Then and Now
Celebrate 100 years of The World Book Encyclopedia by taking a look at the world in 1917 compared to today.

The Roof of the World

Since the publication of the 1917 edition, however, many people have “accomplished the feat” of scaling Mount Everest. Here are just three milestones in the history of summiting the mountain, taken from the 2017 edition of World Book.

Guess Who: “English author, soldier and statesman”

In 1917, The World Book Encyclopedia found him important enough to merit a 2-paragraph biography. A picture caption identified him as an “English author, soldier and statesman.” The article’s lead sentence called him “one of the best-known of the modern group of English statesmen.” Can you guess who he was?


The 1917 World Book article describes football’s early history and development. Readers today may be surprised to learn that football in the 21st century remains largely unchanged from the sport World Book described 100 years ago.

Changing Map of Africa | Africa: 1917 and Now

When the first World Book was published in 1917, there were only two independent countries in Africa: Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and Liberia. Together, they made up less than 5 percent of the land area of the continent. The rest of Africa was divided into colonies controlled by the European nations of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Halloween Then and Now

Are you excited that its Halloween? Halloween has been a popular and festive holiday in America since the beginning of the colonial period.