New American Cyclopædia

The New American Cyclopædia was an encyclopedia created and published by D. Appleton & Company of New York in 16 volumes, which initially appeared between 1858 and 1863. Its primary editors were George Ripley and Charles Anderson Dana.

Title page from the New American Cyclopædia (1858)

The New American Cyclopædia was revised and republished as the American Cyclopædia in 1873.[1]


The New American Cyclopædia was a general encyclopedia with a special focus on subjects related to the United States. As it was created over the years spanning the American Civil War, the focus and tone of articles could change drastically; for example, Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederate States of America, was treated at length as a United States Army soldier and US government politician in pre-war editions.[2]

As was traditional, the entire set was re-issued with the publication in 1863 of the 16th volume. The whole Cyclopædia was again re-issued in 1864.


A notable contributor was Karl Marx, then a European correspondent for the New York Tribune, who, appeared as the writer, while most of those articles were written by Friedrich Engels, especially the articles on military affairs,[3] which belonged in Engels' domain in the division of labor between the two friends. Because of his deep knowledge of all things military, Engels had earned the nickname "General".[3] Marx wrote a highly unsympathetic biographical article on Simon Bolivar.[3][4]

Other prominent contributors to the first edition included[5]

Annual yearbook

An associated yearbook, Appletons' Annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year, was published from 1861 to 1875 and on to 1902.[6]

Publication history

The cyclopaedia was revived under the title American Cyclopædia in 1873–6. A final edition was issued in 1883–4, which added supplements to each volume of the 1873 edition. Two analytical indexes were published separately in 1878 and 1884.[7]

See also

  • Lists of encyclopedias


  1. "The American Cyclopaedia 1873". Miller's Paradise Islands (private website). Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2010. Includes photograph of title page.
  2. Carl Burnham (July 2004). "The New American Cyclopedia, 1857 – 1866: A Time Capsule of the 19th century". Rare Book Monthly. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  3. Lindley, Mark (August 18, 2010). "Marx and Engels on Music". MRZine. Monthly Review. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  4. Marx, Karl (January 1858). "Bolivar y Ponte". Retrieved August 18, 2010. First published in the New American Cyclopaedia, Vol. 3, 1858.
  5. The American cyclopaedia: a popular dictionary of general knowledge. New York D. Appleton 2nd. ed. 1873 pp.xii-xvi
  6. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. i.
  7. Walsh, S. Padraig, 1922- Anglo-American general encyclopedias: a historical bibliography, 1703-1967 New York : Bowker, pp.2-3, 110

Further reading

Title page of the American Cyclopædia,1879
The American Cyclopædia, 1879
Volume 1AAsher
Volume 2AshesBol
Volume 3Bolan PassCarmine
Volume 4CarmonaCoddington
Volume 5CodeDemotica
Volume 6DempsterEverett
Volume 7EveshamGlascock
Volume 8GlasgowHortense
Volume 9HortensiusKingslake
Volume 10KingletMagnet
Volume 11MagnetismMotril
Volume 12MottPales
Volume 13PalestinePrinting
Volume 14PriorShoe
Volume 15ShomerTrollope
Volume 16TromboneZymosis
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