Springfield: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1943. Item #01265
The First Single Volume Universal Biographical Dictionary
[DICTIONARY]. WEBSTER. Webster's Biographical Dictionary. First Edition. A Merriam-Webster. A Dictionary of Names of Noteworthy Persons with Pronunciations and Concise Biographies. Springfield: G.&C. Webster, 1943.
First edition. Quarto (9 1/2 x 6 5/8 in; 239 x 167 mm). xxxvi, 1697, [1, adv.] pp.
Contemporary binding by Maurin in half prussian blue crushed morocco over blue cloth. Spine richly gilt decorated in compartments. A fine copy.
The publication of Webster's Biographical Dictionary in 1943 was prompted by the decision of editor Philip Babcock Gove to delete all the non-lexicological information within Webster's Unabridged and create separate reference books from the expunged material. Webster's Geographical Dictionary followed in 1949. Both have become standard reference works and testaments to Gove's wisdom that the public needed single compact volumes with this material. Curiously, in this the first edition with upwards of 40,000 names, living notables were included within its pages. That would not change until the dictionary's revision in 1983.