Encyclopedias: The Art of Organizing Knowledge

September 30–December 31, 2014
Flat Library Cases


Encyclopedias and dictionaries trace their history back to the ancient Greeks at the least. Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia is accepted as the first true encyclopedia—in 37 volumes, and dictionaries date to the same period. Reed is fortunate in owning a remarkable collection of representative compilations, from Pliny in a 1600 German blackletter edition through Diderot’s Encyclopédie and a 1798 American version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Taken from the library’s special collections, the exhibit fills the library’s four flat cases and the wall case behind the reference desk.