Friday, November 28, 2014

Merriam-Webster in Ebony

Given the all-white world of Merriam-Webster’s 1965 and 1966 Life advertisements, I wondered: did the company ever advertise its products to African-Americans? I checked the Google Books holdings for Ebony and Jet and found a single ad, which appeared in Ebony in October 1967. It’s clearly pitched to parents wanting to do right by their children. No reference to “friends at the office” or “families having fun with word games and puzzles”: here the dictionary is a means to academic success. Which it is. Consider The Dictionary Project.

And now I remember what we had in the house when I was a kid: the World Book Dictionary, and of course, the World Book Encyclopedia. Great bathroom reading.

But that table, that chair: now I’m back in my high school’s library. It’s study hour again.

Related reading
All OCA dictionary posts (Pinboard)

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