" For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn" was not written by Hemingway
I know people like to point to this title as the most perfect short story, but I can tell you from experience as a parent that a lot of kids never wear the shoes parents buy for them.
Advertisements closely matching the abbreviated text above did appear in classified sections over the decades. Here is an example published in 1906. Intriguingly, this section of short ads was labeled: Terse Tales of the Town: 2
For sale, baby carriage; never been used. Apply at this office.
An interesting precursor reflecting the idea and the compressed format of the short-short story was printed in 1917 in a periodical aimed at writers and editors called “The Editor”.” William R. Kane published a piece about striving for originality when creating short stories. He outlined a tale about a grief-stricken wife who lost her baby. . . . .