The Book of Knowledge

The Book of Knowledge
was published in a wide variety of cover colors and styles. Pictured is the 1935 "Silver Jubilee" 25th Anniversary edition.

Have you been looking for an encyclopedia set compatible with your Christian world view? The Book of Knowledge, as published by Grolier between 1910 and 1938, is the most beautiful Christian encyclopedia that I've seen!

A modern encyclopedia, a set of 20 thick volumes soaked in a humanistic worldview, really isn't the best use of my precious shelf space, so when we need a quick answer to a factual question, I prefer the Internet or a recent encyclopedia on CD.  But for hours of delightful reading and browsing or finding answers that haven't changed in the last hundred years or so, old sets of The Book of Knowledge are outstanding, unmatched in my experience with Living Books!

Our set lives on one of the most frequently used shelves in the house, as my children are drawn to these books again and again. They are pretty, they are well-written, and they offer so much more than the bare-bones facts of history and science.

Also, the pre-1940 sets are without parallel for wonderful living projects--making soap and jelly, serious sewing, making dollhouses and miniatures, making dolls from around the world, real carpentry in a broad variety of projects, science experiments, illusions, making toys, and so much more. And the emphasis in these old projects is on blessing, helping, and encouraging family members and the needy! (My eldest daughter just helped me with this paragraph and remarked, "Well, they also teach you how to take a bath and how to go to sleep! But most of the projects are great!")

Nature study is emphasized. Subjects from plant identification to how to perform tree surgery are included--and usually with gorgeous color plates! (You'll find some theistic evolution in these books, but it is isolated as a topic, not drilled into children's heads with every bird, flower, and tree.)

There are outstanding, rich literature selections, French lessons, Christian poetry, and wonderful biographies with godly pastors and hymn writers not forgotten!

Sets after 1940 deteriorated quickly. The literature selections were rapidly dumbed-down. The quality of illustration deteriorated. The project emphasis moved from "your little brother would love this" to "when you are bored on a rainy day". Instead of useful articles made with enduring materials, the emphasis was on simple objects of fleeting value.

Read the history of The Book of Knowledge.

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