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Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Volume 26 Number 30 November 28, 2004

   Frontispiece from Bailey's Dictionary 1772. Expanded illustrated edition by Joseph Nicol Scott.

Libraries Receive Edward Bloustein's Historical Dictionary Collection

Federal government analyst, law school professor, and eighteen-year president of Rutgers University (1971-1989) during a period of tremendous growth, Edward Bloustein (1925-1989) was known as a man of words - an eloquent speaker, a thoughtful writer, and an engaging leader. So it is fitting that one legacy President Bloustein leaves at Rutgers is his collection of hundreds of English language dictionaries of historic scope and breadth, recently donated by his daughters Elise and Lori to the Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives.

The Bloustein Dictionary Collection features a copy of one of the first known published English language dictionaries, a bilingual Latin-English word list entitled Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae published in 1573 by Thomas Cooper. A multilingual dictionary with authors' quotations for further elucidation, The Guide into Tongues by John Minsheu, was published less than 50 years later and is also represented in the Bloustein collection.

One of the colorful background stories of the history of lexicography (the field of study that examines the practices involved in writing dictionaries) is that rivalries often spurred the development and publication of well-known dictionaries. The Bloustein collection contains several representations of such competitive works of scholarship:

  • copies of Thomas Blount's Glossographia, or A dictionary interpreting all such hard words ... as are now used in our refined English tongue (1656) and Edward Phillips' Modern world of words, or, A Universal English dictionary, collected from the best anchors (1658);
  • copies of Nathaniel Bailey's An Universal etymological English dictionary (1721), the first to provide stress marks to show pronunciation and usage information, and Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), noted for the scientific thoroughness with which it was compiled;
  • copies of Noah Webster's A Compendious dictionary of the English language (1806), his later, more expansive volume The Dictionary of American Language (1828), and Joseph Worcester's A Comprehensive pronouncing and explanatory dictionary of the English language, with pronouncing vocabularies of classical and scripture proper names (1830).

The Bloustein collection also features copies of the first edition of the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary (1928), the Imperial Dictionary published by John Ogilvie (1850), the first to feature inline woodcut illustrations, and other significant dictionaries.

The Bloustein dictionary collection is accessible to Libraries users by visiting the New Jersey Reading Room of Special Collections and University Archives, located in the lower level of Alexander Library. The Rutgers University Libraries are grateful to Elise and Lori Bloustein, daughters of Ruth and Edward Bloustein, for contributing this collection of value and great significant to the field of lexicography to Special Collections.

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Libraries Respond Compassionately in Charitable Campaign

We're pleased to report that almost 22% of the New Brunswick Libraries community pledged more than $8,800 to the 2005 New Jersey State Employees Charitable Campaign. The majority of those participating in the Campaign pledged funds by payroll deduction, which will begin with the first paycheck of 2005.

Contributions to the New Jersey State Employees Charitable Campaign support the many, diverse organizations in New Jersey committed to helping people and communities experiencing a variety of devastating needs. Thanks to Marilyn Wilt, Campaign Coordinator for the Libraries, and to her campaign solicitors: Rachael Goldman; Shirley Peck; Matt Spaventa; Georgina Alonzo; Paul Young; Arden DeLaCruz; Caryn Radick; and Amelia Killough.

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Position Open in the New Brunswick Libraries

The New Brunswick Libraries seek qualified candidates for the professional position of Information Literacy/Instructional Technology Librarian, APP 162.

Please see http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/hr/libpersonnel/libpersonnel.shtml for the full position profile.

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October 24, 2004
October 10, 2004
The Agenda Archive

Contributors for this issue were Mary Gerber, Jeffery Triggs, and Marilyn Wilt. Contributions for future issues of The Agenda should be sent to Harry Glazer, editor, at hglazer@rci.rutgers.edu.