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Exploring the Edward J. Bloustein Dictionary Collection

Jeffery A. Triggs


It is a comparatively rare enterprise to amass a great personal collection of dictionaries. Unless they have a professional interest in lexicography, most people approach dictionaries in a more or less utilitarian spirit, and as often as not they tend to make do with whatever comes, conveniently or serendipitously, their way: the latest Merriam-Webster's Collegiate received as a graduation gift, a battered but still useful Funk & Wagnalls inherited from one's least favorite uncle, or perhaps even a Compact Oxford English Dictionary (with magnifying glass) picked up as a reward for joining the Book of the Month Club. And having found their dictionaries, most people fall in love with them--or at least grow used to them--and tend to hold on to them rather uncritically through the years. One dictionary is enough for most people, unlike, say, one book of poems, one novel, or even one history of the Civil War.

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