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Whatever may be thought of it in other respects, Who's WHO IN AMERICA can with confidence claim for itself the distinction of being something new in American book-making, for while, in its basic idea, it counterparts some wellknown foreign publications, it has no American predecessor by which its merits may be judged or its faults condemned.
The title of the book sufficiently suggests that its compilation was mainly inspired by the well-known English annual, “Who's Who" (now in its fifty-second year); but comparison will reveal many modifications and changes of arrangement and treatment, adopted in order to make Who's WHO IN AMERICA more perfectly suited to American conditions and requirements.
The need of some such volume has long been apparent. Biographical compilations are by no means rare, and there are some excellent cyclopædias of that kind in which the notable lives of Americans, from Columbus to the man of a decade or so ago, are narrated. Mingled with them may be found a few sketches of the men of yesterday, and an occasional man or woman of to-day, surrounded by the obituary notices of dead and gone compatriots; but the nature of such large compilations precludes any attempt to keep up with the times so far as presenting daily sought for information regarding living men and women. Yet the latter are precisely the persons whose careers are of the greatest interest to the largest number of people. The men who are making the history of the Nation, its States and its municipalities, who are creating American literature, educating the youth of the country, leading in its religious, scientific, commercial, social, military, naval, productive and artistic activities, and who are in the innumerable departments of useful and reputable effort most representative of American progress: these are unquestionably the people of whom average American men and women desire to know most.
The recognition of this fact has been the incentive to the compilation of this book of the living, the first of its kind to be made upon an American basis of American material. It has garnered in a new and fertile field, and if it has not gathered and brought in every sheaf, it can at least point to a well-filled granary of good American grain.
The book is autobiographical, the data having been obtained from first hands in all save a very few cases, where, persistent effort having failed to elicit personally furnished facts, other sources of information have been used. Even where this has been done the sketch has been submitted for correction and has, in nearly every case, been revised or approved.
To gather, in this authoritative way, the vast amount of material which has been condensed and compressed into these pages has been both difficult and