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The revision of The Century
Not desired by the publishers, but a necessity
The specialists who made it
THERE is no book so good that it does not have to be revised. To this rule even the English Bible has been no exception. In fact, the better the book-the greater its permanent value-the greater the need of keeping it abreast of the advance of time. Whenever The Century Dictionary, Cyclopedia, and Atlas has been sent to press thousands of changes have been made in the plates in order to bring its material up to date, and now, in the twenty-sixth printing of this great work of reference, such thorough revision and enlargements have been effected as to make it almost a new book.
THE CENTURY CO. had no desire to add a quarter of a million dollars to the million that had been expended upon the original edition; but a conscientious publisher of such a work as The Century Dictionary feels that he is, in a way, a trustee for the public,-that he is not simply the owner of a set of plates from which he can print and sell as many editions as the plates will bear, but that he has set up in the market-place a fount of knowledge which not only must be kept pure and undefiled, but must also be increased at its sources as the need of it increases. So once more The Century Co. called on specialists in every branch of knowledge to bring up to date the reference book which since its issue twenty years ago has more and more grown to be the standard authority.
To what extent this specialization has been carried in various editions of The Century may be seen in such important subjects as aeronautics (three specialists-a Harvard professor of meteorology and two practical aëronauts); anatomy (two specialists in human anatomy, two in comparative anatomy, and one in osteology); archaeology (four, covering Greek and Roman archæology, medieval, North American, South American, etc.); art (five, covering painting, sculpture, decoration, lace-making, engraving, etching, pigments, etc.); and so on indefinitely. Each specialist is responsible for all the definitions, sometimes many thousands in number, in his subject.
Ang American Pottery. Plate with dark blue print of
WHEN The Century Dictionary was issued in 1889-91, after nearly ten years of preparation, it contained upward of 120,000 more entries than any of its predecessors. To these 100,000 have been
added by the new revision. The reason for this notable enlargement is the amazing progress that has been made in all departments of science, of the arts, and of practical life during the past twenty years. New sciences have been created; invention has been astonishingly fertile; exploration has brought to light almost numberless things, and all of them have been named. The "common" words and proper names defined or otherwise described in the new edition of The Century Dictionary, Cyclopedia, and Atlas reach the enormous number of about five hundred and thirty thousand.
It is only necessary to mention the automobile, the aeroplane, the wireless telegraph, for the increase of "common" words to be understood. The word "appendicitis," common enough now, was unrecorded when the first edition of The Century Dictionary was issued. Radium was not discovered until nearly ten years (1898) after that edition appeared. The word is now fully treated in the new revision in an article of 1800 words.
The scholars and men of science who have been editors of special departments in this revision, or contributors to it, are actually more in number than those employed on the original work. Every word has been subjected to critical examination by them, and in this revised edition have been incorporated the changes and additions which they recommended.
WHEN The Century was issued it was at once recognized as the greatest of completed English dictionaries. Its editor, Professor William Dwight Whitney, of Yale University, was the most eminent philologist America had produced, known and honored by all scholars as the foremost exponent of the principles of the growth of language and of linguistic study. While The Century was first of all a dictionary, its broadly encyclopedic treatment of words and things made it much wider in scope and vastly more useful than any mere lexicon.
For example, under the common word case one found in The
of about 530,000
The corps of revisers larger than the original force
The Century greatest of all dictionaries
An encyclopedia with hundreds of
of entries as well as a dictionary
Its thorough revision
the Tichborne case, also called the case of the claimant; and the
The new encyclopedic matter in the enlarged edition includes an addition of 100 per cent. to the article on wheat; 100 per cent. to that on cancer; nearly 300 per cent. to the definition of turbine; 200 per cent. to the article on sculpture; etc., etc.
Thousands of words were thus treated, and as a result The Century
IN 1894 The Century Cyclopedia of Names was issued in one volume and became a part of the dictionary. It is a lexicon of proper names, containing brief articles upon virtually every kind of thing to which a proper name has been given, -names of famous persons, dead and living, of all periods, nations, and vocations; of characters in fiction; of races and tribes; of countries and places, ancient and modern; of rivers, seas, lakes; of battles, wars, treaties; of buildings, statuary, paintings; of books, operas, and plays; of clubs, noted vessels, famous race-horses, the great streets of the world; etc., etc. No such book was ever issued (it is considered the most useful reference volume in the English language); each name is pronounced, its various spellings are recorded, and in many cases its derivation is given. It comprises about sixty thousand titles -more than the titles, of all kinds, comprised in any other cyclopedia.
Glass vessel, showing Air-twist.
With every printing, changes have been made in the plates of The Century Cyclopedia of Names-for new people spring into prominence, wars and revolutions occur, and deaths must be noted. In the present revision the entire volume has been thoroughly revised, and 3000 entries have been added to the original edition, including the names of persons who have come into notice and events which have occurred as late as 1913.
IN 1897 The Century Atlas of the World was added to the set
GOTHIC AND RENAISSANCE TO THE BEGINNING OF
Reproduction, in miniature, of one of the large quarto pages (four times the size of this) of the new revision of The Century Dictionary, Cyclopedia, and Atlas, showing a group of illustrations. This is one page of an insert
of four pages facing the word "furniture."
Its complete revision
Additions to the illustrations
Additions to the revision
and new boundaries have been shown on the old maps. There are also maps showing the interurban electric lines of parts of the United States-a decided novelty in an atlas. The great geographical index
One of the group illustrating Automobiles. Combination Fire Wagon.
has been entirely reset, and now gives the most recent figures for populations, including those of the United States Census of 1910 and of the latest European censuses. It contains about 180,000 entries.
It was hoped to have the new revision of The Century Dictionary, Cyclopedia, and Atlas ready many months before it was, but publication was impossible until all of the latest figures of the United States, and other, censuses were received and tabulated for entry both in the Cyclopedia of Names and in the Atlas.
THE ORIGINAL EDITION of this great work was unapproached by any other reference book in the number and beauty of its more than 7500 illustrations. Nearly half of them were engraved on wood by skilled artists whose craft itself is one of the arts. The artists who drew the pictures were chosen from among those who had made The Century Magazine famous for its art work. Ernest Thompson Seton furnished about five hundred of the illustrations of animals and birds. In the new edition 1900 pictures have been added; and a novel feature is the inclusion of a number of full-page plates, many of them in color and all of them edited by experts.
For instance, opposite the word furniture will now be found a fourpage insert containing nearly fifty pictures of furniture, covering the periods most admired by collectors and connoisseurs, beginning with the Gothic and ending with the early part of the nineteenth century. These pictures not only show examples of the best European schools, but also include the work of American cabinet-makers such as Duncan Phyfe. This was prepared under the editorship of Miss Esther Singleton, whose work on furniture is well known. Mr. John Kimberly Mumford, the expert on rugs, is responsible for an insert in which exquisite Persian and other rugs have been reproduced in the colors of the originals. Full-page groups of illustrations cover the subjects of dogs, automobiles, lace, ordnance, flying-machines, architecture, birds, insects, flags, seals of the States, etc., etc.
OTHER ADDITIONS to the new edition comprise a colored chart illustrating the emigration from Europe to the United States and the immigration into the United States from all countries; four