Melvil Dewey


After Dewey’s death in 1931, the menus returned to regular English spelling. His decimal system fared better. He lived to see it in use throughout the world and adopted by 96 per cent of the public libraries and 89 per cent of the college libraries in America. Roger Howson, librarian of Columbia University at the time of Dewey’s death, wrote: “Who among us can specify exactly the place that Dewey, who prepared a place for everything, holds himself? He needs no wreath of laurel (583.931), no stainedglass window (729.84), no pyramid (913.32). Go into any library and look around. From 010 to 999 the books are there in serried ranks, drawn up in regiments of knowledge, marshalled according to his plans of organization. He has made the lights so shine that the whole field is equally to be surveyed.”