I was thinking about America and Americans and it struck me that there is nothing more American than apple pie. Well, it turns out, there is nothing American about apple pie, but there is something British about it. What, I am not quite sure . . .
I searched for title word (tiw in the new setup) "apple" and came up with titles of various instruction manuals from on maintaining apple orchards to making the perfect cider. But what struck me was a work called, The Tragical Death of an Apple Pye printed by R. Marshall (1775, London). Searching for R. Marshall (ip), I found that he did not publish according to a particular subject matter. But what stood out was a title, Cock Robin. A pretty gilded toy for either girl or boy suited to children of all ages (1775). Curiously, in 1787, Isaiah Thomas printed a book (in Worcester, MA) called The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, including the Tragical Death of an Apple Pie. What do these odd titles have to do with each other? Were they propaganda against a growing opposition to apples and apple production that culminated in the 1863 Cider Tax in London (a search under suw apples also revealing a title The Lamentable cries of murder'd apple trees, and dying groans of the cider mills. On account of the late excise (unknown publisher, London 1863). Whatever these two works had in common, it was certainly notable enough to warrant a reprint in America, 10 years later. (The sinister nature of apples is further supported by a late 18th British century document that announces that an apple has been found resembling an infant's head, and is on display in such and such a place (sorry I don't have the exact title off hand).
At this point it seemed worthwhile to search the American publisher Isaiah Thomas and it seems he published a series of books involving Cock Robin. (The adventures of, the courtship of and marriage with Jenny Wren, and of course, the death and burial of). Alas! These are a series of children's stories. Though ESTC did not particularly enlighten me regarding the "American-ness" of apple pie I was, at least, led through a journey that could have potentially yielded lurid and politically charged meanings and uses of it. "Apple Pye" remains as wholesome as ever.