To be honest, I had forgotten I had this
crappy old book. It is shelved behind glass in the treasure chest bookshelf. Had you asked, I would easily pointed to all of Aunt Margaret’s books in the treasure chest. I’d just forgotten the title– which is one reason I do a once a year hands-on dusting of every book in my library. I rediscovered The Standard Dictionary of Facts (citation below) because I was thumbing through its companion– which just sits out on Grandma Shilling’s old sewing table– The Standard Question Book and Home Study Outlines (citation below) and said to myself, surely I have the Dictionary somewhere– the first edition (under a different title) sold over a half a million copies! One to Aunt Margaret!
The Question Book describes How to Study using it in conjunction with the Dictionary.
The first necessary step is to get at the start the clearest and most definite idea as to what The Standard Dictionary of Facts actually contains.Question Book Preface
Let us jump right in,
shall… . [Hang on a second.] Okay. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
I find simply opening a book of this sort to a random page, looking around, going to another random page, etc., is a fine way to discover just what is in it. As it so happened, I had opened the book to a page containing the heading: RIGHT USE OF SOME COMMON WORDS in the LANGUAGE book. The Competent Specialist who wrote this entry is quite determined that we understand the “Shall-Will” distinction.
I will do means I purpose doing ____ . I shall do means, radically, I ought to do; and as a man is supposed to do that which he ought to do… .p. 197
That’s a pretty radical idea right there, isn’t it? A man is obliged to do what he ought.
In the quite flowery language of the day, the Editor’s Preface to the Dictionary introduces us to the “Ten Books” that cover “the entire range of general knowledge, so classified as to bring the reader or consulter the essentials of many diverse subjects in the most direct and expeditious manner.”
HISTORY, LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, BIOGRAPHY, GEOGRAPHY, TRAVEL, ART, GOVERNMENT, POLITICS, INDUSTRY, INVENTION, COMMERCE, SCIENCE, NATURAL HISTORY, STATISTICS AND MISCELLANY
(I am tempted to turn immediately to the statistics section but as I ought to resist, I shall resist.)
In the LITERATURE book we discover that “Good fairies are called fairies, elves, elle-folks, and fays; the evil ones are urchins, ouphes, ell-maids, and elle-woman.”
In GEOGRAPHY, TRAVEL, ARCHITECTURE– The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the World. At 315 feet and eleven inches, Liberty Enlightening the World is the tallest statue in the world. Peking, or Pekin, is the capital of China. Of course, some of us old enough to remember when that was true!
In GOVERNMENT– A four-page table of Suffrage Requirements Throughout the United States. I studied this in detail the other day and it is fascinating! I took notes. Did you know that in the year 1910, in three states, a citizen– by which was then meant a male citizen (except in eight states which already had women’s suffrage)– had to be able to read, and in some cases, write, English in order to exercise his franchise? Maybe this doesn’t surprise you, but I’ll bet you cannot tell me which were the three states. [Answer below]
INDUSTRY, INVENTION, COMMERCE
Finally, in MISCELLANY I present to you the world as it existed before GPS.
I must admit, that took me by surprise! 13,000 is a lot of miles, nautical or otherwise. Ah. But one did not travel by automobile or aeroplane in 1914. These are distances between the chief ports of the world– and there was not yet the Panama Canal. From New York, one went south, rounded the Straights of Magellan, and turned right.
Do you have “the clearest and most definite idea as to what The Standard Dictionary of Facts actually contains?” Excellent! Next we move forward to the second and third steps of How to Study. This is going to be fun!
The three states in which citizens– in 1910– must have known how to read in order to vote were Mississippi (no surprise), Massachusetts (surprise!), and Connecticut (surprise!). You did not see that coming, did you?
The Standard Dictionary of Facts. Henry W. Ruoff ed. The Frontier Press Company, Buffalo, N.Y. 1914.
The Standard Question Book and Home Study Outlines. The Frontier Press Company, Buffalo, New York. 1919.