Famous First Facts

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Famous First Facts is a book listing "First Happenings, Discoveries and Inventions in the United States". The current version of the book — the sixth edition (ISBN 0-8242-1065-4), published in December 2006 — includes more than 7,500 entries on 1,300 pages, organized by five different indexes.[1]

The book was originally published by H. W. Wilson Company in 1933, weighing in at 757 pages and selling for $3.50.[2] The book was created by Joseph Nathan Kane, a freelance journalist who had assembled 3,000 "firsts" into a text that had been rejected by 11 other publishers before it was accepted by its current publisher. The book became a library reference standard.[3][4]

The first edition led to a 1938-39 radio show hosted by Kane on the Mutual Broadcasting System.[5]

The second edition of the book was published in 1950, the third in 1964, the fourth in 1981 and the fifth in 1997.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Famous First Facts, 6th Edition, H. W. Wilson Company. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  2. ^ "FAMOUS FIRST FACTS. A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries and Inventions in the United States. By Joseph Nathan Kane. Illustrated. 757 pp. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company. $3.50.", The New York Times, May 14, 1933. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  3. ^ Severo, Richard. "Joseph Nathan Kane Dies; Master of Minutiae Was 103", The New York Times, September 27, 2002. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  4. ^ Donald Altschiller, "In Praise of Reference-Book Authors." The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 12, 2012 [1]
  5. ^ Joseph Nathan Kane, Current Biography. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  6. ^ Janet Podell and Steven Anzovin, Famous First Facts, H. W. Wilson Company, 2006. p. vii.