American & British

Catholic dictionaries and encyclopedias generally fall into two major categories: those primarily concerned with theological topics, and those treating a wide variety of topics (usually in the humanities) from a Catholic point of view. This chapter lists only the latter. (See Chapter II for the former.) Within the second category there is a subdivision represented by the difference, for example, between the New Catholic Encyclopedia (A105) and Der Grosse Herder (A123). The first is primarily a religious work in which the editors have omitted any topic they considered irrelevant; the second deliberately covers all topics, but with a religious viewpoint where applicable. Small, one-volume dictionaries not limited to strictly theological terms are also included here.

Two works dominate the English-language list of encyclopedias- The Catholic Encyclopedia (A89) and the New Catholic Encyclopedia (A105), which does not completely replace the older work.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia and its Makers (A179, p. liv, ff.), the actual work on the Encyclopedia was begun in 1905 when the editors held their first meeting in New York and organized the Robert Appleton Company (later the Encyclopedia Press), which remained an entirely independent company formed for the special purpose of publishing and distributing the Encyclopedia. After 1922 when the last volume had appeared and it had published a biographical directory of its contributors (The Catholic Encyclopedia and its Makers) and two supplements (A91) and (A92), the Company was dissolved.

The next two attempts to compile a similar work (in 1927-29 and 1936) were by different companies although some of the same persons were involved in editing and contributing to them. The first of these, Universal Knowledge (A114), was modeled after Der Grosse Herder; only two volumes ever saw print. In 1936 the Gilmary Society of New York issued one promising volume of an expanded and revised edition (A93), but finally had to be content with issuing a loose-leaf Supplement (A92) to the original Encyclopedia.

Finally, in 1958, Cardinal Stritch suggested the undertaking of a new Catholic encyclopedia to the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America ("Background information on the New Catholic Encyclopedia" Catholic Library World, XXXIX [January, 1968], p. 358), which approved a plan for editing it under the auspices of the University. They purchased the right to use the name and the remaining sets of the old Catholic Encyclopedia from the Gilmary Society, and an arrangement was reached with the McGraw-Hill Book Company to publish the work while leaving full editorial control of the contents to the University. The rector of the University, Bishop William J. McDonald, was appointed editor in chief, and the work was begun. But by 1962, it became apparent from the backlog of editorial work that a change was in order; a greatly expanded, full-time staff of editors was organized under the Rev. John P. Whalen, and the editing was finally completed in 1966, only one year behind the projections made in 1959. In the late spring of 1967, the sturdily bound and handsomely printed, fifteen¬volume set went on sale. In 1974 a supplementary volume appeared(A106), and another (A107) in 1979.

Of the more popular one-volume dictionaries and encyclopedias, probably the most widely known and useful are Attwater's Catholic Dictionary (A86), Addis' A Catholic Dictionary (A85) and the Catholic Encyclopedia Dictionary (A94). Unfortunately, these are out of date, and none of the more recent works are as well done. Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary (A102) falls short of filling this gap because of serious omissions and a theologically conservative stance.

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