Bergen Baldwin Evans (September 19, 1904 – February 4, 1978) was an American lexicographer, a Rhodes Scholar, a Harvard College graduate, a Northwestern University professor of English, and a television host. Evans was born in Franklin, Ohio, and became known as the question supervisor, or "authority," for the television series $64,000 Question. His books include Word-A-Day Vocabulary Builder (1963), and the annotated Dictionary of Quotations (1968).
In the first half of the 1953-1954 television season, Evans hosted the ABC panel discussion series Of Many Things, which as it title indicates focused on a plethora of items of interest to the public. Mitch Miller, the band leader, was among his guests. Bergen also hosted the DuMont version of Down You Go (1951-1955).
Evans's A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage (1957), cowritten with his sister Cornelia, produced an apparent spin-off: the television show The Last Word, which he hosted Sundays on CBS, from 1957 to 1959. Listeners were encouraged to send in questions that pertain to spelling, punctuation, usage, and pronunciation. These questions were put to a panel of experts from various professional fields. Sound recordings of broadcasts for May 18, 1957 and May 25, 1957 are archived with the Library of Congress. The New Yorker commented, "I'd take more pleasure in discussions schola'ly / If Bergen Evans wouldn't laugh so jollily."
Evans was a proponent of skepticism. He penned two works in the field, The Natural History of Nonsense (1946) and The Spoor of Spooks and Other Nonsense (1954).
- Comfortable Words. Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer (New York: Random House, 1962) 379 p. illus. 24 cm.
- A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage, by Bergen Evans and Cornelia Evans (New York: Random House, 1957) viii, 567 p. 26 cm.
- Dictionary of Mythology, Mainly Classical (Lincoln, Neb.: Centennial Press, 1970) xviii, 293 p. illus. 22 cm.
- Dictionary of Quotations, collected and arranged and with comments by Bergen Evans (New York: Delacorte Press, 1968) lxxxix, 2029 p. 24 cm.
- Fifty Essays, edited by Bergen Evans (Boston: Little, Brown, 1936) xii, 363 p. 19½ cm.
- The Life of Samuel Johnson; Boswell, James, 1740–1795 abridged, with an introduction by Bergen Evans (New York, Modern Library, 1952) xv, , 559 p. 19 cm.
- The Making of English. Bradley, Henry, 1845–1923. With an introd. by Bergen Evans, and additional material and notes by Bergen Evans and Simeon Potter (New York: Walker, 1967) vii, 209 p. 21 cm.
- The Natural History of Nonsense, by Bergen Evans (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1946) ix, 275, x p., 1 l. 22 cm.
- The Psychiatry of Robert Burton, by Bergen Evans, in consultation with George J. Mohr, M.D. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1944) ix p., 1 l., 129 p. front. (port., facsim.) 23 cm.
- The Spoor of Spooks, and Other Nonsense. (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1954) 295 p. 22 cm.
- The Word-A-Day Vocabulary Builder (New York: Random House, 1963) viii, 216 p. 24 cm.
- Your Car is Made to Last, by Herman Bishop and Bergen Evans (New York: Putnam, 1942) xi, 186 p. 20 cm.
- "Bergen Evans Biography". Northwestern University Archives. Northwestern University. Retrieved Aug. 25, 2013.
- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present
- "Wide-Awake Sleeper". Time Magazine. 1957-08-05. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- McGinley, Phyllis (May 25, 1957, p. 35). "Speaking of Television: The Last Word". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- Bergen Evans (1904–1978) PAPERS, 1921–1978. biography is attached to the holdings inventory.
- Bergen Evans at Find a Grave
- The Natural History of Nonsense