American Places Dictionary: A Guide to 45,000 Populated Places, Natural Features, and Other Places in the United States, in four volumes

Editor-Frank R. Abate

Published by Omnigraphics, 1994
ISBN 10: 1558887474 / ISBN 13: 9781558887473
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Ex-college library with usual library features/ Very good+/ no dust jacket/ 1994/ 1st edition/ 4 volume set/ B&R 318. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: This four-volume geographic dictionary provides detailed information on 45,000 cities, towns, boroughs, and villages in the United States -- every place that is incorporated or has a functioning government -- as well as every county and state.

The detailed entries include latitude and longitude coordinates, elevation figures, zip and area codes, land and water area, and population density. They also include name origin information, historical notes, and founding and incorporation dates.

From Booklist: This gazetteer may easily be confused with the eleven-volume Omni Gazetteer of the U.S., published by Omnigraphics in 1991. The earlier publication, which was well reviewed, listed 1,500,000 names with a single-line entry giving the name of the place or geographic feature, zip code, 1988 population estimate, and latitude and longitude of localities. American Places Dictionary (APD) fits the definition of a gazetteer (a geographic dictionary) more completely than the Omni Gazetteer. In four volumes, APD describes states, counties, cities, towns, Indian reservations, and military bases.

The volumes, which each have the identical 41-page introductory material and bibliography, are divided by region (Northeast, South, Midwest, West) with the District of Columbia appearing in both the Northeast and South volumes. The introductory material is entertaining as well as informative. The foreword by Kelsie Harder, an English professor at SUNY-Potsdam, is a fascinating discussion on the naming of places; it is followed by a clear description of the coverage of the set and good suggestions on how to use it. There is also a detailed description of the hierarchy of government in the U.S., explaining such variations as the use of minor civil divisions. The most entertaining section is the "Editor's Miscellany"--interesting facts or trivia that were discovered in compiling APD. These include a list of the eight cities that have been U.S. capitals, the 12 states with panhandles, and out-of-the ordinary place-names--Correctionville, Iowa, and East Loony, Missouri.

The section for each state begins with the state seal followed by a full-page state map showing only counties. An introductory section provides basic facts, including the 1990 population with projections, square miles of land and water and miles of coastline, highest and lowest point, housing units, ethnic distribution of population, bordering states, and name origin. Also included is additional information such as state rock, insect, or muffin; area code(s); and abbreviation, both postal and traditional. In addition, at least a page or two of text provide history, government, and business information for each state.

Cities, towns, townships, villages, and boroughs are listed by county with an index at the conclusion of each state section. The county information is boxed with facts similar to the state box--population, area, and name origin. The individual cities, towns, and other locales have zip code, latitude, longitude, population (1980 and 1990), population density, and, for some, name origin and a sentence or two about the location, date of incorporation, or important industries. Name origin is not consistently given, even when it is well known. For example, the entry for Audubon, Pennsylvania does not note that is is named after its most famous resident, John James Audubon. Appendixes in volume 4 include information on Indian reservations and military installations and descriptions of such geographic features as Howe Caverns, Pearl Harbor, Camp David, and Mt. Rushmore. The index in this volume to all four volumes cites volume number, state, and county.

This is an important resource for U.S. place-names. The criticisms are few--a map of the U.S. would be useful, some city and town designations would have been helpful on the state maps, and the general index would be easier to use if page numbers were given. Although the number of names listed is less than in the Omni Gazetteer (which lists many more natural features like rivers and hills and man-made entities such as churches, cemeteries, and mines), the amount of information included is immense. One may discover the population density of Walnut Park, California (21031), the name origin of Saronville, Kansas (for a village in Sweden), and the incorporation date of Portland, Oregon (1851). There is no U.S. place-name dictionary to rival APD. The closest, which covers the world and is now out-of-date, is The Columbia Lipponcott Gazetteer of the World (1961). Recommended for public and academic libraries; small libraries may want to buy just the volume for their region.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: American Places Dictionary: A Guide to ...
Publisher: Omnigraphics
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: very good+
Edition: First Edition.

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Abate, Frank
Published by Omnigraphics, New York (1994)
ISBN 10: 1558887474 ISBN 13: 9781558887473
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Plurabelle Books Ltd
(Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Book Description Omnigraphics, New York, 1994. Condition: Very Good. 4 Large hardbacks with illustrated laminated cover, corners a little bumped but pages clean with double columned text, little use, nice set, a firm and clean set: Volume 1: Northeast, Volume 2: South, Volume 3: Midwest, Volume 4: West. Seller Inventory # PAB 80547

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