CARNEGIE ASSAULTS THE SPELLING BOOK
To Pay the Cost of Reforming English Orthography.
CAMPAIGN ABOUT TO BEGIN
Board Named, with Headquarters Here - Local Societies Throughout the Country.
Announcement was made yesterday that an organization, including prominent men of affairs as well as men of letters, has been formed to urge the simplification of English spelling. This new body is called the Simplified Spelling Board. It will appeal to all who for educational or practical reasons wish to make English spelling easier to learn. Andrew Carnegie has undertaken to bear the expense of the organization. Mr. Carnegie has long been convinced that English might be made the world language of the future, and thus one of the influences leading to universal peace; and he believes that the chief obstacle to its speedy adoption is to be found in its contradictory and difficult spelling.
The Simplified Spelling Board contains some thirty members, living in various parts of the Union. some of them are authors of wide reputation; some are professed scholars connected with leading universities; some are editors of the foremost American dictionaries; some are men distinguished in public life, and some are men of affairs, prominent in civil life.
The membership is not yet complete, but it now includes Chancellor Andrews of the University of Nebraska, Justice Brewer of the United States Supreme Court, President Butler of Columbia University, O. C. Blackmer of Chicago, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Dr. Melvil Dewey, Dr. Isaac K. Funk, editor and publisher of The Standard Dictionary; Lyman J. Gage, ex-Secretary of the Treasury; Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine; Dr. William T. Harris, United States Commissioner of Education and editor of Webster's International Dictionary; Prof. George Hempel of the University of Michigan, Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Holt, Prof. William James of Harvard, President Jordan of Leland Stanford University, Prof. Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale, Prof. Francis A. March of Lafayette, Prof. Brander Matthews of Columbia, Dr. Benjamin E. Smith, editor, and Dr. Charles P. G. Scott, etymological editor, of The Century Dictionary; President H. H. Seedley of the Iowa State Normal School, Cedar Falls; Col. Charles E. Sprague, President of the Union Dime Savings Institution; Prof. Calvin Thomas of Columbia, Dr. William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent, and President Woodward of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
The establishment of the Simplified Spelling Board is the result of an effort made within the last year to obtain the use by men of position, of certain simplified spellings adopted some years ago by the National Educational Association and now used by several important publications. The response to this request was cordial. Hundreds of signatures were received, pledging the writers to use these simpler forms in their personal correspondence. The members of the Simplified Spelling Board believe that the time is now ripe for a forward movement.
They do not intent to urge any violent alteration in the appearance of familiar words. They will not advance any extreme theories. They will not expect to accomplish their task in a day or in a year. They wish, in brief, to expedite that process of simplification which has been going on in English, in spite of the opposition of conservatives, ever since the invention of printing, notably in the omission of silent and useless letters.
The immediate activities of the Simplified Spelling Board will be directed by an Executive committee chosen from the members residing in New York. An office will be opened in New York to serve as headquarters for the work, and from this office the campaign of education will be conducted by a competent staff. Local societies will be organized wherever a group of willing workers can be gathered together. Comprehensive plans are being mapped out, which will take years for their full accomplishment.
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