Does anyone know when and where the word “activist” came into the language? I don’t have access to the OED and the like out here in the Pacific Northwest. Serious, informed, answers only please.
Update: Okay, plenty of email from the OED already. Thanks much (Thomas at U. Iowa was first, by the way). The OED entry is useful, but it prompts more questions. I’m particularly intrigued by this passage:
1907 W. R. B. GIBSON Eucken’s Philos. of Life (ed. 2) App. 170 Eucken deliberately adopts the activistic label as a distinctive philosophical badge. 1909 Athenæum 17 Apr. 469/3 Pragmatism..is tainted with the characteristic activist fallacy of making process as active account for the structural form of process which it implies. 1913 E. UNDERHILL Mystic Way 31 The positive and activistic mysticism of the West. 1915 Times 7 Aug. 7/6 For some, neutrality simply means a passive aloofness. For others, neutrality should be active, and these are divided, in the current jargon, with active and passive ‘activists’. 1949 Theology LII. 363 American Christianity has tended traditionally to express itself in an activist form. 1954 KOESTLER Invisible Writing 206 He was not a politician but a propagandist, not a ‘theoretician’ but an ‘activist’.
I’d still like a better take-out on the etymology if there is one. But I’m also interested in the philosophical ties with Pragmatism. Any serious feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.