The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 264
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
more carefully and meticulously than earlier volumes-with some
loss of readability, perhaps, but with consequent gain in scholarly
The present writer has expressed in numerous earlier reviews
his grateful appreciation of the work and his estimate of its high
importance to all whose labors impinge upon any phase of Ameri-
can life. His gratitude continues and his appreciation of the value
of the D. A. B. has increased with each succeeding volume.
Further expression of his opinion, however, would be mere repeti-
tion; therefore he turns-again gratefully, and it may be confessed
with a sense of relief-to a brief history of the enterprise prefixed
to Volume XX by the thoughtful editor.
We are told in this statement that the idea of the Dictionary
grew slowly out of the recognition of the usefulness of the British
Dictionary of National Biography, published 1885-1900. The or-
ganization of the American Council of Learned Societies in 1919
opened the way for launching the undertaking under sufficiently
influential auspices, and Professor Frederick J. Turner proposed
the work at the first meeting of the Council in 1920. A plan was
prepared by a committee, and financial difficulties were removed
by a loan from the New York Times Company, approved by the
President of the Company, Mr. Adolph S. Ochs. The Times agreed
to provide $50,000 a year for ten years, with repayment contingent
upon receipts above the cost of publication. Publication was
undertaken by Charles Scribner's Sons. The actual cost of the
work exceeded $650,000.
The Dictionary contains sketches of 13,633 persons, running
from a few hundred words to more than 10,000 words. It was
written by 2,243 contributors, and was produced under the direc-
tion of two managing editors, one of whom died in service. Volume
XX contains appropriately a sketch of Mr. Ochs, though the editor
with unconscious humor observes that others who died out of
alphabetical order during the progress of the Dictionary suffered
the additional disadvantage of being excluded from the work.
The original plan was to issue supplementary volumes as ma-
terial accumulated. Whether a skeleton editorial organization will
be maintained to keep track of accumulating subjects and prepare
sketches, we are not told. It is greatly to be hoped that the first
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/286/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.