The following is quoted as fair use from http://paperbarn.www1.50megs.com/publishers/m.html#1839(???)---G%20&%20C%20MERRIAM
1839(???)---G & C MERRIAM COMPANYEdit
- Brothers George and Charles Merriam (later joined by brother Homer) lived in Massachusetts where Professor Joseph Emerson Worcester published a dictionary (The Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English Language) that for one reason or another offended the brothers.
- So they published their own dictionary, basing it on Noah Webster's original work. Thus began the "War of the Dictionaries" as each issued up-dates and revisions, trying to out-modernized the other until the American Civil War, when the Merriams issued their "Royal Quarto Edition" of the "American Dictionary of the English Language". Even Worcester could recognize it as a masterwork and he resigned from the battle.
- Although they were now the sole compilers of a dictionary of the American Language, the Merriams had a new problem. Everywhere pirates were springing up. issuing their own "versions" of Merriam's dictionary. Repeatedly George and Charles sued to protect their copyright, but repeatedly they lost on the grounds that (a.) copyrights on dictionaries could not be renewed, and (b.) the name "Webster" could not be copyrighted. (Singer and Remington lost similar battles until copy-right laws were re-written.)
- The Merriams, then, reasoned the only way they could stay ahead of the pirates was by issuing new dictionaries that made the pirated ones out-of-date.
- In 1870(?), Merriam arranged with the American Book Company to do a school dictionary.
- In 1890 they issued a new masterpiece, Webster's International Dictionary with 57,000 words never before found in a dictionary. THis clearly established in the minds of the American peole the superiority of the name of Merriam-Webster over all their imitators and pirates. It would remain unchallenged until Random House issued a new dictionary in the 1970's.
It would be interesting to have more information on the highlighted provisions.
Kept. See archived discussion. 09:44, 19 January 2008 (UTC)