Merriam-Webster School Dictionaries

These are Merriam-Webster school dictionaries from the late 1800s and early 1900s, covering elementary school, junior high school, and high school ages. I also own elementary dictionaries from the 1950s and 1960s.


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Posted in D. Books, Language | Tagged

Merriam-Webster’s 3rd Collegiate


This is the third edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, published in 1923. M-W began issuing the Collegiate as the largest abridgement of the unabridged International dictionary in the 1890s and released a new edition about every 10 years. The latest is the 11th edition, and the 12th is overdue, perhaps because online resources have changed the face of reference publishing. I have every Collegiate except the 1st, 2nd, and 4th, and I’m always searching for them, an enjoyable quest. This link to the M-W gives brief history of the company and its fine dictionaries. More detailed history is available inside the dictionaries. I keep hoping for a new unabridged — the latest, the Third New International, was published in 1961 — but M-W says its online version is the successor to the latest unabridged, which is understandable. I will always consult my print books.

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Posted in D. Books | Tagged

Dictionary back pages

I like to study the advertisements for other dictionaries in the backs of my old dictionaries.IMG_3127

Posted in D. Books, Language

News from Goat Hill Private Library

This was a column in The Alliance Review in March 2011.

Woolgathering and Widdershins

News from Goat Hill Private Library

IMG_3110Greetings, friends of Goat Hill Private Library. I would like to inform you of changes and matters of policy at the library.
First, due to our having to repeatedly chase down borrowed books, we have instituted a lending-discouraged policy. Recently we sent an overdue notice to a patron who has had a book since September. It was a book the library acquired in July, so the patron has had the book longer the library has had it. This patron was notified to return the book and was told his borrowing privileges are compromised.
Henceforth, only the library owner’s mother may borrow materials. All other friends of Goat Hill may use library material only on the premises. Friends may take materials outside but must be careful to not let the goat eat any books.

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Posted in Language

A lasting monument to the English language

This is an old column from The Alliance Review, one of several posts about reference books.

Woolgathering and Widdershins

Published March 30, 2004
It was a foggy London evening, Guy Fawkes Day 1857, when a group of gentlemen sowed the seeds of one of the great literary works of the English language.
The Philological Society met on Nov. 5 — the day the Catholic Fawkes tried to blow up the Parliament building in 1605 — to hear a speech by Richard Chenevix Trench. On that night, perhaps those men who gathered at the London Library, regarded as the finest private collection of books in the world, quietly celebrated the English way of life that was preserved in 1605 and which they hoped to mark, define and commemorate in an audacious project. Trench’s speech was titled “On Some Deficiencies In Our English Dictionaries” and was the genesis of the Oxford English Dictionary, the massive historical record of the English language.

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Posted in Language

A different moon for the movies

I keep noticing that the moon in movies is always full. Last night we watched a show where it was full in one scene and still full two weeks later. Someone should tell movie makers that the moon goes through phases and rises at sunset only when it is full. The full moon has good visual appeal, but I love those laser-thin slices just as much.

Posted in Science and Nature

Flat Luci Visits Schoenbrunn

img_4161 Flat Luci accompanied me to Schoenbrunn Village on Oct. 16 when I played music for the Colonial Trade Fair.
Schoenbrunn was founded by Moravian missionaries from Pennslyvania in the 1700s to convert Delaware Indians to Christianity. It has been rebuilt and is a historical site.
The fair is held every year on the third weekend of October, and I usually play for the fair, in the church.
The village is just south of New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County, near the Tuscarawas River. That river rises near Hartville and flows west then south. It joines the Walhonding at Coshocton to form the Muskingum, which enters the Ohio at Marietta.

You can see my photos from last year’s fair on this blog at


Posted in Flat Luci