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THE NEW YORK
ASTOR. LENOX AND
R 1937 L
Rercacuna cofeux 544612A
(All rights reserved.)
Delegates to the Colonial Congresses,
This CONSPECTUS OF AMERICAN Biography has been compiled to record in tabulated and easily accessible form the names and terms of office of the highest Officials in every department of American History and Society — the Government, the Law, the Church, the Arts and Sciences. A student of United States history desiring to learn for instance,
Who was U. S. Minister to France in 1848,
the “North American Review,” etc., etc. will search in as many different publications for this inforination, and in nearly every instance he will search in vain.
The idea of such a compilation grew out of the preparation of The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, when it was determined that all such official names of national standing should have a biography in a publication claiming to be national ini its scope, and when it was discovered how few such records of names were available to the general public, and how wofully inaccurate and unreliable even these few records proved to be. The completeness and originality of these Lists and Statistics are the excuse for issuing them in a separate volume. In this busy age of specialization and systeinization, the utility of the reference book is withont question, and it is expected that this Conspectus will supply a long-needed want in the bibliography of American Ilistory and Biography.
The value of any book of reference is in proportion to its accuracy, and in A Conspectus of American Biography the same policy which has been followed with the biographical sketches themselves — that of submitting the final proofs to a competent authority for correction — has been applied ; and even though the list of names was supplied originally by the institution or the organization itself, in every instance the secretary In making the selection of the Miscellaneous Names, such as the Astronomers, Authors, Explorers, Inventors, Missionaries, Musicians, Philanthropists, Physicians, Sculptors, etc., the services of the most eminent authorities, in addition to the Advisory Editors, have been secured to make the Lists complete. As illustrating the carefulness with which this work has been done, the collection of prominent American economists may be cited. Prof. Richard T. Ely of the University of Wisconsin was employed to select the List. He called to his assistance the Economic Seminary of the University, and after duly considering the subject at several of its meetings, the following tests were applied to each individual selected: (1) Has he treated the general field, or what he considered the general field, of economic thought in a systeinatic way, bringing forth new truths or presenting in an original and helpful manner truth already established ? (2) Is he generally recognized as having given, by writing or speaking, a distinct impulse to economic study, which has resulted or promised to result in definite progress ? (3) llas he made a distinctly valuable and original contribution to economic theory in any branch of economic activity? (4) Ilas he, through the mastery and application of the liighest economic philosophy of his time, aided in a significant inanner in solving important public economic problem. Guided by the foregoing criteria, the within List was prepared and submitted to the Publishers. All the Lists of professional names were just as carefully compiled, and it detracts nothing from the value of this volume as a Conspectis of American Biography, that these names should constitute also, an Index of the National Cyclopedia of American Biography.
The additional compilations and tables are in the main entirely original and contribute to the completeness of the Conspectus. Some of the inedal awards in the Roll of Honor in American Ilistory had never been compiled even by the Societies inaking the presentation, and the Publishers were obliged to search the Societies' records at their own expense for the information. . The list of Americans who are mentioned in Literature, will prove a valuable contribution to the subject of American Biograplıy; as will also the collection of Notable Sayings, and Last Words. The list of Public Statues in the United States will appeal to the Art World, giving as it does, the name of every Public Statue and Bust with its location and the name of the sculptor when known. A famous painting always carries the name of the artist in a corner, but very rarely can the sculptor's name be seen on a piece of statuary, and the guide books of our leading cities fail completely to supply that information even if they mention the statue. This list of Public Statues was made during the years of preparation of the National Cyclopedia of American Biography and represents the results of three methods of compilation,- a personal canvass of the cities by the associate editors while employed in collecting material for that publication, a second canvass of every city in the United States by mail, and a compilation from the very full biographies of the sculptors themselves.
The Anniversary Calendar was prepared in 1903 and an edition of 50,000 copies was circulated through the educational world, with an offer of a prize for the discovery of any error in its dates ; so that this collection of historical dates, besides being unique in its arrangement, is unquestionably more absolutely correct in its records than any previous collection. It is intended to present, day by day, the important events in United States history that have occurred on each day in the year, the object in view being a col