Thursday, March 11, 2010


[Munsey‘s Magazine, January 1915. Via Google Books.]

The top third of the page seems to be selling the secret wisdom of the ancients, not a dictionary. But no, it‘s a dictionary: see the thumb notches?

What also strikes me in the advertisement: the dictionary‘s role in self-education about current events. Note: it‘s 1915.

“War-words” sounds like something from Anglo-Saxon poetry.

comments: 5

Bardiac said...

I imagine knowing what war words meant in 1915 was pretty darned important. I bet a lot of my students wouldn't know the word "armistice" if it bit them on the behind.

And really, what better Christmas present for a nerd?

Elaine said...

I used to tell my kids, "Go look it up in your Funk & Wagnalls," (my little nod to "Laugh-in,") and had to explain the origin of the phrase to them. Lo and behold, years later my son presented me with two volumes of the encyclopedia, one of which was "DUM-xxx." I use them to press leaves.

I'm really only leaving this comment to help you out with the little "1 Comments" issue.

Matt Thomas said...

“With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history. Actually the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia.” —Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

john said...

I wonder how much the sum of all human knowledge cost back then.

Michael Leddy said...

Bardiac, I think we agree that knowing what words mean can be a civic duty.

Elaine, thank you for removing “1 Comments.” I remember that Laugh-In line.

Matt, that Malcolm X passage is near and dear to me — it played a big part in literacy tutoring I was doing many years ago.

John, I got curious too. The answer is $35.00.

Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting.