Meyer's Encyclopedic Dictionaries

Meyer’s Encyclopedic Dictionaries


reference works published by the German humanist and democrat J. Meyer (1796–1856).

In 1826, Meyer founded the Bibliographic Institute Publishing House in Gotha; the publishing house moved to Hildburghausen in 1828 and to Leipzig in 1874. Between 1840 and 1855, Meyer published The Great Encyclopedic Dictionary in 46 volumes and six supplementary volumes. The fifth and sixth editions of the dictionary were the basis for the Russian Great Encyclopedia published by Prosveshchenie Publishing Association in St. Petersburg (1900–09). In the seventh edition of its encyclopedia (1924—35), the Bibliographic Institute glorified Nazism. The eighth edition of 1936–1942, interrupted at the ninth volume, was openly fascist in content.

After the victory over fascism in 1945, the Bibliographic Institute was liquidated as a joint-stock company; in 1946 it was refounded in Leipzig as a people’s enterprise. The new Bibliographic Institute continues its progressive 19th-century traditions; in 1961 it celebrated its 135th anniversary.

In 1963, the Bibliographic Institute published Meyer’s Pocket Dictionary From A to Z, the first in a series of “pocket-sized Meyers” (primarily specialized dictionaries). In 1967–68, the three-volume Meyer’s Little Dictionary was published; in 1968, the institute issued its one-volume Meyer’s Dictionary for Young People; in 1971 the two-volume Meyer’s New Reference Dictionary was published.

A nine-volume encyclopedia, Meyer’s New Dictionary, was published in 1961–69; the publication of a second edition, planned for 18 volumes, began in 1971.

In 1953, the joint-stock company called the Bibliographic Institute was reestablished in Mannheim, West Germany. In 1971, it undertook the publication of a 25-volume Meyer’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, calling it the ninth edition of Meyer’s Great Encyclopedic Dictionary.