A Year in Books/Day 4: Thorndike Century Junior Dictionary

William Alexander Craigie
Image via Wikipedia-William Craigie.
  • Title: Thorndike Century Junior Dictionary A Child’s Dictionary of the English Language Revised Edition
  • Author: E.L. Thorndike
  • Year Published: 1942 (a revision of the original 1935 edition/published by E.L. Thorndike)
  • Year Purchased: This copy was purchased new in 1942 for my 10-year-old Grandmother.
  • Source: This book was handed down to me by Grandma when I was 5.
  • About:The dictionary was compiled by E.L. Thorndike and 2 very impressive advisory committees, whose lists included Sir William Craigie (the third editor of the Oxford English Dictionary).
  • Motivation: I started reading dictionaries (quickly followed by any reference book within the grasp of my thin fingers) shortly before starting school. I have read entire volumes during otherwise boring road trips. I still prefer the tactile, almost sensuous quality of well-worn reference pages over the most comprehensive on-line compendium. Someone should coin a phrase for that special quality one feels when meandering through a dictionary; how the heart races when the eyes skip, so quickly, from word to word, roaming over territory new and old. E.L. Thorndike’s great work for schoolchildren made that possible for me.
  • Times Read: Countless.
  • Random Excerpt/Page vi: “To make a dictionary that comes near to this ideal requires not only adequate knowledge of the English language, but also expert scientific knowledge of children’s minds, and their needs in reading, hearing, and using words. It also requires ingenuity and thoughtfulness for every detail of every word.”
  • Happiness Scale: Off the charts.


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