A blog post at the City Room Blog at NYTimes.com has received some attention this week. In “Is That an Emoticon in 1862?” the author explores whether a ;) in a transcript of a Lincoln speech is an emoticon or a typo. Some are convinced that this is the earliest example of an emoticon. Most seem to think it’s simply a typo in the form of accidental transposition (e.g., see the comments here and here).
Here’s an image of the text under discussion: