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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1969
AUTHOR: Anne M. Burford (1942–)
QUOTATION: Too small to be a state but too large to be an asylum for the mentally deranged.
ATTRIBUTION: ANNE M. BURFORD, characterizing the District of Columbia, remarks to a Colorado state convention of wool growers, Vail, Colorado, July 27, 1984, as reported by The Washington Post, July 29, 1984, p. 1.

Burford was a former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Her remark is reminiscent of one reportedly made by James L. Petigru during Christmas week, 1860, in Charleston, South Carolina, when he was asked by Robert Barnwell Rhett, a leader of the secessionists, if he were with them: “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”—Earl Schenck Miers, The Great Rebellion, p. 50 (1958).
SUBJECTS: Washington, D.C.