Encyclopedias, Almanacs & Other Library Reference Books

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, English handbooks, almanacs, yearbooks and desk references. Late 19th to 21st Centuries.

Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library


Dictionaries & Grammar Handbooks

Dictionaries Collection

About 80 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Dictionaries – General”. Be patient as the page loads.

English Grammar Handbooks Collection

About 180 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “English Language – Grammar – Handbooks”. Be patient as the page loads.

Free online Professional & Educational Magazines

English Language – Rhetoric – Handbooks, manuals etc. Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of English Language – Rhetoric – Handbooks, manuals etc..

Report Writing – Handbooks, manuals, etc. Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Report Writing – Handbooks, manuals, etc..

Encyclopedias & Yearbooks

Folkscanomy Encyclopedias and Compendiums of Knowledge

About 260 free online publications at the Internet Archive, assembled by ‘Folkscanomy’.

Appleton’s Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events of the Year

Embracing political, military, and ecclesiastical affairs; public documents; biography, statistics, commerce, finance, literature, science, agriculture, and mechanical industry

NY: Appleton 1861-1902        Dewey Dec.    030

An American yearbook, with articles arranged alphabetically as in an encyclopedia, that was initally produced by the Appleton company to supplement its 16-volume New American Cyclopedia, which was published 1857-1863. The volume numbers at this link (which contains all except the 1865 volume) are confusing because there were three series over the years. It is easier to ignore volume numbers and look for volumes by their year.

Appleton’s New Practical Cyclopedia. 6 volumes

Benjamin, Marcus, ed.
Appleton 1910        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

This work is recommended for small libraries or grammar schools unable to afford one of the larger encyclopedias. The articles are very brief but up to date and simply written and the system of cross reference is good, as are the illustrations and maps.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Books on Library Research Guides, Study Guides

The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, with a New Atlas of the World … 12 volumes

a work of general reference in all departments of knowledge

Smith, Benjamin E., ed.
Century 1914        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

Compton’s Encyclopedia (26 volumes)

Encyclopedia Brittanica
Brittanica 2007        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40+ subjects, plus online historical maps & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

Encyclopedia Americana. 16 volumes

Beach, F. G., editor-in-chief
1905        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

A good up to date general encyclopedia covering much the same ground as the New International, but stronger in the fields of science and technology and their recent developments. Important articles are by specialists, are signed and in general are excellent. Illustrations are numerous and good, pronunciation is marked and there are numerous short articles on small subjects, including many biographies of people still living.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

The Encyclopaedia Britannica; a Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. 32 volumes

Chisholm, Hugh, ed.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910-22        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

The 11th edition, consisting of 29 volumes, was published in 1910. Volumes 30-32, published in 1922, supplied “… a new distinctive, and independent library of reference dealing with events and developments of the period 1910 to 1921 inclusive.” The combined set of 32 volumes was considered to be the 12th edition of the set.
“The most famous encyclopedia in English and for some purposes the best. The first edition was published in 1771. The eleventh edition is based on the ninth and tenth editions but revised throughout, rearranged to make the smaller subjects more easily accessible and much new material added. Noted for its long signed articles by specialists with excellent bibliography appended to most articles, and its many excellent illustrations.”- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Farm, Field and Fireside Year-book, Almanac and Cyclopedia …

of political, historical, statistical, agricultural and general facts for every American home

Howard, Charles H. ed.
Howard & Wilson 1898        Dewey Dec.    030

“One may find, herein, reliable and interesting facts and figures on such subjects as the coinage, tariff, new legislation on roads, harvests of the world, noxious weeds–with the fullest table of weeds ever published–wheat prices in England and Chicago, dairy statistics, sheep and wool figures, pork packing, export of farm products, comparative prices of staple products and, in fact, all that one would need to know relating to the various branches of live stock, horticulture and agriculture. To these pages, which are intended to be especially adapted to our agricultural readers, are added two hundred or more of general statistics on politics, elections and matters of universal interest, such as every citizen and every man, woman and child in our country, at some time or another, desires to know”. – Preface

The New International Encyclopedia. 25 volumes

Williams, Talcott and Colby, Frank Moore
Dodd, Mead 1927        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

An encyclopedia of the best modern type, with adequate and authoritative articles, many good illustrations, and excellent and very useful bibliographies. Important articles are by specialists, though all articles are unsigned. Especially good for biographical material, with a considerable proportion of Latin-American biography. It includes numerous high grade maps.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

The New International Encyclopedia; Courses of Reading and Study

Colby, Frank Moore and Williams, Talcott
Dodd, Mead 1916        Dewey Dec.    030

Contains 34 chapters, each for a broad subject heading similar to those found in the Dewey Decimal Classification. Chapters contain brief explanations of many sub-topics, with lists of related topic names, persons and authors that have entries in the encyclopedia.

Books on Librarianship, Library Management

The Reader’s Guide to the Encyclopedia Britannica; A Handbook Containing Sixty-six Courses of Systematic Study or Occasional Reading

Encylopedia Britannica 1913        Dewey Dec.    030

The guide is divided into six parts:
1. Courses of reading especially useful to those engaged in certain occupations, or preparing for them. There are 30 chapters for different occupational categories.
2. Courses of educational reading to supplement or take the place of school or university studies. There are 30 subject chapters, in most cases similar to the subject categories found in the Dewey Decimal Classification.
3. Devoted to the interests of children.
4. Readings on questions of the day.
5. For women
6. Readings for recreation and vacation

Scientific American Reference Book; edition of 1913

Hopkins, Albert A. and Bond, A. Russell
Munn 1913        Dewey Dec.    030

Includes 1,000 illustrations. Table of Contents:

Part 1. Statistical Information
Chapter I.—Population and Social Statistics 1-42 -Chapter II.—Farms, Foods and Forests 43-74 – Chapter III.—Mines and Quarries 75-96 – Chapter IV.—Manufactures 97-136 – Chapter V.—Commerce 137-192 – Chapter VI.—Mercantile Marine 193-232 – Chapter MI.—Railroads 233-264 – Chapter VIII.—The Panama Canal 265-278 – Chapter IX.—Telegraphs and Cables 279-298 – Chapter X.—Wireless Telegraphy 299-310 – Chapter XL—Telephone Statistics of the World 311-322 – Chapter XII.—Post Office Affairs 323-350 – Chapter XIII.—Patents, Trade-Marks and Copyrights 351-388 – Chapter XIV.—Armies of the World 389-408 – Chapter XV.—Navies of the World 409-436 – Chapter XVI.—Aviation 437-456

Part 2. Scientific Information
Chapter I.—Chemistry 457-462 – Chapter II—Astronomy and Time 463-484 – Chapter HI.—Meteorology 485-518 – Chapter IV.—Machine Elements and Mechanical Movements 519-546 – Chapter V.—Geometrical Constructions 517-560 – Chapter VI.—Weights and Measures 561-586

Universal Cyclopaedia and Atlas. 12 volumes

Rossiter Johnson, ed.
Appleton 1905        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

Specially strong in science, engineering, discoveries, inventions, and biography. Contains sketches of living persons. Maps numerous and good. Known also as Johnson’s cyclopedia. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904

The World Book; Organized Knowledge in Story and Picture. 8 volumes

O’Shea, M. V. ed.
Hanson-Roach-Fowler 1918        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

Yearbooks Collection

About 330 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Yearbooks.

Free online Newspaper Archives for the U.S. & other Countries

Almanacs Collection

About 650 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Almanacs”. Be patient as the page loads.

World Records Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of World Records.

Guides to Nonfiction, Bibliographies

The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know

Hirsch, E.D. et al.
Houghton Mifflin 1993        Dewey Dec.    031

“The text is divided into sections by subject—e.g., fine arts, world politics, life sciences—each with a brief introduction; access is also aided by a thorough index. The entries themselves are complete, concise, and clearly written as well as extensively and effectively cross-referenced.” Libr J

International Year-book; a Compendium of the World’s Progress during the Year

Dodd 1898 – 1902.        Dewey Dec.    030 Rf

Similar in scope to Appleton’s annual cyclopedia, but entries are under more specific topics. To supplement cyclopedias. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904

The New York Public Library Desk Reference

New York Public Library
Stonesong 1998        Dewey Dec.    031

The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference

New York Public Library
Hyperion 2003        Dewey Dec.    031

Divided into chapters, this reference features charts, tables, lists, and illustrations providing information in such categories as signs and symbols, mathematics and science basics, the arts, grammar and punctuation, etiquette, personal finance, first aid, and household tips.

Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac 2010

Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia Britannica 2009

“In association with ‘Time'”.

Time Almanac 2013

Encyclopaedia Britannica
Time Home Entertainment        Dewey Dec.    031

Presents facts on world statistics, famous people, demographics, history, geography, global trends, election results, sports statistics, scientific research, and technological innovations.
Contents: Year in review — People — Awards — Nature, science, medicine, & technology — World — United States — Business — Arts, entertainment, & leisure — Sport.

Online Collections of Maps Worldwide

Guinness World Records 2017

– 2013 Edition

– 2010 Edition

– 2007 Edition

– 2001 Edition

Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records        Dewey Dec.    031

“Contains thousands of records that span every field of human and non-human endeavors, including science and technology, animals, sports, geography, arts and entertainment, education, hobbies and pastimes, unusual rituals, and many others.” -Publisher

The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2010

Janssen, Sarah
World Almanac 2009        Dewey Dec.    031

Contains thousands of facts and statistics on a variety of subjects, such as science, economics, sports, arts, and media; and includes information on causes and effects of global economic crisis, photographs of the top stories of 2009, and more.
Contents: Special features — 2009 : Year in review — Economy, business & energy — Crime — Military affairs — Health & vital statistics — Personalities, arts, & media — Science & technology — Consumer information — U.S. government — U.S. facts, history & elections — U.S. cities, states, & population — World history & culture — Sports — Directory -General index.

Atlases & Other Reference Books

Atlases Collection

Over 700 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Atlases”. Be patient as the page loads.

The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs: Meanings and Origins of More than 1,500 Popular Sayings

Manser, Martin H.
Facts on File 2002        Dewey Dec.    398.9

This dictionary “includes more than 1,700 English-language proverbs . . . that are widely recognized today. Arranged alphabetically, entries provide the meaning of each proverb, the date it was first recorded, variant forms of the proverb, other proverbs that are similar and opposite to it in meaning, and examples of the proverb’s use.” -Publisher

A Dictionary of American Proverbs

Mieder, Wolfgang et al.
Oxford University 1996        Dewey Dec.    398.9

Extensive collection of American proverbs including thousands of proverbs that have never been recorded as well as traditional ones.

Selected Articles about the History of Ideas & History of Religion

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs

Speake, Jennifer
Oxford University 2008        Dewey Dec.    973.91

A classic work of scholarship updated to include modern expressions from Britain and North America.

Reference Collection

About 2,900 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Reference Books”. Be patient as the page loads.

Guide to Reference Books

Balay, Robert, ed.
American Library Association 1992        Dewey Dec.    011

Nearly 16,000 entries provide details on general reference works and on reference books in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, history and area studies, and science, technology, and medicine. Electronic resources are included.

The Humanities: A Selective Guide to Information Sources

Blazek, Ron, Aversa, Elizabeth
Libraries Unlimited 1988        Dewey Dec.    011

Covers the accessing of information and the principal information sources in: Philosophy, Religion, Mythology, Folklore, Visual Arts and the Performing Arts.

Recommended Reference Books for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries and Media Centers

Graff Hysell, Shannon
Libraries Unlimited 2009        Dewey Dec.    011.6

Each annual volume includes reviews of about 550 titles chosen by the editor as the most valuable reference titles published during the previous year.

Selected Articles about Libraries, Librarianship, Archives, Books

Subject Guide to U.S. Government Reference Sources

Hardy, Gayle J. and Robinson, Judith Schiek
Libraries Unlimited 1996        Dewey Dec.    025

The Reader’s Adviser: The Best in General Reference Literature, the Social Sciences, History, and the Arts

Kaufman, Paula T., ed.
R.R. Bowker 1986        Dewey Dec.    016.3

Reference Books-General; Dictionaries; General Biography and Autobiography; Social Sciences; Education; Ancient History; United States History; Western Hemisphere – Canada and Latin America; British History; World History; Music and Dance; Art and Architecture; Mass Media; Folklore and Humor; Travel and Exploration

Reference Sources for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries

Kennedy, Scott E., ed.
American Library Association 1999        Dewey Dec.    011.6

“Intended as a guide for college and large secondary school libraries as well as for public libraries. Items are grouped in subject categories and further subdivided by type of reference source or other suitable subdivision. Sections were prepared by individual compilers or teams of compilers. Good annotations; coverage of various subject fields is unusually even for a work of this kind; index of names and titles.” -Guide to Ref Books

Guide to the Study and Use of Reference Books

Kroeger, Alice Bertha and Mudge, Isadore Gilbert
American Library Association (A.L.A.) 1917        Dewey Dec.    011

Descriptions of hundreds of standard reference works covering every field of knowledge. Arranged by subject, it gives complete bibliographic data for each entry, is fully annotated and indexed. – A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Free online magazines about News & Political Commentary

The New York Times Guide to Reference Materials

The Indispensable Handbook for Anyone Who Needs To Know How and Where to Look Up Almost Anything

McCormick, Mona
Dorset Press 1988       

Century Past Library