In October 1979, my sister and I received a set of World Book Encyclopedias and Childcraft books from our parents. It must have been a big deal because I have a vague memory of the books arriving and the family putting the volumes on the bookshelf they came with. I was two years old.
When I was little I enjoyed the stories and craft projects I found in the Childcraft books, but I had little use for the encyclopedias at that time. My older sister probably used them because she went to school and had to do reports and stuff. By the time I was old enough to be assigned reports, the encyclopedias were very outdated. A new set was not a priority because I could always do research at the library. And they were always a quick and easy way to get a general idea about a subject before doing more research.
These encyclopedias are now 32 years old, and still in my possession. Every time I moved over the last ten years, my father would grumble about having to cart around a bunch of useless, outdated books. I would always ask him the same question: What year did George Washington become president? He would tell me the answer and then I would ask, “Has that changed in the last 22 (or 25, or 30) years?”
The fact is, some things don’t change. These books will always contain some useful information. And the things that do change? Well, I think of my encyclopedias as a direct link to 1979. What was happening then? What attitudes did we have? How did we dress? What was important? How far have we come since then?
I enjoy my World Book Encyclopedias at least twice a week. It occurred to me today that I should share some of my enjoyment with you here. So, I introduce World Book Wednesday. Starting today, and for the next 25 weeks, I will share excerpts and pictures from my grand encyclopedias, focusing on a different volume each week. I don’t know how this project will turn out, but I’ll sure have fun working on it!
Let’s kick this off with the A volume.
Advertising- Advertisers sometimes use testimonials to attract the buyers attention.
“Advertisers also pay movie and TV stars, popular athletes, and other celebrities to endorse products. [...] People may then trust the celebrity’s word and be influenced to buy the product.”
|Yep, that's O.J. in an example of testimonial advertising.|
Audio-Visual Materials- “A record player and a filmstrip viewer, when used together, combine sound and pictures so students can learn by both hearing and seeing.”
|Can't you just use your iPad for that?|
I guess, but the headphones for an iPad aren't as awesome as these.
Automobile- Sub-heading The Classic Car
|No 1964 1/2 Mustangs here. In 1979, if you had a Mustang, you just had an old, beat up car, not a classic.|
The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book-Childcraft International, 1979.
Includes all photos and quotations.