Farewell, Britannica

This makes me quite sad: Bye Bye Britannica!

I used to skip phys ed in high school and read poetry or the encyclopedia in the library. My aunt had a 1955 version of the Encyclopedia, in a special two-shelf bookcase, with a slot in the back where a huge atlas stood. It looked exactly like this, except that the wood was darker (see farther below):

My beloved Britannica

I loved my aunt’s set with a mad love. And then one day — she gave it to me.

I was deliriously happy. I moved several times over the years, and that set went with me everywhere. Even though by the time she gave it to me, of course it was long out of date. Who cared? I loved it.

And then, twelve years and three weeks ago — I moved to Toronto. I gave away a ton of stuff between the Near Year and March 1st, when I was to fly, and packed up the rest and put it into a rented storage compartment. And my beloved encyclopedia set didn’t fit.

I tried everything I could think of. No library would take a set that old. No second hand bookstore was remotely interested. I didn’t have a vehicle, so I couldn’t try to take it farther afield.

In the end, on the day that I left my apartment for the last time, there was only one option left. The entire set went into the dumpster. It absolutely broke my heart, but there was nowhere else I could put or take it. It was devastating.

And now the hard copy of the dear Encyclopedia Britannica will be no more, at all. More than ever, I miss my old set and wish it had been humanly possible to keep it and preserve it. 🙁

Encyclopedia Britannica

Encyclopedia Britannica, I miss you


    1. Stephanie says:

      I grew up on the 1966 version. My parents bought another one near the end of the century, but it wasn’t the same. I loved the old one.

    2. Dalt says:

      I once had to help a divorcing friend move, If he did not get out fast he would have to pay damages. Sadly we put out his Britannica set also older with 20 books of the year.

      Someone picked it up almost instantly that evening.

      The next day when he had to be out, sitting on the porch was the set,

      Someone had returned it that night, so we too had to toss it in the dumpster to avoid his getting hit with extra charges for not being out of the apartment. It was quite a fuss going there and tossing it out before it was found on the property, it would have blown the deal he made to get out…

    3. Hector Pineda says:

      I too am attached to my 1948 Encyclopedia Set. It’s great to have sorry you lost yours. I have done my best to preserve it along with the Atlas and the book of the year.

      • jim johnson says:

        I just bought a Ency. Brit. bookcase exactly like the one pictured above…any idea the value of it? No books, just the cabinet, which I thought was pretty cool.

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