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Makers of New Zealand

Dr. G. H. Scholefield 3 s Valuable Work

By KEREHI

N'OW that the second of its two volumes has been published, Dr. G. H. Scholefield's "Dictionary of New Zealand Biography" stands out as one of the most permanently valuable works «of reference yet produced in the Dominion. It is an excellent legacy from the Centennial year. In more than 1000 largo pages, the dictionary contains, on a .rough estimate, biographies of about 2250 men and women, now dead, who in their different ways contributed to the making of New Zealand. As lie says in the preface, Dr. Scholefield had such a project in mind as early as the year 1907. Ho made various efforts in its direction, particularly bv compiling a "Who's Who in New Zealand," which ran through tlirco editions, and by collecting a vast amount of biographical material. This he hoped- to publish as a private venture. "When the National Historical Committee came into existence." he remarks, "it appeared appropriate that the dictionary should he one of the official Centennial publications, and I was thus relieved of the burden of making it a financial success and enabled to devote moro time and thought to tho - work of

writing and compilation. Thus more than 95 per cent of the biographies are my own."

The work is modelled upon the standard English "Dictionary of National Biography," and tho editor explains at souio length tho principles that guided him. The basis of selection was the standing and significance of tho subjects in tho life of New Zealand; their service to their follow men in public life, scholarship or character, as distinct from mere personal success in the acquisition of wealth. All the greater figures in New Zealand history aro to bo found in tho dictionary's pages —explorers, statesmen, soldiers, Maori chiefs and leaders, missionaries, pioneers of agriculture and industry, scientists, teachers, artists and literary men. Interspersed with them arc a host of lesser folk, -but in all tho number it is difficult to find any who have not some claim to be included.

Help from innumerable sources is freely acknowledged, and articles by contributors bear their author's name. An invaluable feature is the list of sources appended to each notice. There are also a bibliography and a full index to cross-references.

"A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, edited by G. 11. Scholefield, 0.8. E., D.Sc. (Department of Internal Affairs.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19401130.2.157.26.2

Bibliographic details

Makers of New Zealand, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 23827, 30 November 1940, Supplement

Word Count
402

Makers of New Zealand New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 23827, 30 November 1940, Supplement

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