VIRTUAL EVENT: Book Talk: A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested
Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5
Virtual Event: Book Talk: A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order
with Judith Flanders in conversation with Peter Sokolowski
A Place for Everything is the first-ever history of alphabetization, from the Library of Alexandria to Wikipedia. The story of alphabetical order has been shaped by some of history's most compelling characters, such as industrious and enthusiastic early adopter Samuel Pepys and dedicated alphabet champion Denis Diderot. But though even George Washington was a proponent, many others stuck to older forms of classification -- Yale listed its students by their family's social status until 1886. And yet, while the order of the alphabet now rules -- libraries, phone books, reference books, even the order of entry for the teams at the Olympic Games -- it has remained curiously invisible.
With abundant inquisitiveness and wry humor, historian Judith Flanders traces the triumph of alphabetical order and offers a compendium of Western knowledge, from A to Z.
Judith Flanders is a social historian. Her works include the bestselling The Invention of Murder, Inside the Victorian Home, and The Victorian City. She is senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, as well as a frequent contributor to the Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.
Peter Sokolowski is Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster. He has written definitions for many of Merriam-Webster’s dictionaries, is active as a blogger, podcaster, speaker on language, and has served as a pronouncer for spelling bees worldwide. He was named among TIME's 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.
To request real-time captions for this event, please contact Hannah Weisman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-720-7617 no fewer than four business days prior to the event.