who makes me wear old clothes;
Here you are, so near my nose,
So tip her up, and down she goes.

When I go toiling to my farm,
I take little “Brown Jug” under my arm;
I place it under a shady tree,
Little “Brown Jug” ’tis you and me.

If all the folks in Adam’s race,
Were gathered together in one place;
Then I’d prepare to shed a tear,
Before I’d part from you, my dear.

If I’d a cow that gave such milk,
I’d clothe her in the finest silk;
I’d feed her on the choicest hay,
And milk her forty times a day.

The rose is red, my nose is, too,
The violet’s blue, and so are you;
And yet I guess before I stop,
We’d better take another drop.

Ha, ha, ha, you and me,
“Little brown jug” don’t I love thee;
Ha, ha ha, you and me,
“Little brown jug” don’t I love thee.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2021