I Like Big Books but I Can’t Deny…

The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedia Lexicon of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged EditionA few months ago, my husband spent a day helping a buddy move. I didn’t expect him to come home with this: The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedia Lexicon of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged Edition, published in 1914.

Weighing in at 26.5 pounds and made obsolete long ago by ever-changing information (not to mention Wikipedia), this book was destined for the landfill until the hubby decided that it should take up new residence in our tiny apartment. Awesome.

Among the tome’s highlights:

  • Its snazzy brown corduroy cover;
  • New insets on “Aëroplanes”, “Injurious Insects”, and “Wireless Telegraphy”;
  • A long-forgotten bookmark with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi;
  • Its definition of the word Canadian: “1: pertaining to Canada, a British possession in America north of the United States; 2: a name given to a type of embroidery made with small pieces of fur, of the skins of reptiles and the like, applied to the surface of the stuff, and combined with needlework done with porcupine quills split so fine that they are flexible, and dyed in various colors.”

The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedia Lexicon of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged EditionI love big books and did in fact spend a significant portion of my childhood reading through the World Book Encyclopedia, volume by volume. But this book is essentially one more thing to dust, and let’s be honest, my tolerance for dusting is already mighty low.

So what becomes of this big-ass book? Like my husband, I’m loathe to throw it out and would prefer to either find it the right home or otherwise make use of it. Does it have any historical significance that warrants preserving? Can it be recycled? Craft project?

The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedia Lexicon of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged EditionLet me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.


About Erin

Bookworm, word nerd, grammar geek. Small town girl, living in a lonely world. Running a race-per-month in 2013.
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11 Responses to I Like Big Books but I Can’t Deny…

  1. Bryce Pugh says:

    DAMN, that’s a big book!
    Second, I may need to see if Jenn will let me adopt it…

  2. Jennifer says:

    I want it! My husband will definitely roll his eyes, and I will no doubt be the target of endless teasing from my friends, but it big and old and I love it. My six year old daughter will light up like a Christmas tree when she sees it. Not to mention, I am sure it is held together by a substance that cannot be recycled. =)

  3. James says:

    It actually has some value….of course according to condition. But, finding someone to buy it on a whim or just as a display might be the best way…..I have one, byt mind is in sad condition.

  4. Bobbie Stang says:

    I have the sme book and everything that I have found says that they are worth anywhere from $250.00 to listed on antique road show for700.00-900.00. Might want to reconsider throwing it out.

  5. G. Reeder says:

    I also have a copy of this “big-ass book”. It is 7046 pages plus a huge supplement section, all wrapped in brown corduroy. I also wonder what to do with it.

  6. Brian says:

    Keep it, It’s a very rare book, selling for up to $800. I got one from a library sale this past weekend. It’s nice to have a bit of interesting history, it reminds me of how things have changed in the last 100 years, and that information wasn’t available like it is today.

  7. Patty R says:

    I have this book. I bought it 20 years ago at a yard sale for $5.00. WOW! Didn’t know it was worth anything.

  8. Nancy says:

    Just an FYI, when it was originally published one had the option to buy the (now antique) stand along with the cyclopedias that fit exactly on the 2 shelves beneath. I know this because my great grandfather bought them for his 6 young daughters when it was first published and my great aunt willed the set to me.

  9. RedHair says:

    Wish I could have one!! This is gorgeous!

  10. James says:

    Funny how this tread has continues for the three years… I believe my copy is still hiding somewhere in my storage of thousands of books we had left over from closing our book shop over 8 years ago.

  11. RedHair says:

    Well, after I replied this thread last August, I got one from eBay for about 120 USD, ( shipment to Taiwan around 70 USD ); I did find it hard to flip around, therefore, I purchased another one from eBay for 120 USD again few days ago, and I’ll dissect the new one into 3 parts for easier browsing 😀

    I must be crazy 😀

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