The Washington Post

Encyclopedia Britannica: A glowing review from The Post in 1895

Sad news for bookworms and pedants everywhere today, as the world’s oldest English-language encyclopedia is going out of print. Encyclopedia Britannica has been published in heavy volumes for the last 244 years. But with mounting financial losses, the encyclopedia said today it will continue on solely in digital form.

Old volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica. ( Fotopedia/Flickr/Joi Ito )

But in 1895, when the reference book was in its heyday, The Washington Post wrote this enthusiastic review:

“Every one who reads, every one who mingles in society, is constantly meeting with allusions to subjects on which he needs and desires further information in conversation; in trade; in professional life; on the farm; in the family, questions are constantly arising which no man, whether well read or not, can always satisfactorily answer.”

The answers to those questions today may be found by Googling. But in the 1890s the Post pointed its readers to the musty, trusty pages of an encyclopedia. Read the full review below:

DisclaimerThis is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.


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