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Copyright, 1901, by A. N. Marquis & Company.
Those interested in the productiop of the book looked forward, with strong confidence, to a favorable reception for it. But the event outran the expectation. The highest hopes that had been entertained scarcely approached the actual cordiality and enthusiasm with which the book was received by the critics and the public. The amount of attention given to the work by literary critics showed that Who's WHO IN AMERICA was regarded as one of the most important publications of the year 1899. Indeed, one of the foremost American journalists characterized it as being entitled to first place in the literary output of that year. It was everywhere hailed as a valuable addition to the list of indispensable reference books. The approving critics included not only those connected with the great newspapers, but also those of the leading literary, scientific, and technical magazines and reviews of America and Europe.
Gratifying as was this wide approval by critics and literary experts, a still more valuable form of endorsement has appeared in the voluntary testimonials to the usefulness of the book which have come in connection with the actual daily use of the old and the preparation of the new volume. These testimonials now reach into the thousands, and show a high degree of appreciation, which has been a powerful inspiration toward painstaking care in the work of the present volume.
The Preface to the 1899-1900 edition somewhat timidly intimated that periodical revisions of the book would be made, and suggestions along that line were invited. A few months after the book had been issued it became apparent that a new edition was demanded, and as time went on it became more and more certain that the revision must take the form of an entirely new book, so numerous were the additions and so extensive the changes required.
The results of the revision and enlargement of Who's WHO IN AMERICA are now placed before the reader in the present book. As to the enlargement, the increase in the number of biographical pages from 827 (including Addenda) in the first to 1,280 (including Addenda) in the present edition, and of names from 8,602 in 1899 to 11,551 in 1901, bears sufficient testimony. Of the 8,602 names in the old edition, 752 have been omitted from the present one. Of these 498 are known to have died, and their names are recorded in the Necrology of the present volume. Among the other 255 who have been dropped are some who were included in the first edition solely because they then belonged to some one of the arbitrary classifications embraced in the book. Being no longer in those classifications, they have been omitted. There are also a few omissions of people whose present whereabouts careful inquiry has failed to disclose. Some of these may also be dead.
With reference to the extent to which revision has been carried out, it may be stated that of the 7,850 biographies appearing in both editions not more than 10 per cent are entirely unchanged. Each of these 7,850 biographies has been sent to its subject with a request for revisions and additions. Many of the life-sketches have been entirely rewritten; mistakes have been rectified wherever discovered, and new matter has been added. A feature of the volume is the insertion of the parentage in every sketch for which the necessary information was obtainable. The parentage was not given in the first edition. In the case of authors a strong effort has been made to secure complete lists of all of their published books. To this end special blanks were sent to all authors, asking them for lists of their books with dates of original publication and names and addresses of present publishers. The response to the first part of the request was so general that (although there are still some omissions) the present edition of Who's Who IN AMERICA is believed to contain the most complete list of living American authors and their works which is now extant. The addition of dates to the titles of the books is a new feature which has been added wherever the information was furnished. The adding to the date of a key-symbol indicating the name (and address where known) of the firm publishing the latest edition of the book is a unique innovation which it is believed will be of much value to authors, librarians, publishers and all interested in books. The only thing to regret in connection with this feature is the failure of numerous authors to furnish the information required to make this apply to every book listed.
With regard to the addition of new names, the endeavor has been to adhere to the high standard which governed the selection of names in the first edition. The idea of the plan pursued has been to make the inclusiveness of the work more perfect, but at the same time to retain its features of exclusiveness. Some lines of distinction are much more extensively represented than before: this being notably the case with reference to artists and authors.
The enlargement of the book is not the result of padding, but of extended scope. In fact, the necessity for careful condensation has been more apparent in the new than in the old book, and a much more extensive use of abbreviations has been made. These abbreviations are, however, of a simple and conventional character, and will in almost every case be at once understood, without need of reference to the list of abbreviations, which can be consulted readily if any difficulty of interpretation shall be found.
The invitation extended in the first edition for suggestions of improvement, new names, notice of omissions or of errors, etc., has called forth much correspondence which has been incalculably helpful in the work of the present volume. It is, of course, true that not all of the good suggestions could be adopted. Some of them, excellent in themselves, would have required a large increase of space. As it is, the enlargement has exceeded expectations in regard to the space required by the additions and improvements incorporated in this edition.
One of the suggestions made was that a classified index be appended in which
the names should be listed according to occupation or line of distinction. The value of this suggestion was so obvious that considerable test work was done with a view to its adoption. To do the work thoroughly it was found, however, that nearly every name would have to be listed from two to four times, requiring approximately about 35,000 entries, or about 100 pages. It was impossible to spare so much space, and the work was reluctantly abandoned.
The work of selecting new names and procuring biographical material has been prosecuted with the utmost zeal and care; but, while the results have been very gratifying, it is still true that there are names which should be included that are absent. In a country of over seventy-six millions of people even approximate success in the judicious selection of a certain class of distinguished names is a difficult task; and after they are selected appropriate data in regard to them are not always procurable. Therefore, even with the utmost effort, there will always be an unrecorded remnant.
The labor connected with preparing a work of this kind is arduous, and the gathering of so much information and reducing it to condensed statement involve efforts that are strenuous and serious. The task is, however, not unrelieved by amusing incidents and grotesque side-views of various idiosyncrasies, and of humorous phases of character and thought. Many of these revealed themselves in revisions of sketches which appeared in the first edition. To one man, recorded in that edition as “married,” without further particulars, a proof was sent for revision, with a note: “Please give the maiden-name of your wife.” With the return of the corrected proof came the following: “I am sorry I can not comply with your request to give you my wife's maiden name, as she is now traveling in Europe."
An amusing comment on another sketch returned without revision was: “This is correct, and is, it seems to me, just what such a note should be: careful, accurate, no bouquets, no bricks." Not quite so complimentary was the following from a leading western poet and critic: “I take pleasure in revising the sketch of myself in the game of Literary Tag, or Who's It.”
In the Information Blank sent to those requested to furnish biographical data the line which was oftenest overlooked was that of "date of birth.” Not only did many ladies ignore it, but some men also. One lady wrote in: "I am not young enough to be careless, nor old enough to be reckless.” Several wrote in the line such comments as "not necessary," or "leave out.” One lady, to whom the printed sketch from the first edition was sent for revision, wrote underneath it: "Please substitute the enclosed typewritten sketch, which is much better.” Examination revealed the fact that the typewritten matter was identical with the printed slip, except that the date of birth was omitted.
The death of 498 out of a total list of names numbering 8,602, will perhaps seem, at first glance, to be a rather alarming bill of mortality, being about 29.4 to the 1,000 per annum. But when it is considered that the book is made up of men and women of achievement, and that a large number are people who have led lives of great activity and are now old, the number is after all not surprising. One of the noteworthy facts which came to light in compiling the Necrology is