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Tuatara: Volume 3, Issue 3, November 1950

On Editing an Encyclopedia

On Editing an Encyclopedia

Naturally, an editor of an Encyclopedia cannot have a sub-editor for every animal, but that is what the zoologist apparently expected of me. Matters are far worse than in the days of Dr. Holme's naturalist who flew into a rage because someone called him a Coleopterist. He was no smatterer, he said, trying to spread himself over the Coleoptera; he was a Scarabaeist. Nowadays a zoologist seeks out his animal in early life and henceforth stays with it. Often the intimacy between them is so great that it seems indelicate to intrude. I have known a bivalve and a man to develop interests in common so exclusively molluscous or bivalvular that no human dared to break in.

—Frank Moore Colby, quoted in “Reading I have Liked,” ed. by C. Fadiman.