English . . . American style

From the autobiography of John Russell Bartlett (1805-1886):

“In the year 1847 [actually 1848] I published my Dictionary of Americanisms . . . [which I began] while travelling in a canal boat from Utica, west, on the way to visit my father at Cape Vincent. I amused myself in reading a late work in which the vulgar language of the United States abounded. I marked them on the margin of the book, and on my return to New York noted them down in an interleaved copy of Pickering’s Vocabulary . . . [after more collecting] I soon found that I had . . . collected sufficient to make a volume much larger than that of Mr. Pickering . . . I now set vigorously to work . . . [and] carried a memo book in my pocket in which I noted down all the new words and phrases that I heard spoken, or read in the newspapers . . . When finished the work was published by Bartlett and Welford and met with a ready sale.”
The Dictionary of Americanisms was Bartlett’s greatest commercial writing success. First published in 1848 in an edition of 750 copies, it was revised and enlarged through three succeeding editions—1859 (shown here), 1861, and 1877—and published by Little, Brown and Company in Boston. In December 2002, John Wiley & Sons issued a facsimile reproduction of the first edition of 1848, promoting the book as “a rediscovered classic.”

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