“Ships are safe in harbor but thats not why they’re built”

Context: Story was prompted by asking about any childhood traditions that this person had. 


“So when I was in elementary school my dad would read to me before I went to bed. One day, when reading this book… ugh I don’t remember what it was called. If I had to guess I would say Million dollar put, but that’s a reach. So we were reading, and this quote came up “ships are safe in harbor but that’s not why they’re built”.  My dad loved it, started saying it, thinking about it, and talking about it at the dinner table and everything.”


This piece of folklore is a piece of familial folklore, folklore that stems from a familial relationship and could then be passed down from generation to generation. Additionally, the quote’s ambiguous origins lead to much mystery existing around its true meaning. An in depth study done by Quote Investigator traces the quote back to many different authors, such as John A. Shedd , Grace Hopper, and others.


Quote Investigator. “Tag: John A. Shedd.” Quote Investigator, 21 June 2019, https://quoteinvestigator.com/tag/john-a-shedd/.