Dictionary of American History - Vol. I

Dictionary of American History - Vol. I

Dictionary of American History - Vol. I

Dictionary of American History - Vol. I

Excerpt

AMERICA has never before been so interested in its history as it is today. The many tercentenaries in recent years have helped us to realize that we have a past and are no longer young. That past is essentially our own, different from that of other nations. We have developed a distinct American culture.

In the last few decades our history has been almost completely rewritten. New facts have been discovered; new interests have developed. A generation ago historians had done the merest spade work in many departments of our national life. They were still chiefly concerned with political and military events. Today our whole culture is their province, and the public which reads history has widened with the widening of the historian's vision. Moreover a knowledge of history has become essential to an understanding of much in the daily press and in the radio broadcasts, recording the events of our world hour by hour. Advertisers, sensitive barometers of public interest, have taken to using historical material in their advertisements. History is no longer the concern of a few. If the interests of scholars have broadened, so has the use of the results of their researches, until historical facts are sought for in business offices as well as in halls of learning.

Until now the facts of the new history have not been readily available. They are scattered through thousands of volumes of general histories or special studies. There has been an increasingly insistent demand for some one source to which an inquirer might go to find, and quickly, what he wishes to know as to specific facts, events, trends or policies in our American past, without searching for hours, perhaps unsuccessfully, through stacks of books, even should he have access to them. It is this need which the Dictionary of American History is intended to fill.

Work on it began in the latter part of 1936 and has progressed steadily ever since. The editorial program started with the compilation of a vast index of proposed subjects, in which several hundred historians, representing all interests and all sections of the country, toU+0AD

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