RIGAThe National Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, ca. 1897

To a bibliophile, there is nothing sadder than a historical text disbound, illustrations sold off, the text discarded. While this makes individual pages more affordable for the collector, this intellectual chop shop throws away the most valuable window to the past: words, and puts the provenance of the original into doubt.

When we obtained an engraving of Riga from the latter half of the 19th century, from an encyclopedia "published in 1869", we were gratified to find that the accompanying article (described as an illustration blemish) was intact. However, since the article mentioned the population of Riga in 1897—282,943 and counting—we uncovered the encyclopedia was actually published three decades later than advertised.

The source for the article was indicated as The National Encyclopedia. Our research uncovered at least three different encyclopedias published by that title. This adjoining encyclopedic entry provided an additional clue:

"RIGAUDON, the old French dance equivalent to the English rigadoon. It is a matter of dispute whether the French took their name from the English (the word being assumed to be connected with rig, merry, as we might say a "merry go down"), or the English from the French. The latter seems to be the the fact, because the rigadoon was the court dance under Louis XIII, but was not familiar in England till James II. or William III., half a century later. Rousseau's remark that the name came from Rigaud, a dancing master, is quite unsupported [OUR EMPHASIS]. The dance is almost certainly of Provençal origin. It has a peculiar jump or spring in it. The music is in 2—2 or 4—4 time. The best type of music to this dance is the famous and very fine rigaudon in "Dardanus," by Rameau."

This encyclopedic disparaging of Rousseau could only be of British origin. That implied the article source was likely a later edition of The National Encyclopedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge published by William Mackenzie, London. We ultimately confirmed that with the seller, to whom the original publishing date had apparently been misrepresented.

Updated: July, 2016

www.prettygoodbritain.com/encyclopedia.html">An earlier 13-volume set of The National Encyclopedia (original at www.prettygoodbritain.com/encyclopedia.html
...Timeline...Cosmographia UniversalisCosmographia Universalis, Sebastian Munsters, 1544. The quintessential view of the Riga skyline circa 1550, and still recognizeable today, from Sebastian Munster's "Cosmographia Universalis", and part of the Lord's Prayer in Latvian. Foreign Corn Ports — RigaForeign Corn Ports — Riga, 1847A news article from with engraved illustrations The Illustrated London News, May 15, 1847. The Town of RigaThe Town of Riga. Ballou's Monthly Magazine. February, 1872. An informative, if brief, account of Rīga at its zenith as the second largest port of the Russian empire, and of the history, geography, fauna, and inhabitants of Livonia. Livländische SchweizLivländische Schweiz (The Livonian Switzerland), C. Schulz, ca. 1880. A scenic Latvian photo album (20 pictures) of the Gauja river valley surrounding Sigulda. Baltic RussiaBaltic Russia, Henry Lansdell. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, New York. July 1890. Lansdell's richly illustrated travelogue, one of a number which appeared in Harper's from 1887 to 1891, offers a Baltic Russian potpourri of information, from educational expenditures by ethnicity to observations on segregated nude bathing. National Encyclopedia "Riga""RIGA", The National Encyclopaedia, ca. 1897. The article entry for Rīga, accompanied with and engraved illustration of a harbor scene. Album "Riga—Рига"Album "Riga—Рига" ca. 1910.Large-format photo album (3 dozen pictures) of Riga at the start of the 20th century. Latvia — Lettish LifeLatvia—Lettish Life in Legendary & Modern Times, Florence Farmborough. ca. 1920. Farmborough's vivid and copiously illustrated account of the newly independent Latvia: the challenges of recovering from the devastation of war, an intimate look into daily life, and hope expressed for the future. From J. A. Hammerton's encyclopedia, Peoples of All Nations: Their Life Today and Story of Their Past. Devastated Latvia, 1921Latvijas Izpostīto Apgabalu Kongresa Padomes izdevums uzņemts u. izdots 1921 g. (Devastated Latvia, 1921.) Photo album issued by the Latvia's Devastated Regions Congress Council in 1921 documenting the destruction left in the wake of WWI and Latvia's War of Independence. Jānis Čakste In MemoriumJānis Čakste Memorial Album, 1927.Photo album dedicated to Latvia's first President upon his death in office. The Four New Baltic States"Estonia", "Finland", "Lithuania", "Latvia." The New Human Interest Library. Vol. V. Midland Press, Chicago. 1928. Articles about the four new Baltic states, a decade after independence. Illustrations and photographs.

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