Mail Boxes Keep the Wolf from Her Door (May, 1939)

I’ve never heard the expression “keep the wolf from her door”, I guess it means to avoid poverty? Or is the wolf something specific, like a bill collector?

Mail Boxes Keep the Wolf from Her Door

Forced to find some way to earn her living when she moved to California for the sake of her son’s health, a North Hollywood woman conceived the ingenious idea of building roadside mail boxes that are miniature reproductions of the homes which they serve. Turned out by hand in her own home workshop, the model-home mail boxes are made to order, following the lines and color scheme of any particular dwelling. Many of the unique mail boxes have been built for the homes of movie stars.

  1. Casandro says: October 18, 20071:49 am

    What I find strange is that she seems to be located in California, yet sends them to movie stars which means that she probably ships most boxes to India.

  2. K!P says: October 18, 20071:52 am

    i find i strange that the house is wrong 😀 the right side of the roof is different.

  3. Tom says: October 18, 20072:14 am

    “Keep the wolf from the door” is a well known expression here in the UK. It means any measure taken to get by and avoid disaster – usually related to money but it could be something else.

  4. Adam C. says: October 18, 20072:29 am

    “Wolf at the door” is an old term referring to poverty in the states.

  5. Mike Brisendine says: October 18, 20073:35 am

    I remember a bluegrass band in the 70’s singing this song.

    “Hey, hey, hey
    the wolf is at the door,
    He’s huffing and a puffing,
    and he’s got that mighty roar,
    I’m too poor to ownn a dog or buy a 44,
    So I’ll just pray to the Lord above,
    For the wolf is at the door.”

  6. Julie says: October 18, 20074:14 pm

    Believing it to be a very old metaphor, I searched for the most reputable origin I could find on the internet. This is attributed to “E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898”:

    To keep the wolf from the door. To keep out hunger. We say of a ravenous person, “He has a wolf in his stomach,” an expression common to the French and Germans. Thus manger comme un loup is to eat voraciously, and wolfs-magen is the German for a keen appetite.

  7. Julie says: October 18, 20074:15 pm

    (Or, more broadly, to avoid disaster, of course.)

  8. jayessell says: October 19, 20076:51 pm

    Is there a model of the mailbox in front of the model house?

    And in front of that?

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