An Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere during September to November. In an article on the US National Weather Service's website, weather historian William R. Deedler writes that Indian Summer can be defined as "any spell of warm, quiet, hazy weather that may occur in October or November." Several references describe a true Indian Summer as not occurring until after the first frost, or more specifically the first "killing" frost.
Etymology and usage
Late-19th-century Boston lexicographer Albert Matthews made an exhaustive search of early American literature in an attempt to discover who coined the expression. The earliest reference he found dated from 1851. He also found the phrase in a letter written in England in 1778, but discounted that as a coincidental use of the phrase.
Later research showed that the earliest known reference to Indian summer in its current sense occurs in an essay written in the United States circa 1778 by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur. The letter was first published in French. The essay remained unavailable in the United States until the 1920s.
Although the exact origins of the term are uncertain, it was perhaps so-called because it was first noted in regions inhabited by American Indians, or because the Indians first described it to Europeans, or it had been based on the warm and hazy conditions in autumn when American Indians hunted. In addition to such conjectures, a great depth of Native American folklore is attributed to describing this phenomenon.
In literature and history, the term is sometimes used metaphorically. The title of Van Wyck Brooks' New England: Indian Summer (1940) suggests an era of inconsistency, infertility, and depleted capabilities, a period of seemingly robust strength that is only an imitation of an earlier season of actual strength. William Dean Howells' 1886 novel Indian Summer uses the term to mean a time when one may recover some of the happiness of youth. The main character, jilted as a young man, leads a solitary life until he rediscovers romance in early middle age.
In British English, the term is used in the same way as in North America. In the UK, observers knew of the American usage from the mid-19th century onwards, and The Indian Summer of a Forsyte is the metaphorical title of the 1918 second volume of The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. However, early 20th-century climatologists Gordon Manley and Hubert Lamb used it only when referring to the American phenomenon, and the expression did not gain wide currency in Great Britain until the 1950s. In former times such a period was associated with the autumn feast days of St. Martin and Saint Luke.
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Similar weather conditions, with local variations also exist. A warm period in autumn is called "Altweibersommer" (de: "old women's summer") in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lithuania, Hungary (Hungarian: vénasszonyok nyara), Estonia (Estonian: vananaistesuvi), and in a number of Slavic-language countries—for example, in Czechia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia—it is known as "old woman's summer" (Czech: babí léto, Ukrainian: бабине літо, Polish: babie lato, Slovak: babie leto, Russian: бабье лето, IPA: [ˈbabʲjə ˈlʲetə], Serbo-Croatian: bablje ljeto). In Bulgaria, it is known as "gypsy summer" or "poor man's summer". In Sweden, there's "Brittsommar" (out of "Birgitta" and "Britta", having their name days around the time, October 7). In Finland, the period is today called "intiaanikesä", a direct translation, but historically a warm period in autumn was named after Bartholomew, his saint day being in late August. In Gaelic Ireland, the phenomenon is called "fómhar beag na ngéanna" (little autumn of the geese).
In temperate parts of South America—such as southernmost Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay—the phenomenon is known as "Veranico", "Veranito" or "Veranillo" (literally, "little summer"), and usually occurs in early autumn between late April and mid-May, when it is known as "Veranico de Maio" ("May's little summer") or as "Veranito de San Juan" ("Saint John's little summer"). Its onset and duration are directly associated with the occurrence of El Niño.
In other countries it is associated with autumnal name days or saint days such as Teresa of Ávila (Portugal, Spain and France), St. Martin's Summer (Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Malta), St. Michael's summer (»Miholjsko leto«, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina), St. Martin's Day (Netherlands), St. Demetrius (Greece and Cyprus), Bridget of Sweden in Sweden, and Saint Michael the Archangel in Wales. In Turkey it is called pastirma yazı, meaning pastrami summer, since the month of November was considered to be the best time to make pastrami.
- Indian Summer, designed by Uwe Rosenberg, is named and themed after the event, and involves players placing leaf-filled tiles on the forest floor.
- Indian Summer was written by Adalbert Stifter in 1857.
- Indian Summer was written by William Dean Howells in 1886.
- The Indian Summer Of English Chivalry written by Arthur Ferguson in 1960.
- Indian Summer by John Knowles, published in 1966.
- An Indian Summer: A Personal Experience of India was written by James Cameron in 1974.
- Engine Summer written by John Crowley in 1979, is named after and refers to the event, with the spelling changed to reflect the post-apocalyptic setting of the book.
- The graphic novel Indian Summer was written by Hugo Pratt and illustrated by Milo Manara in 1983.
- Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire was written by Alex von Tunzelmann in 2007.
- Indian Summer: The Tragic Story of Louis Francis Sockalexis, the First Native American in Major League Baseball was written by Brian McDonald in 2003.
- Injun Summer, John T. McCutcheon, Chicago Tribune, September 30, 1907.
- Indian Summer, Hugo Pratt, Nantier Beall Minoustchine, October 1, 1993.
- Victor Herbert composed the song "Indian Summer" in 1919 for classical orchestra and Al Dubin wrote lyrics in 1939.
- The Victor Herbert/Al Dubin tune was a number 1 hit for Tommy Dorsey's Big Band Orchestra with Jack Leonard on vocals in 1939.
- The Glenn Miller Big Band Orchestra version of Victor Herbert and Al Dubin's tune with vocalist Ray Eberle, rose to number 8 from late 1939 into 1940.
- Sidney Bechet recorded a jazz version of the Victor Herbert/Al Dubin tune on soprano sax in 1940.
- Coleman Hawkins recorded a jazz version of the Victor Herbert/Al Dubin tune on tenor sax in 1945.
- Other jazz versions based on the Victor Herbert tune with Al Dubin lyrics were recorded by the Ginny Simms with Kay Kyser & his Orchestra (December 1939 recording for Columbia 78rpm single), Gene Krupa Orchestra (recorded live on radio, January 1940), Bing Crosby (on Bing Crosby – Victor Herbert 7" 45rpm box set, for Decca in 1950), Lee Konitz and Billy Bauer (recorded for Prestige on 1951 Lee Konitz: The New Sounds 10" and 1956 Conception LP), Stan Getz on the Stan Getz Quartets LP (recorded June 1949 for Prestige LP in 1955), The Hi-Lo's from their On Hand LP (Starlite 1956), Joe Puma with Bill Evans (from the album Joe Puma Jazz Trio and Quartet, on Jubilee, 1957), Dave Brubeck on his first solo piano album Dave Brubeck Plays and Plays and... (Fantasy Records 1957), Ella Fitzgerald with the Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Tommy Flanagan Trio (recorded live in 1972), Paul Desmond (1973 on Skylark), and Sarah Vaughan with the Count Basie Orchestra (on Send in the Clowns 1974).
- The Victor Herbert/Al Dubin tune was recorded by Frank Sinatra on his album with Duke Ellington, Francis A, and Edward K., in 1968.
- The Doors recorded their original song "Indian Summer" (Morrison/Krieger) in 1966, which was released on their 1970 album Morrison Hotel.
- In 1969, Brewer & Shipley recorded their own song "Indian Summer", for the Weeds album.
- In 1975, Joe Dassin recorded the song "Indian Summer" in French, English, Spanish and German. "L'Été indien" was based on the song "Africa" by Toto Cutugno, hence the subtitle "L'Été indien (Africa)" on some single releases. It went on to become Dassin's biggest hit, selling almost 2 million copies worldwide. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood released an English language cover of the song as a single in 1976.
- In 1977 Poco released the album Indian Summer, which contained the title track written by Paul Cotton.
- In 1978 Joe Walsh recorded his song "Indian Summer" for the album But Seriously, Folks....
- In 1981 Al Stewart released his song "Indian Summer" on his first live album Live/Indian Summer.
- In 1983 Belle Stars released a single called "Indian Summer". It also features on the Belle Stars album.
- In 1985 Larry Gatlin and Barry Gibb wrote their song "Indian Summer", which was released on the Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers album Smile (1985), as performed by Larry, Barry and Roy Orbison.
- In 1984, U2 included "Indian Summer Sky" on their The Unforgettable Fire album.
- In 1987 The Dream Academy recorded their song "Indian Summer" for the album Remembrance Days.
- In 1987 the band Opal released their version of The Doors song on the Chemical Imbalance Limited Edition 45 (#003).
- In 1988, Beat Happening released the Calvin Johnson penned "Indian Summer" on their album Jamboree.
- In 1992, The Rippingtons released "Indian Summer" as the fourth track on their album Weekend in Monaco.
- In 1992 the Victor Herbert/Al Dubin tune was recorded by Tony Bennett for his Frank Sinatra tribute album, Perfectly Frank.
- In 1992 Go West released an album called Indian Summer.
- In 1993 Luna released their version of the Beat Happening song on their EP Slide.
- In 1993, the emo band Indian Summer was formed in Oakland, California. They disbanded in 1994.
- In 2002 Pedro the Lion released the David Bazan penned "Indian Summer" on their album Control.
- In 2004 Carbon Leaf released a collection of all-original songs on their album, Indian Summer released on Vanguard Records.
- In 2004 Tori Amos recorded her song "Indian Summer" for the EP Scarlet's Hidden Treasures.
- In 2007 jazz musician Dave Brubeck released his first solo piano album in 50 years on Telark, called "Indian Summer", after his version of the title song by Victor Herbert and Al Dubin.
- In 2007 Manic Street Preachers released their song "Indian Summer" as the third single released from their album Send Away the Tigers.
- In 2007 Ben Gibbard's version of the "Beat Happening" song was included on the Kurt Cobain About a Son: Music from the Motion Picture soundtrack.
- In 2007 classical composer Pyarelal Sharma wrote Indian Summer: 8 Enchanting Pieces for String Quartet.
- Katy Perry's 2009 song "Thinking of You" contains the passage "You're like an Indian summer in the middle of a winter".
- In 2009 country duo Brooks and Dunn released their own "Indian Summer", as the lead single to their fifth greatest hits package, #1s… and Then Some.
- In 2010 Australian record producer Gabriel Gleeson began releasing electronic music and performing under the name Indian Summer.
- In 2011 Loaded (sometimes called Duff McKagan's Loaded) released their song "Indian Summer" on the album called The Taking.
- In 2013 Stereophonics released the Kelly Jones penned "Indian Summer", as the second single from their album Graffiti on the Train.
- In 2014 Tyler Hilton released the album Indian Summer, containing his self-penned title track.
- In 2015 Jai Wolf released his debut single "Indian Summer" on the Foreign Family Collective label.
- In 2020 No Germ Candy released their version of the Beat Happening as a b-side to the Straight Talk single.
Movies and television
- Indian Summer (1972) is a French drama directed by Valerio Zurlini.
- Indian Summer (1973) is a Bulgarian comedy-drama directed by Milen Nikolov and written by Mormarevi Brothers.
- Indian Summer (1993) is a comedy-drama film written and directed by Mike Binder.
- In the 1995 movie Die Hard with a Vengeance, Bruce Willis as John McClane references the phenomenon in order to verify that the policemen he is speaking with are actually European imposters with convincing accents.
- Cheers Season 9, Episode 4 (1990) makes reference to the weather as an "Indian Summer."
- Dawson's Creek Season 3, Episode 5 (1999) is titled "Indian Summer."
- Mad Men Season 1, Episode 11 (2007) makes reference to "Indian Summer"; titling the episode.
- Indian Summers is a (2015–16) UK TV series set in 1932–35, during the final years of British colonial rule in India.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha" (1855) mentions "the tender Indian Summer"
- William Wilfred Campbell's poem "Indian Summer".
- Dorothy Parker wrote her own "Indian Summer".
- Vachel Lindsay wrote "An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie".
- Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote "Our Indian Summer".
- Robert William Service wrote "My Indian Summer".
- Alma Luz Villanueva wrote "Indian Summer Ritual".
- Barry Middleton wrote "Indian Summer".
- Kate Harrington wrote "Legend of the Indian Summer".
- Jayanta Mahapatra wrote "Indian Summer".
- Emily Dickinson wrote some 20 poems about Indian Summer, including "These Are the Days When Birds Come Back", "The Gentian Weaves Her Fringes" and "There Is a June When Corn Is Cut"
- Deedler, William (Fall 1996). "Just What Is Indian Summer And Did Indians Really Have Anything To Do With It?". Detroit/Pontiac, MI: National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. Archived from the original on October 9, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- Matthews, Albert (February 1902). "The Term Indian Summer". Monthly Weather Review. 30 (2): 69–80. Bibcode:1902MWRv...30...69M. doi:10.1175/1520-0493-30.2.69c.
- Sweeting, Adam W. (2003). Beneath the Second Sun: A Cultural History of Indian Summer. New Hampshire. p. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-58465-314-1.
- "Hints of an Indian Summer". BBC. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- "Indian summer". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- Commager, Henry Steele (August 18, 1940). "In New England's Lesser Days" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Indian summer: What exactly is it?". BBC. October 1, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich; Gutiérrez, Fernando (1994). El doctor Zhivago. Barcelona: RBA. ISBN 844730681X. OCLC 434433796.
- Kallio, Jussi (October 13, 2009). "Intiaanikesä". Kotimaisten kielten keskus (in Finnish). Retrieved September 12, 2015.
- "Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla (Ó Dónaill)" (in Irish). Retrieved November 11, 2017.
- "İstanbul'a kış 20 Ocak'ta gelecek!" (in Turkish). Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- Cooke, Chris (March 4, 2013). "Sweat It Out Records founder dies". Complete Music Update. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
he launched his own label Sweat It Out Records, which signed the likes of Indian Summer, Loot & Plunder and Yolanda Be Cool
- "Jai Wolf - Indian Summer". SoundCloud.
- "Too Much Rock Single Series".
- "Where Nobody Knows Your Name". IMDb.
- "Indian Summer". IMDb.
- "Indian Summers". IMDb.
- Sandeen, Ernest (December 1967). "Delight deterred by retrospect: Emily Dickinson's Late-Summer Poems". The New England Quarterly. 40 (4): 483–500. JSTOR 363554.
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- New International Encyclopedia. 1905. .