50+ years ago: Before Wikipedia, It Was World Book Encyclopedia

Do you remember how we researched reports before there was Wikipedia?

Author : Dr. Sharon Wheeler

My mind takes me back to a time in the 1970s when a salesman came to our home. We were very poor and lived in rural Georgia. I remember the salesperson telling my parents about these research books that every child in middle and  high school needed to get prepared for college. The books were called the World Book of Encyclopedia.

He offered a payment plan and my parents agreed to purchase them although I remember my dad struggled to pay for them. I can remember thinking we must be rich for my parents to get these books. Even now, in my fifties I can still remember vividly doing school reports and research papers using them.  Ours were the Green, Beige and Gold as seen below. a picture of vintage enclopedias

I can remember turning the gold edged pages and being excited to see what was on each page. There was even more excitement when I would see a beautiful photo in living color.  I had six sibling, so there were often times when I would have to look for a certain book in the set, because it was not on the shelf with the other books.

My younger siblings were also excited about just seeing photos, so they would take the books just to look through them. In so many ways those World Book Encyclopedias became a status symbol and a way to learn more about the world outside of rural Georgia. It was an interesting way to get information back in the 60s and 70s.  I can even remember the yearly world book that would come each year with updates to the printed encyclopedia.  I believe my mother may still have some of these books lying around.

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