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Front Matter — Vol I

Title Page
Copyright & Imprimatur
To the Knights of Columbus
Tables of Abbreviations

Site Status

Updated:  Aug 12, 2013

Original Catholic Encyclopedia:About

The key players in the eventual publication of The Catholic Encyclopedia met several times in the early years of the 20th century to discuss the project. By December 1904, they had reached agreement to begin the work early the following year.

Board of Editors
Work on the encyclopedia began in January 1905 with the formation of a Board of Editors comprised of the following five individuals:

  • Charles G. Herbermann, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor of Latin and Librarian of the College of the City of New York
  • Edward A. Pace, Ph.D., D.D., Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.
  • Condé B. Pallen, Ph.D., LL.D., Editor
  • Rev. Thomas J. Shahan, D.D., Professor of Church History at the Catholic University
  • Rev. John J. Wynne, S.J., Editor of The Messenger

The membership of this Board remained the same throughout the production of the work.

First Edition
The first edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia was originally printed by the Robert Appleton Company (RAC), which had been formed expressly for the purpose.

Coetaneous reviews indicate that the 15 volumes were printed and released sequentially over that time span, with the first 2 volumes released in 1907 and the last 3 volumes released in 1912.

The binding was sewn, hard-cover with sturdy canvas covers, leather trimmed on the spine and corners with embossed gold-gilt lettering, and marbled paste-down endsheets and edges.

Special Edition
A "special edition"—noted as such on the Title Page and in the "To the Knights of Columbus" forward letter found only in this edition—was conceived shortly thereafter. It was published by Encyclopedia Press (EP), the re-named successor to RAC.

Each volume carries both the original RAC copyright and a new EP copyright of 1913.

It appears that EP was able to complete a full print run of the 15 volume set in 1913. It also seems likely that this "special edition" was designed to be, in part, a lower cost printing. The paper was smaller in size and of lighter weight, press plates from the original were apparently re-used, and the number of color-plates was reduced.

At least two different bindings were produced. One binding was much simpler—plain cloth hard-cover with inked lettering. Another binding was similar to the first edition with canvas/leather covers, but paste up only, with simpler paste-down endsheets but with a gold-gilt top edge.

When originally conceived The Catholic Encyclopedia was not to have a master Index and so the first printing did not include one. After Encyclopedia Press took the reins, however, it was concluded that a comprehensive Index would now be a good idea.

The Index volume was published by EP in 1914 and it carried an EP (only) copyright of the same year. There were at least three production runs, one with the same binding as the First Edition and the other two with simpler "special edition" bindings.

Publication Date
The Catholic Encyclopedia is variously assigned a publication date anywhere between 1907 and 1914. All these dates, when describing the whole series in general, refer to the same work. However, the work is most commonly referred to as the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia.

When referring to an individual article or volume, the particular publication date for that volume (e.g., November, 1911) is sometimes used.

Internet Versions
This site contains article text produced directly from the original printed volumes. Every article of the original work was scanned and then processed with OCR software.

Other sites use content produced via unpaid transcribers. This has led to changed article text (both accidental and purposeful), missing articles, and in the worse cases, changed meanings.

Catholic Answers--Original Catholic Encyclopedia
In 2006 Catholic Answers decided to take on the monumental task of publishing an authoritative online version of The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1914.

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"That is our desire, to be tortured for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Savior."
-- Justin Martyr, apologist, Saint; to the Prefect Rusticus after the prefect had threatened Justin with "torture without mercy;" from the trial transcript by Tatian (A.D. 165).


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