Catalog of Dictionaries, Word Books, and Philological Texts, 1440-1900: Inventory of the Cordell Collection, Indiana State University (review)
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 15, 1994
- pp. 198-208
- View Citation
- Additional Information
198Reviews Catalog of Dictionaries, Word Books, and Philological Texts, 14401900 : Inventory of the Cordell Collection, Indiana State University. 1993. David E. Vancil, comp. Bibliographies and Indexes in Library and Information Science, 7. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, xxx + 401 pp. $75.00 U.S. Vancil's volume (hereafter, the Catalog) is a welcome addition to resources for the history of dictionaries. It lists 5,046 titles of dictionaries and related works published between 1440 and 1900 that are in the Warren N. and Suzanne B. Cordell Collection of Dictionaries in the Cunningham Memorial Library of Indiana State University (hereafter, the Collection). Including works in other languages as well as English, the Catalog complements the O'Neill (1988) catalog of English dictionaries in the Collection. It supplements other inventories of dictionary collections, including the Kahn Collection in the Public Library of Cincinnati (Hamer 1972), holdings in the libraries of Exeter , England (Learmoudi and Macwilliam 1986), and H. R. Robertson's collection at die University of British Columbia (Robertson and Robertson 1989). It also adds another source to those listed in Margaret Cop's bibliography of dictionary bibliographies (Cop 1990). As Vancil notes in his preface, the compilation is the first catalog of the Collection including both English and foreign-language holdings since that compiled by Paul Koda in 1975, listing acquisitions through December 1991: "At the current acquisition rate of 50 to 75 tides a year, the catalog should serve as a reasonably accurate representation of the holdings for at least several years" (ix). The Collection contains monolingual and plurilingual dictionaries, glossaries, thesauri, grammars, encyclopedias, and other works related to the history of lexicography published between 1440 and 1900, particularly in the United States, England, and Western Europe. The Collection is based on the private library of Warren N. Cordell, who before his death in 1980 was the chief statistical officer of the W. C. Nielsen Company in Chicago. He began collecting dictionaries in 1961. In 1969 a flash flood destroyed some of die dictionaries , which were housed in his basement, so he looked for a safer home for them. In 1970 he gave 453 of the oldest and most valuable dictionaries to his alma mater, Indiana State University at Terre Haute. A matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, later gifts from Cordell and his family, and regular appropriations in the Cunningham Library budget have since increased the number of titles to more dian 7,000. In addition, the Cunningham library has a substantial collection of scholarly works about dictionaries and has been given an extensive (but still uncataloged) collection of photocopies of 19th and 20th century periodical articles and some primary materials relating to American dictionaries, assembled by Theodore P. Haebler. Vancil has been head of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of Cunningham Memorial Library since 1986. His background includes training in Greek and Russian, and Germanic and Romance Ian- Reviews199 guages, which enabled him to deal with the foreign-language dictionaries, and he has dedicated the book to his language teacher Georg Weydling. Survey of the contents of the Catalog In his preface, Vancil introduces the Collection and the Catalog and asks that people who have significant works not in the Collection offer to donate , trade, or sell them to die Cunningham library. He invites individuals interested in doing research in the history of Western lexicography to come to Terre Haute and plumb the Collection. For those who want further information , he appends a bibliography of prior catalogs of the Collection and articles about it (including Misenheimer and O'Neill 1983). Prefaced to the volume are recollections by Warren Cordell about his collecting (reprinted from Koda 1975) and a section called "Use of the Catalog." A difference between this catalog and diat of O'Neill is immediately evident as one scans the listings. O'Neill assigned a code number (A-I, A-2, etc.) to each item, and these "Cordell numbers" have been referred to in catalogs produced by antiquarian booksellers and even other collectors (Robertson and Robertson 1989). However, the Catalog provides no "Cordell numbers" for English bilingual or foreign-language dictionaries in the Collection. These would have competed with O'Neill's...