In 1886 James Grant Wilson and John Fiske lamented the fact that the United States of America lacked what several countries of the Old World already had - a truly comprehensive dictionary of national biography. To remedy the deficiency they began to co-edit the massive work which was published serially as "Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography". Its seven large volumes gave the New World, at last, a reference work that ranked with the best German, French and British biographical dictionaries. Other dictionaries of American biography have followed Wilson and Fiske's pioneering achievement, yet none has superseded it. More than a century after its first publication, it remains a valuable source of information on upwards of 15,000 American men and women. The entries in "Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography" range in length from a few lines for obscure journalists, lawyers and railroad officials, to fifteen columns or more for Presidents of the USA. Roughly every 20th entry has a line-drawing portrait with a facsimile signature underneath (very useful for researchers - it seems that one of the editors had a collection of some 6,000 autographs). In addition, there are 61 full-page portraits of the more notable figures. There are also several hundred small pictures of birthplaces, monuments and tombs. "Appleton's Cyclopaedia" is a particularly important research tool for those interested in the less well-known figures, many of whom are not listed in any other reference work.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC