The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 168
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southwestern Historical Quarterly
some significant contribution to American life in its manifold
In selecting the subjects to be included in the Dictionary, "a
tentative list of names was first compiled from earlier works of
reference." Such a list was recognized as too restricted. It was
confined too exclusively to soldiers, politicians, and preachers.
"A classification was then devised on the basis of occupations,
trades, and professions, as likely under American conditions to
bring to light significant figures in specialized fields of human
endeavor. For each of these groups some authority was asked to
supply a tentative list. Every such list was submitted to other
specialists or to groups of specialists, who dropped some names,
added others, and attempted to make a rating of all."
Concerning the method of treatment, the editor says: "Every
effort has been made to secure fresh independent accounts of even
well-known national figures and not mere compilations of pre-
ceding sketches. Contributors have been instructed to base their
articles wherever possible upon original sources of information, and
to list their chief authorities in carefully considered bibliographies.
They have been urged, also, not only to state, but to appraise, the
circumstances and influences which shaped careers. So far as
space and material permit, they have stressed such matters as
ancestry, parentage, childhood experiences, educational advantages,
physical and social environment. . . . Finally, contributors have
been urged not to rest content with a bare narrative of events, but
so far as possible to leave the reader with a definite impression of
the personality and achievements of the subjects of each bio-
These somewhat extended quotations from the preface faith-
fully describe the plan and method of compiling the Dictionary.
On the whole, the editor and his associates have been singularly
successful in carrying out their purposes. The selection of subjects
is comprehensive; a large proportion of the writers are specialists,
authoritatively fitted to prepare the sketches which they have
written; and the articles are surprisingly interesting.
The sketches vary in length, from a few hundred words to sub-
stantial biographies of 10,000 words. In the matter of inclusion,
it seems to this reviewer that there are a few sins of commission-
for example, it is hard to get the point of view that discovers in
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931, periodical, 1931; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/m1/178/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.