Encyclopedia Americana

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Encyclopædia Americana
Gottingen-SUB-Encyclopedia.Americana.JPG
Author Francis Lieber (1800–1872)
Language English
Subject General
Published 1829–33 [1]

Encyclopedia Americana is one of the largest general encyclopedias in the English language. Following the acquisition of Grolier in 2000, the encyclopedia has been produced by Scholastic.

Encyclopedia type of reference work

An encyclopedia or encyclopædia is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge from either all branches or from a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries that are often arranged alphabetically by article name and sometimes by thematic categories. Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries. Generally speaking, unlike dictionary entries—which focus on linguistic information about words, such as their etymology, meaning, pronunciation, use, and grammatical forms—encyclopedia articles focus on factual information concerning the subject named in the article's title.

Grolier publisher

Grolier is one of the largest U.S. publishers of general encyclopedias, including The Book of Knowledge (1910), The New Book of Knowledge (1966), The New Book of Popular Science (1972), Encyclopedia Americana (1945), Academic American Encyclopedia (1980), and numerous incarnations of a CD-ROM encyclopedia (1986–2003).

Scholastic Corporation American publishing, education and media company

Scholastic Corporation is an American multinational publishing, education and media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials for schools, teachers, parents, and children. Products are distributed to schools and districts, to consumers through the schools via reading clubs and fairs, and through retail stores and online sales. The business has three segments: Children Book Publishing & Distribution, Education, and International. Scholastic holds the perpetual US publishing rights to the Harry Potter and Hunger Games book series. Scholastic is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and print and digital educational materials for pre-K to grade 12.

The encyclopedia has more than 45,000 articles, most of them more than 500 words and many running to considerable length (the "United States" article is over 300,000 words). The work's coverage of American and Canadian geography and history has been a traditional strength. Written by 6,500 contributors, the Encyclopedia Americana includes over 9,000 bibliographies, 150,000 cross-references, 1,000+ tables, 1,200 maps, and almost 4,500 black-and-white line art and color images. It also has 680 factboxes. Most articles are signed by their contributors.

Long available as a 30-volume print set, the Encyclopedia Americana is now marketed as an online encyclopedia requiring a subscription. In March 2008, Scholastic said that print sales remained good but that the company was still deciding on the future of the print edition. [2] The company did not produce an edition in 2007, a change from its previous approach of releasing a revised print edition each year. The most recent print edition of the Encyclopedia Americana was published in 2006.

The online version of the Encyclopedia Americana, first introduced in 1997, continues to be updated and sold. This work, like the print set from which it is derived, is designed for high school and first-year college students along with public library users. It is available to libraries as one of the options in the Grolier Online reference service, which also includes the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia , intended for middle and high school students, and The New Book of Knowledge , an encyclopedia for elementary and middle school students. Grolier Online is not available to individual subscribers.

The New Book of Knowledge is an encyclopedia intended primarily for children from 3rd to 8th grades.

History and predecessors

This 1921 advertisement for the Encyclopedia Americana suggests that other encyclopedias are as out-of-date as the locomotives of 90 years earlier. 1921EncycAmericanAd.jpg
This 1921 advertisement for the Encyclopedia Americana suggests that other encyclopedias are as out-of-date as the locomotives of 90 years earlier.

There have been three separate works using the title Encyclopedia Americana.

The first began publishing in the 1820s by the German exile Francis Lieber. The 13 volumes of the first edition were completed in 1833, and other editions and printings followed in 1835, 1836, 1847-1848, 1849 and 1858. Lieber's work was based upon and was in no small part a translation of the 7th edition of the well established Konversations-Lexikon of Brockhaus. Some material from this set was carried over into the modern version, as well as the Brockhaus short article method. [3] [4]

Francis Lieber German-American jurist, gymnast and political philosopher

Francis Lieber, known as Franz Lieber in Germany, was a German-American jurist, gymnast and political philosopher. He edited an Encyclopaedia Americana. He was the author of the Lieber Code during the American Civil War, also known as Code for the Government of Armies in the Field (1863). The Lieber Code is considered the first document to comprehensively outline rules regulating the conduct of war, and laid the foundation for the Geneva Conventions.

<i>Brockhaus Enzyklopädie</i> German-language encyclopedia

The Brockhaus Enzyklopädie is a German-language encyclopedia which until 2009 was published by the F. A. Brockhaus printing house.

Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus German encyclopedia publisher and editor

Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus was a German encyclopedia publisher and editor, famed for publishing the Conversations-Lexikon, which is now published as the Brockhaus encyclopedia.

A separate Encyclopedia Americana was published by J.M. Stoddart between 1883 and 1889, as a supplement to American reprintings of the 9th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica . It was four quarto volumes meant to "extend and complete the articles in Britannica". [5] Stoddart's work, however, is not connected to the earlier work by Lieber. [6]

Stoddart is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

<i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i> General knowledge English-language encyclopaedia

The Encyclopædia Britannica, formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia. It was written by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors. The 2010 version of the 15th edition, which spans 32 volumes and 32,640 pages, was the last printed edition.

Quarto paper format

Quarto is a book or pamphlet produced from full "blanksheets", each of which is printed with eight pages of text, four to a side, then folded twice to produce four leaves. The leaves are then trimmed along the folds to produce eight book pages. Each printed page presents as one-fourth size of the full blanksheet.

In 1902 a new version in 16 volumes was published under the title Encyclopedia Americana, under the editorial supervision of Scientific American magazine. The magazine's editor, Frederick Converse Beach, was editor-in-chief, and was said to be assisted by hundreds of eminent scholars and authorities who served as consulting editors or authors. The first publisher was R.S. Peale & Co; between 1903 and 1906 further editions were issued by the Americana Corp. and the Scientific American Compiling Department, with George Edwin Rines appointed managing editor in 1903. [7] The relationship with Scientific American was terminated in 1911. [8] From 1907 to 1912, the work was published as The Americana.

A major new edition appeared in 1918–20 in 30 volumes, with George Edwin Rines as editor-in-chief. [7] An Annual or Yearbook was also published each year beginning in 1923 and continuing until 2000.

The encyclopedia was purchased by Grolier in 1945. By the 1960s, sales of the Americana and its sister publications under Grolier The Book of Knowledge , the Book of Popular Science, and Lands and Peoples—were strong enough to support the company's occupancy of a large building (variously named the Americana Building and the Grolier Building) in Midtown Manhattan, at 575 Lexington Avenue. Sales during this period were accomplished primarily through mail-order and door-to-door operations. Telemarketing and third-party distribution through their Lexicon division added to sales volumes in the 1970s. By the late 1970s, Grolier had moved its operations to Danbury, Connecticut.

Later developments

In 1988 Grolier was purchased by the French media company Hachette, which owned a well-known French-language encyclopedia, the Hachette Encyclopedia. Hachette was later absorbed by the French conglomerate the Lagardère Group.

A CD-ROM version of the encyclopedia was published in 1995. Although the text and images were stored on separate disks, it was in keeping with standards current at the time. More importantly, the work had been digitized, allowing for release of an online version in 1997. Over the next few years the product was augmented with additional features, functions, supplementary references, Internet links, and current events journal. A redesigned interface and partly reengineered product, featuring enhanced search capabilities and a first-ever ADA-compliant, text-only version for users with disabilities, was presented in 2002.

The acquisition of Grolier by Scholastic for US$400 million, took place in 2000. The new owners projected a 30% increase in operating income, although historically Grolier had experienced earnings of 7% to 8% on income. [9] Staff reductions as a means of controlling costs followed soon thereafter, even while an effort was made to augment the sales force. Cuts occurred every year between 2000 and 2007, leaving a much-depleted work force to carry out the duties of maintaining a large encyclopedia database. [10] Today, Encyclopedia Americana lives on as an integral database within the Grolier Online product.

Editors-in-Chief

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Colliers Encyclopedia</i>

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<i>Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeo-americana</i> Spanish-language encyclopedia

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History of the <i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i>

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<i>Dobsons Encyclopædia</i>

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George Edwin Rines was a Canadian-born editor who grew up and worked in the United States.

The original Encyclopædia Americana was published in the United States beginning in the late 1820s and continued with new editions and supplements into the 1850s. Other than the name, it had no connection with the Encyclopedia Americana that began publishing in 1902 or the Americanized version of the Encyclopædia Britannica published in the 1880s.

References

  1. "Encyclopedia Americana". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. Noam Cohen (16 March 2008). "Start Writing the Eulogies for Print Encyclopedias". New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  3. Encyclopedia Americana, 1963 Edition, vol. 10, p. 317a.
  4. Encyclopaedia Americana; A Popular Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, History, Politics and Biography, Brought Down to the Present Time; Including a Copious Collection of Original Articles in American Biography; on the Basis of the Seventh Edition of the German Conversations-Lexicon. Edited by Francis Lieber, Assisted by E. Wigglesworth. I (1 ed.). Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey. 1829. Retrieved February 24, 2017 via Internet Archive.
  5. "Literary Gossip". The Week : a Canadian journal of politics, literature, science and arts. Vol. 1 no. 12. 21 February 1884. p. 190. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  6. Walsh, S. Padraig (1968). Anglo-American General Encyclopedias: A Historical Bibliography, 1703–1967. New York: Bowker. p. 42. OCLC   221812838.
  7. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Rines, George Edwin". Encyclopedia Americana .
  8. Collison, Robert (1964). Encyclopedias: Their History throughout the Ages. New York: Hafner.
  9. "French Plan to Sell Grolier," PublishersWeekly.com, 11/29/1999; "Scholastic to Acquire Grolier," press release, Scholastic Inc., 4/13/2000.
  10. "Scholastic Has Record Year and Begins Grolier Integration," PublishersWeekly.com, 7/24/00; "Scholastic Sales Surge Continues," PublishersWeekly.com, 1/01/01; "Robinson: Scholastic's Business Remains Strong," PublishersWeekly.com, 10/01/01; "Sales Dip, Earnings Rise at Scholastic," PublishersWeekly.com, 7/29/02; "Scholastic Cuts 400 from Global Workforce," PublishersWeekly.com, 6/02/03; "Scholastic Takes a Charge," PublishersWeekly.com, 7/19/04; "Scholastic Cuts 30 Spots in Library Unit," PublishersWeekly.com, 6/02/05; "Scholastic to Cut Costs as Profits Fall," PublishersWeekly.com, 12/16/05; "Weak Results Prompt Closings, Layoffs at Scholastic," PublishersWeekly.com, 3/23/06.