Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–11) is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia is now in the public domain, but the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The 1911 eleventh edition was assembled with the management of American publisher Horace Everett Hooper. Hugh Chisholm, who had edited the previous edition, was appointed editor in chief, with Walter Alison Phillips as his principal assistant editor.
Originally, Hooper bought the rights to the 25-volume 9th edition and persuaded the British newspaper The Times to issue its reprint, with eleven additional volumes (35 volumes total) as the tenth edition, which was published in 1902. Hooper's association with The Times ceased in 1909, and he negotiated with the Cambridge University Press to publish the 29-volume eleventh edition. Though it is generally perceived as a quintessentially British work, the eleventh edition had substantial American influences, not only in the increased amount of American and Canadian content, but also in the efforts made to make it more popular. American marketing methods also assisted sales. Some 11% of the contributors were American, and a New York office was established to manage that part of the enterprise.
The initials of the encyclopedia's contributors appear at the end of selected articles or at the end of a section in the case of longer articles, such as that on China, and a key is given in each volume to these initials. Some articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time, such as Edmund Gosse, J. B. Bury, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, Peter Kropotkin, T. H. Huxley, James Hopwood Jeans and William Michael Rossetti. Among the then lesser-known contributors were some who would later become distinguished, such as Ernest Rutherford and Bertrand Russell. Many articles were carried over from the 9th edition, some with minimal updating, some of the book-length articles divided into smaller parts for easier reference, yet others much abridged. The best-known authors generally contributed only a single article or part of an article. Most of the work was done by journalists, British Museum scholars and other scholars. The 1911 edition was the first edition of the Encyclopædia to include more than just a handful of female contributors, with 34 women contributing articles to the edition. The eleventh edition introduced a number of changes of the format of the Britannica. It was the first to be published complete, instead of the previous method of volumes being released as they were ready. The print type was kept in galley proofs and subject to continual updating until publication. It was the first edition of Britannica to be issued with a comprehensive index volume in which was added a categorical index, where like topics were listed. It was the first not to include long treatise-length articles. Even though the overall length of the work was about the same as that of its predecessor, the number of articles had increased from 17,000 to 40,000. It was also the first edition of Britannica to include biographies of living people.
According to Coleman and Simmons, the content of the encyclopedia was organised as follows:
|Pure and applied science||17%|
Hooper sold the rights to Sears Roebuck of Chicago in 1920, completing the Britannica's transition to becoming a substantially American publication. In 1922, an additional three volumes (also edited by Hugh Chisholm), were published, covering the events of the intervening years, including World War I. These, together with a reprint of the eleventh edition, formed the twelfth edition of the work. A similar thirteenth edition, consisting of three volumes plus a reprint of the twelfth edition, was published in 1926, so the twelfth and thirteenth editions were of course closely related to the eleventh edition and shared much of the same content. However, it became increasingly apparent that a more thorough update of the work was required.
The fourteenth edition, published in 1929, was considerably revised, with much text eliminated or abridged to make room for new topics. Nevertheless, the eleventh edition was the basis of every later version of the Encyclopædia Britannica until the completely new fifteenth edition was published in 1974, using modern information presentation.
The eleventh edition's articles are still of value and interest to modern readers and scholars, especially as a cultural artifact: the British Empire was at its maximum, imperialism was largely unchallenged, much of the world was still ruled by monarchs, and the tragedy of the modern world wars were still in the future. They are an invaluable resource for topics omitted from modern encyclopedias, particularly for biography and the history of science and technology. As a literary text, the encyclopedia has value as an example of early 20th-century prose. For example, it employs literary devices, such as pathetic fallacy (attribution of human-like traits to impersonal forces or inanimate objects), which are not as common in modern reference texts.
Notable commentary on the Eleventh Edition
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In 1917, using the pseudonym of S. S. Van Dine, the US art critic and author Willard Huntington Wright published Misinforming a Nation, a 200+ page criticism of inaccuracies and biases of the Encyclopædia Britannica eleventh edition. Wright claimed that Britannica was "characterized by misstatement, inexcusable omissions, rabid and patriotic prejudices, personal animosities, blatant errors of fact, scholastic ignorance, gross neglect of non-British culture, an astounding egotism, and an undisguised contempt for American progress."
Amos Urban Shirk, known for having read the eleventh and fourteenth editions in their entirety, said he found the fourteenth edition to be a "big improvement" over the eleventh, stating that "most of the material had been completely rewritten".
Robert Collison, in Encyclopaedias: Their History Throughout The Ages (1966), wrote of the eleventh edition that it "was probably the finest edition of the Britannica ever issued, and it ranks with the Enciclopedia Italiana and the Espasa as one of the three greatest encyclopaedias. It was the last edition to be produced almost in its entirety in Britain, and its position in time as a summary of the world's knowledge just before the outbreak of World War I is particularly valuable."
Sir Kenneth Clark, in Another Part of the Wood (1974), wrote of the eleventh edition, "One leaps from one subject to another, fascinated as much by the play of mind and the idiosyncrasies of their authors as by the facts and dates. It must be the last encyclopaedia in the tradition of Diderot which assumes that information can be made memorable only when it is slightly coloured by prejudice. When T. S. Eliot wrote 'Soul curled up on the window seat reading the Encyclopædia Britannica,' he was certainly thinking of the eleventh edition." (Clark refers to Eliot's 1929 poem "Animula".) It was one of Jorge Luis Borges's favorite works, and was a source of information and enjoyment for his entire working life.
English writer and former priest Joseph McCabe claimed in Lies and Fallacies of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1947) that Britannica was censored under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church after the 11th edition.
Authorities ranging from Virginia Woolf to professors criticised the 11th edition for having bourgeois and old-fashioned opinions on art, literature, and social sciences. A contemporary Cornell professor, Edward B. Titchener, wrote in 1912, "the new Britannica does not reproduce the psychological atmosphere of its day and generation... Despite the halo of authority, and despite the scrutiny of the staff, the great bulk of the secondary articles in general psychology ... are not adapted to the requirements of the intelligent reader."
Critics have charged several editions with racism and sexism. The eleventh edition characterises the Ku Klux Klan as protecting the white race and restoring order to the American South after the American Civil War, citing the need to "control the negro", and "the frequent occurrence of the crime of rape by negro men upon white women".  Similarly, the "Civilization" article argues for eugenics, stating that it is irrational to "propagate low orders of intelligence, to feed the ranks of paupers, defectives and criminals ... which to-day constitute so threatening an obstacle to racial progress." The eleventh edition has no biography of Marie Curie, despite her winning of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911, although she is mentioned briefly under the biography of her husband Pierre Curie. The Britannica employed a large female editorial staff that wrote hundreds of articles for which they were not given credit.
1911 Britannica in the 21st century
The 1911 edition is no longer restricted by copyright, and it is available in several more modern forms. While it may have been a reliable description of the consensus of its time, for some modern readers, the Encyclopedia has several major errors, ethnocentric remarks, and other issues:
- Contemporary opinions of race and ethnicity are included in the Encyclopedia's articles. For example, the entry for "Negro" states, "Mentally the negro is inferior to the white... the arrest or even deterioration of mental development [after adolescence] is no doubt very largely due to the fact that after puberty sexual matters take the first place in the negro's life and thoughts." The article about the American War of Independence attributes the success of the United States in part to "a population mainly of good English blood and instincts".
- Many articles are now outdated factually, in particular those concerning science, technology, international and municipal law, and medicine. For example, the article on the vitamin deficiency disease beriberi speculates that it is caused by a fungus, vitamins not having been discovered at the time. Articles about geographic places mention rail connections and ferry stops in towns that no longer employ such transport (though this in itself can be useful for those looking for historical information).
- Even where the facts might still be accurate, new information, theories and perspectives developed since 1911 have substantially changed the way the same facts might be interpreted. For example, the modern interpretation of the history of the Visigoths is now very different from that of 1911; readers of the eleventh edition who want to know about the social customs and political life of the tribe and its warriors are told to look up the entry for their king, Alaric I.
The eleventh edition of Encyclopædia Britannica has become a commonly quoted source, both because of the reputation of the Britannica and because it is now in the public domain and has been made available on the Internet. It has been used as a source by many modern projects, including Wikipedia and the Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia.
The Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia is the eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, renamed to address Britannica's trademark concerns. Project Gutenberg's offerings are summarized below in the External links section and include text and graphics. Distributed Proofreaders are currently working on producing a complete electronic edition of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
- S. Padraig Walsh, Anglo-American general encyclopedias: a historical bibliography (1968), p. 49
- Thomas, Gillian (1992). A Position to Command Respect: Women and the Eleventh Britannica. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-2567-8.
- All There is to Know (1994), edited by Alexander Coleman and Charles Simmons. Subtitled: "Readings from the Illustrious Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica". p. 32. ISBN 0-671-76747-X
- Misinforming a Nation. 1917. Chapter 1.
- Woodall, James (1996). Borges: A Life. New York: BasicBooks. p. 76. ISBN 0-465-04361-5.
- Karpinski, L. C. (1912). "History of Mathematics in the Recent Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica". Science 35 (888): 29–31. Bibcode:1912Sci....35...29K. doi:10.1126/science.35.888.29. PMID 17752897.
- McCabe, J (1947). Lies and Fallacies of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Haldeman-Julius. ASIN B0007FFJF4. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- Titchener, EB (1912). "The Psychology of the new 'Britannica'". American Journal of Psychology (University of Illinois Press) 23 (1): 37–58. doi:10.2307/1413113. JSTOR 1413113.
- Chalmers, F. Graeme (1992). "The Origins of Racism in the Public School Art Curriculum". Studies in Art Education 33 (3): 134–143. doi:10.2307/1320895. JSTOR 1320895.
- Fleming, Walter Lynwood (1911). "Lynch Law". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Fleming, Walter Lynwood (1911). "Ku Klux Klan". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Williams, Henry Smith (1911). "Civilization". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Curie, Pierre". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Joyce, Thomas Athol (1911). "Negro". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica XIX (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 344.
- Hannay, David (1911). "American War of Independence". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica I (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 845.
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Free, public-domain sources for 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica text
- via HathiTrust
- Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed. 1911, separate volumes in several formats, on the Internet Archive:
|Internet Archive – Text Archives
|Volume 2||Andros, Sir Edmund||Austria|
|Volume 3||Austria, Lower||Bisectrix|
|Volume 5||Calhoun, John Caldwell||Chatelaine|
|Volume 7||Constantine Pavlovich||Demidov|
|Volume 8||Demijohn||Edward the Black Prince|
|Volume 9||Edwardes, Sir Herbert Benjamin||Evangelical Association|
|Volume 10||Evangelical Church Conference||Francis Joseph I|
|Volume 11||Franciscans||Gibson, William Hamilton|
|Volume 12||Gichtel, Johann Georg||Harmonium|
|Volume 16||L||Lord Advocate|
|Volume 17||Lord Chamberlain||Mecklenburg|
|Volume 19||Mun, Adrien Albert Marie de||Oddfellows, Order of|
|Volume 20||Ode||Payment of members|
|Volume 21||Payn, James||Polka|
|Volume 22||Poll||Reeves, John Sims|
|Volume 23||Refectory||Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin|
|Volume 24||Sainte-Claire Deville, Étienne Henri||Shuttle|
|Volume 25||Shuválov, Peter Andreivich||Subliminal self|
|Volume 26||Submarine mines||Tom-Tom|
|Volume 28||Vetch||Zymotic diseases|
|Volume 29||Index||List of contributors|
|Volume 1 of 1922 supp||Abbe||English History|
|Volume 2 of 1922 supp||English Literature||Oyama, Iwao|
|Volume 3 of 1922 supp||Pacific Ocean Islands||Zuloaga|
|Reader's Guide – 1913|
- Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia:
|Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia
As of 16 December 2014[update]
|Volume 2.1:||Andros, Sir Edmund||–||Anise|
|Volume 2.4:||Aram, Eugene||–||Arcueil|
|Volume 2.5:||Arculf||–||Armour, Philip|
|Volume 2.6:||Armour Plates||–||Arundel, Earls of|
|Volume 2.7:||Arundel, Thomas||–||Athens|
|Volume 3.1:||Austria, Lower||–||Bacon|
|Volume 3.5:||Bedlam||–||Benson, George|
|Volume 3.6:||Bent, James||–||Bibirine|
|Volume 4.2:||Bohemia||–||Borgia, Francis|
|Volume 4.3:||Borgia, Lucrezia||–||Bradford, John|
|Volume 4.4:||Bradford, William||–||Brequigny, Louis|
|Volume 5.2:||Camorra||–||Cape Colony|
|Volume 5.4:||Carnegie, Andrew||–||Casus Belli|
|Volume 5.6:||Celtes, Konrad||–||Ceramics|
|Volume 5.7:||Cerargyrite||–||Charing Cross|
|Volume 6.2:||Chicago, University of||–||Chiton|
|Volume 6.6:||Cockaigne||–||Columbus, Christopher|
|Volume 6.8:||Conduction, Electric||–|
|Volume 7.2:||Constantine Pavlovich||–||Convention|
|Volume 7.8:||Cube||–||Daguerre, Louis|
|Volume 7.10:||David, St||–||Demidov|
|Volume 9.4:||England||–||English Finance|
|Volume 9.5:||English History||–|
|Volume 9.6:||English Language||–||Epsom Salts|
|Volume 9.8:||Ethiopia||–||Evangelical Association|
|Volume 10.1:||Evangelical Church Conference||–||Fairbairn, Sir William|
|Volume 10.2:||Fairbanks, Erastus||–||Fens|
|Volume 10.3:||Fenton, Edward||–||Finistère|
|Volume 10.4:||Finland||–||Fleury, Andre|
|Volume 10.5:||Fleury, Claude||–||Foraker|
|Volume 10.6:||Foraminifera||–||Fox, Edward|
|Volume 10.7:||Fox, George||–||France[p.775-p.894]|
|Volume 10.8:||France[p.895-p.929]||–||Francis Joseph I.|
|Volume 11.1:||Franciscians||–||French Language|
|Volume 11.2:||French Literature||–||Frost, William|
|Volume 11.4:||G||–||Gaskell, Elizabeth|
|Volume 11.5:||Gassendi, Pierre||–||Geocentric|
|Volume 11.8:||Germany[p.841-p.901]||–||Gibson, William|
|Volume 12.1:||Gichtel, Johann||–||Glory|
|Volume 12.2:||Gloss||–||Gordon, Charles George|
|Volume 12.3:||Gordon, Lord George||–||Grasses|
|Volume 12.4:||Grasshopper||–||Greek Language|
|Volume 12.5:||Greek Law||–||Ground-Squirrel|
|Volume 12.6:||Groups, Theory of||–||Gwyniad|
|Volume 12.8:||Haller, Albrecht||–||Harmonium|
|Volume 13.3:||Helmont, Jean||–||Hernosand|
|Volume 13.4:||Hero||–||Hindu Chronology|
|Volume 13.5:||Hinduism||–||Home, Earls of|
|Volume 13.6:||Home, Daniel||–||Hortensius, Quintus|
|Volume 13.7:||Horticulture||–||Hudson Bay|
|Volume 13.8:||Hudson River||–||Hurstmonceaux|
|Volume 14.4:||Independence, Declaration of||–||Indo-European Languages|
|Volume 14.6:||Inscriptions||–||Ireland, William Henry|
|Volume 14.7:||Ireland||–||Isabey, Jean Baptiste|
|Volume 14.8:||Isabnormal Lines||–||Italic|
|Volume 15.1:||Italy||–||Jacobite Church|
|Volume 15.2:||Jacobites||–||Japan (part)|
|Volume 15.3:||Japan (part)||–||Jeveros|
|Volume 15.4:||Jevons, Stanley||–||Joint|
|Volume 15.5:||Joints||–||Justinian I.|
|Volume 15.6:||Justinian II.||–||Kells|
|Volume 15.7:||Kelly, Edward||–||Kite|
|Volume 16.2:||Lamennais, Robert de||–||Latini, Brunetto|
|Volume 16.3:||Latin Language||–||Lefebvre, Pierre François Joseph|
|Volume 16.4:||Lefebvre, Tanneguy||–||Letronne, Jean Antoine|
|Volume 16.5:||Letter||–||Lightfoot, John|
|Volume 16.6:||Lightfoot, Joseph Barber||–||Liquidation|
|Volume 16.7:||Liquid Gases||–||Logar|
|Volume 16.8:||Logarithm||–||Lord Advocate|
|Volume 17.1:||Lord Chamberlain||–||Luqmān|
|Volume 17.2:||Luray Cavern||–||Mackinac Island|
|Volume 17.3:||McKinley, William||–||Magnetism, Terrestrial|
|Volume 17.5:||Malta||–||Map, Walter|
- Flash reader (Empanel) with full-page scans
Other sources for 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica text
- Online Encyclopedia, Net Industries and its Licensors – includes original and contributed articles; the originals may have been edited and the collection is subject to a claimed copyright.
- Encyclopædia Britannica 1911, www.theodora.com – unedited, html version, from scan/ocr of the original text, with interactive alphabetical index, and Google translation into Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Hindi, Arabic and Portuguese.
- 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, StudyLight.org – "Containing 35,820 entries cross-referenced and cross-linked to other resources on StudyLight.org". "Copyright Statement[:] these [EB 1911] files are public domain".
- Encyclopedia Brittanica 11th ed. at the Online Books Page