Kanner opens his pioneering 1943 paper on autism by making a mysterious mention of the year 1938. Recent letters to the editor of this journal have disagreed over a particular interpretation—does 1938 refer to an early paper by Asperger, effectively meaning Kanner plagiarised Asperger? I argue 1938 refers to a paper by Louise Despert. This was not plagiarism but a case of building on Despert’s ideas. Additionally, I suggest his motives for not mentioning her by name were not dishonourable.