Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography is a six-volume collection of biographies of notable people involved in the history of the New World. Published between 1887 and 1889, its unsigned articles were widely accepted as authoritative for several decades. Later the encyclopedia became notorious for including dozens of biographies of people who had never existed. The apostrophe in the title is correctly placed and indicates that more than one person, i.e. a company, authored the work.
The Cyclopædia included the names of over 20,000 native and adopted citizens of the United States, including living persons. Also included were the names of several thousand citizens of all the other countries of North and South America. The aim was to embrace all noteworthy persons of the New World. The work also contained the names of nearly 1,000 people of foreign birth who were closely identified with American history. The Cyclopædia was illustrated with about sixty full-page portraits supplemented by some 1,500 smaller vignette portraits accompanied by facsimile autographs, and also several hundred views of birthplaces, residences, monuments, and tombs famous in history.
None of the articles are signed either with names or with initials. The clue to authorship is obtained, when obtained at all, through a list of contributors and their contributions arranged alphabetically as to contributors. One reviewer found this a rather inconvenient method, complaining that the finding of the author of a particular sketch often involved a voyage of discovery through the entire list. These lists are searched in vain, however, for the authors of many sketches, including the one of President Grover Cleveland.
Appletons' Cyclopædia is notorious for including an estimated 200 biographies of fictitious persons. The first to discover these fictions was John Hendley Barnhart, in 1919, who identified and reprinted, with commentary, 14 biographical sketches of supposed European botanists who had come to the New World to study in Latin America. By 1939, 47 fictitious biographies had been discovered, though only the letters H and V had been systematically investigated. The status of fictions in Appletons' Cyclopædia was assessed by Margaret Castle Schindler, of Goucher College, in 1937. According to Schindler
The writer (or writers) of these articles must have had some scientific training, for most of the creations were scientists, and sufficient linguistic knowledge to have invented or adapted titles in six languages. He was certainly familiar with the history and geography of South America. Most of the places visited by his characters are real places, and most of the historical events in which they participated are genuine. However, he sometimes made mistakes by which his fraudulent work can be detected.
Some, such as Huet de Navarre, were about a real person but in most details were fictional. George Zorn identifies the author of "phantom Jesuit" articles as William Christian Tenner, and identifies 42 fictitious subjects of this genre. Dobson suggests Hermann Ritter, who appears as the source of “Articles on South and Central Americans” beginning with volume 3, as a likely author of the fictitious articles. Dobson notes that the first two volumes, where Juan G. Puron appears in this role, are practically free of problem articles, although Barnhart identifies the article on “Dávila, Nepomuceno” as suspicious, but not fictitious beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Contributors to Appletons' Cyclopædia were free to suggest new subjects and were paid according to the length of the article. Articles were only checked for form by the editorial staff. While conceding that Appletons' Cyclopædia was a "valuable and authoritative work," and that her results should not reflect on the many authentic articles, Schindler noted that articles on Latin American subjects should be used cautiously until verified against other sources.
Appletons' Cyclopædia incorporated an earlier work by Francis Samuel Drake called Dictionary of American Biography (not to be confused with a more modern and comprehensive work of the same name). The original of this work was issued in 1872, and along with the original material, Drake's latest corrections, and all the materials that he had gathered for a new edition, were used in the Cyclopædia. The original work had 10,000 biographies.
The first edition of the Cyclopædia was published between 1887 and 1889 by D. Appleton and Company of New York City. The general editors were James Grant Wilson and John Fiske; the managing editor from 1886 to 1888 was Rossiter Johnson. A seventh volume, containing an appendix and supplementary lists, and thematic indexes to the whole work, was issued in 1901.
Appleton's or Appletons' may refer to several publications published by D. Appleton & Company, New York, including:
Appletons' Journal (1869–1881)
Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography (1887–1889)
Appleton's Magazine (1905–1909)
Appletons' travel guidesFrancis Samuel Drake (historian)
Francis Samuel Drake (February 22, 1828, Northwood, New Hampshire - February 22, 1885, Washington, D.C.) was a United States historian. His Dictionary of American Biography was a precursor of, and incorporated into, Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography.Lancaster, Massachusetts
Lancaster is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, in the United States. Incorporated in 1653, Lancaster is the oldest town in Worcester County. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 8,055.Marcus Benjamin
Marcus Benjamin (1857–1932) was an American editor, born at San Francisco, California, and educated at the Columbia University School of Mines. After following his profession of chemist for several years, he turned to editorial work.
Dr. Benjamin worked on a number of reference works, as:
Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography
New International Encyclopædia
Appleton's New Practical Cyclopædia, (six volumes, 1910).From 1896, he was the editor of the publications of the United States National Museum. He was an aide in the office of Naval Intelligence during World War I, and received a decoration by France. He was a fellow of the Chemical Society.Moller
Moller, Möller, or Møller is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Adolf Möller, German olympic rower
Ale Möller, Swedish musician and composer
Alex Möller, German politician
Andreas Möller, German footballer
Axel Möller, Swedish astronomer
Baldur Möller, Icelandic chess master
Carl Møller, Danish rower in 1912 Olympics
Chris Moller, New Zealand businessman
Christian Moeller, German artist and architect born 1959
Christian Möller, German artist and painter born 1963
Christian Møller, Danish chemist and physicist born 1904
David Möller, German sportsman
Edvard Möller, Swedish athlete in 1912 Olympics
Frank Möller, German judo sportsman
Frank Möller (athlete), German sprinter
Frans Möller (disambiguation)
Gustav Möller, Swedish Social Democratic politician
Gustav Möller (athlete), Swedish athlete
Hans Møller Gasmann
Henry Möller (1749–1829), United States clergyman (see "Möller, Henry" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900.)
Hermann Möller, Danish linguist
Ivan Möller, Swedish athlete
Jan Möller, Swedish footballer
Joost Möller, Dutch politician
Julia Möller (born 1949), Uruguayan television presenter and model
Lillian Moller Gilbreth
M. P. Moller, pipe organ builder
Martin Moller, German poet
Olof Möller, Swedish science fiction author
Oscar Möller, Swedish ice hockey player
Paul Moller, engineer
Per Möller Jensen
Ralf Möller, German actor and ex-bodybuilder
Rene Moller (born 1946), Danish footballer
Robert Moeller, Deputy Commander of Military Operations, US Africa Command
Roland Møller, Danish actor
Sandra Möller, German sprinter
Sebastian Möller, German expert for voice technology
Susan Moller Okin
Thomas Moller, German expressionist painter
Thomas Möller, Swedish criminal and ex-president of Hells Angels Sweden
Tommy Möller Swedish political science professor at Stockholm University