DUBIOUS QUOTATION: I have nothing to declare except my genius.

There is no primary source evidence that Wilde made this statement.


One of the most celebrated quotations by anyone is the remark attributed to Oscar Wilde at New York Customs at the start of his lecture tour of America in 1882.

But what exactly did he say, and what is the source of the quotation?

For an update and a new earliest example of the quote, see the blog pages at:


© John Cooper, OWIA



* See also Homage to Genius


This web site was created by John Cooper based on 30 years of private study and countless hours in libraries and online since 2002. He is solely responsible for all original research, writing, editing, and web design.

The site has been used by scholars, institutions, and the media around the world and is the largest online resource on the life and times of Oscar Wilde in America.

The entire project was created without funding, and is freely provided and noncommercial.

Author | Interview | Sources | Blog | Walking Tour NYC

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2023