Talk:Collier's Encyclopedia

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Jmabel remarks[edit]

Side note: I grew up with this one: my dad was a VP at Crowell Collier Macmillan. And, no, I'm not the author of the article. -- Jmabel 06:45, Jul 21, 2004 (UTC)

So, I happen to know but can't cite from anywhere: Collier's Encyclopedia in its heyday relied heavily on door-to-door sales and the like. In the late 1960s, top encyclopedia salesmen earned more in a year than the company's executives. Then the U.S. government cracked down heavily on high-pressure sales tactics. For example, all large purchases had a three-day opt-out clause. Far worse than that for Collier's sales force, they actually were required by a court order to show all prospects a piece of paper that listed several high-pressure sales tactics the company had used in the past. Needless to say, sales fell off dramatically.

Does anyone have any idea where I might look for a citation for any of this? -- Jmabel | Talk 00:52, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

FTC cease and desist order found here: (see esp p36 and 56). Other interesting stories can be found with search term "p f collier sales pitch" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:25, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

First edition?[edit]

I question the accuracy of the statement that this encyclopedia was first published in 1950-51, now that we have added articles from the 1921 edition to Wikisource. Eclecticology 18:01, 2005 Jan 10 (UTC)

The Wikisource articles are from Collier's New Encyclopedia. There seems to be no continuity between the two. Gzornenplatz 19:24, Jan 10, 2005 (UTC)


I've tried to edit recent massive and mostly useful additions by User:HQCentral to be a little closer to Wikipedia style. The article has become a bit much of an essay, though a very informative one. - Jmabel | Talk 03:08, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I have to say: I hope this isn't plagiarized. " The binding—black Fabrikoid with red panels and gold lettering—is both sturdy and attractive" is so not Wikipedia style that it leaves me wondering a little. - Jmabel | Talk 03:10, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the complements. Rest assured, though, that it's not plagiarized. There's nothing wrong with being different (I think the opinions make it more informative). I won't fight it, though.—HQCentral 05:15, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
  • About the tags, though: They're cluttering up the entry, making it hard to read and edit. They also make it look like it isn't sourced--which it is. I think you've made your WP:POINT, so it's time to move on. I also changed the subheadings to level three because the sections aren't chapter headings, they're what is called subheadings.—HQCentral 03:28, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
    They look like perfectly valid requests for citation to me, clutter or not; please do provide acceptable citations before removing them (or just eliminate the statements in question, but that's another issue). Kirill Lokshin 03:29, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
    The tags serve no purpose because I'm not going to go to the library and double-check the references. I shouldn't have to, either.--HQCentral 03:35, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
    • Then the tags should remain, if only to point out that the article contains unattributed opinions, which goes against WP:NPOV, one of the few things that is not merely a guideline but a policy. - Jmabel | Talk 23:08, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

We now know that [User:HQCentral|HQCentral]] is the sockpuppet of a notorious plagiarizer. So Jmabel's concern about plagiarism was well-founded. -Will Beback 05:21, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Born In East L.A.[edit]

A set of Collier's appears in Rudy's (Cheech Marin) house in the movie Born in East L.A.[1]

Sales other than US[edit]

I am sitting beside a copy of Collier's which I purchased in the 1960's - here in the UK. The high-pressure sales mentioned above obtained here also. I find it still a worthwhile purchase, even though much is less current than it was. We also had the year-books for some five years afterwards, although they tended to be (unlike the encyclopaedias themselves) more US-oriented. I find the index of great value when checking to see if there are any places with similar names in the US/Canada to those in UK, but I do use them a great deal otherwise Peter Shearan 11:58, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

To my shame I was briefly a student Colliers salesman in Birmingham, UK around 1965-66. We had a multi-page script to remember off by heart & still do. FWIW, we weren't selling the things -we were giving them away. It's just that people had to buy the year book to show a commitment & that (of course) cost a few £hundred. The office was in John Bright St and I believe the script referred to the Crowell, Collier, Macmillan publishing corporation of Chicago. Pay was commission only. Many of the sales techniques were sound but I exclude the habit of stapling the cancelation clause so it was impossible to use. Part of the technique was to ask the customer what they were interested in and immediately explain this was extensively covered -something which Wikipedia can now perhaps claim & at lower cost! The paper was plastic coated & non shiny -good quality, unfortunately we were trained on the UK version & sent out with the US version which as Peter suggests was very different in key areas like politics & sport etc. We were also told that UK law allowed salesmen to ring bells up to 23:58 at night. The Solihull news published an article "Student encyclopedia salesman quit job after one night" which described complaints at this time. JRPG (talk) 20:36, 28 April 2014 (UTC)


I've added a few {{fact}} tags as a start as this article makes many assertions with no inline references. Reads as probably true but has poor referencing. I see from the page history and the above that this is an ongoing issue - I think that there needs to be an understanding that, for wikipedia, a sentence reading XXX is YYY is unsupportable, in most cases, without a reliably sourced reference. Please leave the tags until someone finds the references - Peripitus (Talk) 12:28, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I just reverted you. Can you point to the part of the policy (WP:CITE) that states that references must be inline?--HQCentral 01:06, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Checkout the quick reference guide. You either need to use Harvard, embedded links or footnotes - all of which are inline citations. Without inline citations all the article has is a bibliography. I do suggest you revert yourself here after reading reference guide - Peripitus (Talk) 05:43, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Status of article, possible sources[edit]

I gather that HQCentral has now been characterized as a "serial plagiarizer" and his edits have all been reverted (not by me), so we are back to little more than a stub, as we were when he started working on this. I'm guessing that the three references he cited are nonetheless valid, if anyone wants to follow them up.

  • American Reference Books Annual, 1992, pp. 16-17
  • Reference Sources for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries, 5th ed. (Chicago: American Library Assn., 1992), pp. 30-31.
  • William A. Katz, Introduction to Reference Work, vol. 1, pp. 242-43

- Jmabel | Talk 04:40, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Great Encyclopedia terrible article[edit]

This was a great encyclopedia, but this is a terrible article. I'll try to help out. I mean I knew more before I started reading the article. Aaron Bowen 16:58, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

We had to peel it way back because it was "polluted" by a contributor who apparently was violating copyrights. The problem is finding citable sources. Someone should find reviews in library journals. - Jmabel | Talk 07:06, 29 March 2007 (UTC)