Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition

The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia is now in the public domain, but the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Contents

Background

The 1911 eleventh edition was assembled with the management of American publisher Horace Everett Hooper. Hugh Chisholm, who had edited the previous edition, was appointed editor in chief, with Walter Alison Phillips as his principal assistant editor.[1]

Originally, Hooper bought the rights to the 25-volume ninth edition and persuaded the British newspaper The Times to issue its reprint, with eleven additional volumes (35 volumes total) as the tenth edition, which was published during 1902. Hooper's association with The Times ceased during 1909, and he negotiated with the Cambridge University Press to publish the 29-volume eleventh edition. Though it is generally perceived as a quintessentially British work, the eleventh edition had substantial American influences, not only in the increased amount of American and Canadian content, but also in the efforts made to make it more popular.[citation needed] American marketing methods also assisted sales. Some 11% of the contributors were American, and a New York office was established to manage that part of the enterprise.[citation needed]

The initials of the encyclopedia's contributors appear at the end of selected articles (at the end of a section in the case of some longer articles, such as that on China) and a key is given in each volume to these initials. Some articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time, such as Edmund Gosse, J. B. Bury, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, Peter Kropotkin, T. H. Huxley and William Michael Rossetti. Among the then lesser-known contributors were some who would later become distinguished, such as Ernest Rutherford and Bertrand Russell. Many articles were carried over from the ninth edition, some with minimal updating, some of the book-length articles divided into smaller parts for easier reference, yet others much abridged. The best-known authors generally contributed only a single article or part of an article. Most of the work was done by journalists, British Museum scholars and other scholars. The 1911 edition for the first time included a number of female contributors, with 34 women contributing articles to the edition.[2]

The eleventh edition introduced a number of changes of the format of the Britannica. It was the first to be published complete, instead of the previous method of volumes being released as they were ready. The print type was kept in galley proofs and subject to continual updating until publication. It was the first edition of Britannica to be issued with a comprehensive index volume in which was added a categorical index, where like topics were listed. It was the first not to include long treatise-length articles. Even though the overall length of the work was about the same as that of its predecessor, the number of articles had increased from 17,000 to 40,000. It was also the first edition of Britannica to include biographies of living people.

According to Coleman and Simmons, p 32[3] the content of the encyclopedia was comprised as follows:

Subject Content
Geography 29%
Pure and applied science 17%
History 17%
Literature 11%
Fine art 9%
Social science 7%
Psychology 1.7%
Philosophy 0.8%

Hooper sold the rights to Sears Roebuck of Chicago during 1920, completing the Britannica's transition to becoming a substantially American publication.[citation needed]

During 1922, an additional three volumes (also edited by Hugh Chisholm), were published, covering the events of the intervening years, including World War I. These, together with a reprint of the eleventh edition, formed the twelfth edition of the work. A similar thirteenth edition, consisting of three volumes plus a reprint of the twelfth edition, was published during 1926, so the twelfth and thirteenth editions were of course closely related to the eleventh edition and shared much of the same content. However, it became increasingly apparent that a more thorough update of the work was required.

The fourteenth edition, published during 1929, was considerably revised, with much text eliminated or abridged to make room for new topics. Nevertheless, the eleventh edition was the basis of every later version of the Encyclopædia Britannica until the completely new fifteenth edition was published during 1974, using modern information presentation.

The eleventh edition's articles are still of value and interest to modern readers and scholars, especially as a cultural artifact: the British Empire was at its maximum, imperialism was largely unchallenged, much of the world was still ruled by monarchs, and the tragedy of the modern world wars were still in the future. They are an invaluable resource for topics omitted from modern encyclopedias, particularly for biography and the history of science and technology. As a literary text, the encyclopedia has value as an example of early 20th-century prose. For example, it employs literary devices, such as pathetic fallacy (attribution of human-like traits to impersonal forces or inanimate objects), which are not as common in modern reference texts.[3]

Notable commentaries on the Eleventh Edition

1913 advertisement for the eleventh edition

During 1917, using his pseudonym of S. S. Van Dine, the US art critic and author Willard Huntington Wright published Misinforming a Nation, a 200+ page criticism of inaccuracies and biases of the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition. Wright claimed that Britannica was "characterized by misstatement, inexcusable omissions, rabid and patriotic prejudices, personal animosities, blatant errors of fact, scholastic ignorance, gross neglect of non-British culture, an astounding egotism, and an undisguised contempt for American progress."[4]

Amos Urban Shirk, who read both the entire eleventh and fourteenth editions during the 1930s, said he found the fourteenth edition to be a "big improvement" over the eleventh, stating that "most of the material had been completely rewritten".

Robert Collison, in Encyclopaedias: Their History Throughout The Ages (1966), wrote of the eleventh edition that it "was probably the finest edition of the Britannica ever issued, and it ranks with the Enciclopedia Italiana and the Espasa as one of the three greatest encyclopaedias. It was the last edition to be produced almost in its entirety in Britain, and its position in time as a summary of the world's knowledge just before the outbreak of World War I is particularly valuable."

Sir Kenneth Clark, in Another Part of the Wood (1974), wrote of the eleventh edition, "One leaps from one subject to another, fascinated as much by the play of mind and the idiosyncrasies of their authors as by the facts and dates. It must be the last encyclopaedia in the tradition of Diderot which assumes that information can be made memorable only when it is slightly coloured by prejudice. When T. S. Eliot wrote 'Soul curled up on the window seat reading the Encyclopædia Britannica,' he was certainly thinking of the eleventh edition." (Clark refers to Eliot's 1929 poem "Animula".) It was one of Jorge Luis Borges's favorite works, and was a source of information and enjoyment for his entire working life.[5]

1911 Britannica in the 21st century

The 1911 edition is no longer restricted by copyright, and it is available in several more modern forms. While it may have been a reliable description of the consensus of its time, for some modern readers, the Encyclopedia has several major errors, ethnocentric remarks, and other issues:

  • Contemporary opinions of race and ethnicity are included in the Encyclopedia's articles. For example, the entry for "Negro" states, "Mentally the negro is inferior to the white... the arrest or even deterioration of mental development [after adolescence] is no doubt very largely due to the fact that after puberty sexual matters take the first place in the negro's life and thoughts."[6] The article about the American War of Independence attributes the success of the United States in part to "a population mainly of good English blood and instincts".[7]
  • Many articles are now outdated factually, in particular those concerning science, technology, international and municipal law, and medicine. For example, the article on the vitamin deficiency disease beriberi speculates that it is caused by a fungus, vitamins not having been discovered at the time. Articles about geographic places mention rail connections and ferry stops in towns that no longer employ such transport presently.
  • Even where the facts might still be accurate, new information, theories and perspectives developed since 1911 have substantially changed the way the same facts might be interpreted. For example, the modern interpretation of the history of the Visigoths is very different from that represented by the eleventh edition which used the now out-of-favor Great man theory,[citation needed] such that there are not any entries for Visigoth or Goth; rather the history of the tribe is found under the entry for Alaric I.

The eleventh edition of Encyclopædia Britannica has become a commonly quoted source, both because of the reputation of the Britannica and because it is now in the public domain and has been made available on the Internet. It has been used as a source by many modern projects including Wikipedia and the Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia.

Gutenberg Encyclopedia

The Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia is the eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, renamed to address Britannica's trademark concerns. Project Gutenberg's offerings are summarized below in the External links section and include text and graphics. Distributed Proofreaders are currently working on producing a complete electronic edition of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

References

  1. ^ S. Padraig Walsh, Anglo-American general encyclopedias: a historical bibliography (1968), p. 49
  2. ^ Gillian Thomas (1992). A Position to Command Respect: Women and the Eleventh Britannica New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0810825678.
  3. ^ a b *All There is to Know (1994), edited by Alexander Coleman and Charles Simmons. Subtitled: "Readings from the Illustrious Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica". ISBN 067176747X
  4. ^ Misinforming a Nation. 1917. Wikisource-logo.svg Chapter 1.
  5. ^ Woodall, James (1996). Borges: A Life. New York: BasicBooks. p. 76. ISBN 0465043615. 
  6. ^ Willcox, Walter Francis (1911). "Negro". Encyclopædia Britannica. Volume. XIX (11th ed.). New York: Encyclopædia Britannica. pp. 344. http://web.archive.org/web/20050513180938/http://77.1911encyclopedia.org/N/NE/NEGRO.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  7. ^ Hannay, David (1911). "American War of Independence". Encyclopædia Britannica. Volume. I (11th ed.). New York: Encyclopædia Britannica. pp. 845. http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=User:Tim_Starling/ScanSet_TIFF_demo&vol=01&page=EB1A895. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 

External links

Free, public-domain sources for 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica text

Internet Archive – Text Archives
Individual Volumes
Volume DjVu From To
Volume 1 DjVu 1 A Androphagi
Volume 2 DjVu 2 Andros, Sir Edmund Austria
Volume 3 DjVu 3 Austria, Lower Bisectrix
Volume 4 DjVu 4 Bisharin Calgary
Volume 5 DjVu 5 Calhoun, John Caldwell Chatelaine
Volume 6 DjVu 6 Châtelet Constantine
Volume 7 DjVu 7 Constantine Pavlovich Demidov
Volume 8 DjVu 8 Demijohn Edward the Black Prince
Volume 9 DjVu 9 Edwardes, Sir Herbert Benjamin Evangelical Association
Volume 10 DjVu 10 Evangelical Church Conference Francis Joseph I
Volume 11 DjVu 11 Franciscans Gibson, William Hamilton
Volume 12 DjVu 12 Gichtel, Johann Georg Harmonium
Volume 13 DjVu 13 Harmony Hurstmonceaux
Volume 14 DjVu 14 Husband Italic
Volume 15 DjVu 15 Italy Kyshtym
Volume 16 DjVu 16 L Lord Advocate
Volume 17 DjVu 17 Lord Chamberlain Mecklenburg
Volume 18 DjVu 18 Medal Mumps
Volume 19 DjVu 19 Mun, Adrien Albert Marie de Oddfellows, Order of
Volume 20 DjVu 20 Ode Payment of members
Volume 21 DjVu 21 Payn, James Polka
Volume 22 DjVu 22 Poll Reeves, John Sims
Volume 23 DjVu 23 Refectory Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin
Volume 24 DjVu 24 Sainte-Claire Deville, Étienne Henri Shuttle
Volume 25 DjVu 25 Shuválov, Peter Andreivich Subliminal self
Volume 26 DjVu 26 Submarine mines Tom-Tom
Volume 27 DjVu 27 Tonalite Vesuvius
Volume 28 DjVu 28 Vetch Zymotic diseases
Volume 29 DjVu 29 Index List of contributors
Volume 1 of 1922 supp Abbe English History
Volume 2 of 1922 supp English History Oyama, Iwao
Volume 3 of 1922 supp Pacific Ocean Islands Zuloaga
Reader's Guide - 1913
Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia
As of 24 October 2011 (2011 -10-24)
Section From To
Volume 1:   A   –   Androphagi
Volume 2.1:   Andros, Sir Edmund   –   Anise
Volume 2.2:   Anjar   –   Apollo
Volume 2.3:   Apollodorus   –   Aral
Volume 2.4:   Aram, Eugene   –   Arcueil
Volume 2.5:   Arculf   –   Armour, Philip
Volume 2.6:   Armour Plates   –   Arundel, Earls of
Volume 2.7:   Arundel, Thomas   –   Athens
Volume 2.8:   Atherstone   –   Austria
Volume 3.1:   Austria, Lower   –   Bacon
Volume 3.2:   Baconthorpe   –   Bankruptcy
Volume 3.3:   Banks   –   Bassoon
Volume 3.4:   Basso-relievo   –   Bedfordshire
Volume 3.5:   Bedlam   –   Benson, George
Volume 3.6:   Bent, James   –   Bibirine
Volume 3.7:   Bible   –   Bisectrix
Volume 4.1:   Bisharin   –   Bohea
Volume 4.2:   Bohemia   –   Borgia, Francis
Volume 4.3:   Borgia, Lucrezia   –   Bradford, John
Volume 4.4:   Bradford, William   –   Brequigny, Louis
Volume 4.5:   Bréquigny   –   Bulgaria
Volume 4.6:   Bulgaria   –   Calgary
Volume 5.1:   Calhoun   –   Camoens
Volume 5.2:   Camorra   –   Cape Colony
Volume 5.3:   Capefigue   –   Carneades
Volume 5.4:   Carnegie, Andrew   –   Casus Belli
Volume 5.5:   Cat   –   Celt
Volume 5.6:   Celtes, Konrad   –   Ceramics
Volume 5.7:   Cerargyrite   –   Charing Cross
Volume 5.8:   Chariot   –   Chatelaine
Volume 6.1:   Châtelet   –   Chicago
Volume 6.2:   Chicago, University of   –   Chiton
Volume 6.3:   Chitral   –   Cincinnati
Volume 6.4:   Cincinnatus   –   Cleruchy
Volume 6.5:   Clervaux   –   Cockade
Volume 6.6:   Cockaigne   –   Columbus, Christopher
Volume 6.7:   Columbus   –   Condottiere
Volume 6.8:   Conduction, Electric   –  
Volume 7.1:   Prependix   –  
Volume 7.2:   Constantine Pavlovich   –   Convention
Volume 7.3:   Convention   –   Copyright
Volume 7.4:   Coquelin   –   Costume
Volume 7.5:   Cosway   –   Coucy
Volume 7.6:   Coucy-le-Château   –   Crocodile
Volume 8.2:   Demijohn   –   Destructor
Volume 8.3:   Destructors   –   Diameter
Volume 8.4:   Diameter   –   Dinarchus
Volume 8.5:   Dinard   –   Dodsworth
Volume 8.6:   Dodwell   –   Drama
Volume 8.7:   Drama   –   Dublin
Volume 8.8:   Dubner   –   Dyeing
Volume 8.9:   Dyer   –   Echidna
Volume 8.10:   Echinoderma   –   Edward
Volume 9.1:   Edwardes   –   Ehrenbreitstein
Volume 9.2:   Ehud   –   Electroscope
Volume 9.3:   Electrostatics   –   Engis
Volume 9.4:   England   –   English Finance
Volume 9.5:   English History   –  
Volume 9.6:   English Language   –   Epsom Salts
Volume 9.7:   Equation   –   Ethics
Volume 9.8:   Ethiopia   –   Evangelical Association
Volume 10.1:   Evangelical Church Conference   –   Fairbairn, Sir William
Volume 10.2:   Fairbanks, Erastus   –   Fens
Volume 10.3:   Fenton, Edward   –   Finistère
Volume 10.4:   Finland   –   Fleury, Andre
Volume 10.5:   Fleury, Claude   –   Foraker
Volume 10.6:   Foraminifera   –   Fox, Edward
Volume 10.7:   Fox, George   –   France
Volume 10.8:   France   –   Francis Joseph I.
Volume 11.1:   Franciscians   –   French Language
Volume 11.2:   French Literature   –   Frost, William
Volume 11.3:   Frost   –   Fyzabad
Volume 11.4:   G   –   Gaskell, Elizabeth
Volume 11.5:   Gassendi, Pierre   –   Geocentric
Volume 11.6:   Geodesy   –   Geometry
Volume 11.7:   Geoponici   –   Germany
Volume 11.8:   Germany   –   Gibson, William

Other sources for 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica text

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