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


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.

Two Peach Baskets and a Soccer Ball

When the first edition of The World Book Encyclopedia was published in 1917, basketball was barely 25 years old. The 1917 article called the game “basket ball” and portrayed it as a form of self-improvement. “It is an excellent game not only for physical exercise but for mental training as well, as it calls for concentration, quickness of perception and thought and the ‘team work’ which is so valuable for all group play.”

A Day in the Life of a 1917 Baseball Fan

The “Baseball” article in the 2017 edition of The World Book Encyclopedia states, “Baseball is so popular in the United States that it is often called the national pastime.” The 1917 World Book was...