File this one under “Comically Long Book Title.” I recently found an edition of The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World (that’s the short title) at an antique store in Santa Barbara, California. The atlas, created by J. Martin Miller, was originally published in 1899 and was reissued several times between 1902 and 1909 by various publishers (Library of Congress, WorldCat). My particular copy, according to the copyright stamp, appears to have been republished in 1902 by Miller and L.G. Stahl.
I really love old maps and atlases. I am particularly fascinated by how historic maps and atlases often reflect geopolitical biases and can capture an antiquated (and often Anglo- and Euro-centric) worldview frozen in time. Naturally I was drawn to this atlas, but my favorite thing is its ridiculously long title. Most catalogs show the title simply as The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World, but the title page shows the atlas’s original full title, reproduced below (deep inhale!):
The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World with a Description of Every Known Land, Both Near and Remote, Ancient and Modern, Embracing Complete, Original and Authentic Maps of the Present Development of All Countries, Empires and States of the World Comprising Graphic Description of the People: Their Civilization, Their Religion, Their Government, Their Cities, Their Imports and Exports, Their Wealth, Their Railways, Their Canals, Their Cables, Their Telegraphs, etc., etc., Including Useful and Timely Statistics, Educational, Industrial Military, Naval.
They really don’t make book titles like that anymore. Here’s a visual: