A guide to the many general and specialized quotation dictionaries in the research collections of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
Dictionaries of quotations fulfill many needs: identifying a given quotation, verifying an author, providing suitable quotations for a subject area, and supplying selections from the writings of prominent persons. The research collections of The New York Public Library supply a wide assortment of general and specialized quotation dictionaries, and these sources, when properly employed, provide the researcher with an inestimable tool in researching the statements of notable people.
The research collections possess a varied collection of quotation dictionaries, and a significant number of these are available in the open stack area. The Information Desk in the Public Catalog area is able to provide the researcher with the standard reference works in this area (many of which are discussed below). In addition, the Rose Main Reading Room provides a working collection of quotation dictionaries which duplicate and supplement the holdings available in the Public Catalog area. Those who wish to browse through quotation dictionaries are particularly invited to explore the many books on this topic which are available in the Reading Room, the majority under the call numbers extending from*R-RMRR PN6080
The Rose Main Reading Room collection includes general and specialized dictionaries of quotations in the major western European languages.
Using the Catalogs
Quotation Books for Specific Individuals
Quotation Books Arranged by Language and Nationality
Quotation Books by Subject
General instructions for locating materials are given in Research Guide, How Do I Find a Book?. The following information is specific to the topic at hand.
Many of the books dealing with quotations are housed in the stacks and access to them is only through the catalogs of the Research Libraries. Materials received by the Library prior to 1972 are catalogued in the Dictionary Catalog; those received in 1972 and thereafter are catalogued in CATNYP, the online catalog. Both catalogs offer a wide selection of quotation dictionaries, but each has its own system of subject headings for this area. Please note that the vast majority of entries from the Dictionary Catalog are now accessible in CATNYP.
In the Dictionary Catalog, general anthologies of quotations are found under the subject heading Quotations, which begins on page 399 of volume 604; those collections with a specific mode of organization are located under the subject heading Quotations-Dictionaries, beginning on page 416 of volume 604.
CATNYP places general collections of quotations under the subject heading Quotations; to find these choose either the subject or keyword access on the menu, and then type in the word quotations. This command will provide a list of all quotation books, both general and subject-oriented, acquired by the Library.
Quotation Books for Specific Individuals
In CATNYP, select the keyword approach from the menu and type in the name of the individual followed by the word quotations; please employ the conjunction and between words or phrases. For example,
Albert Schweitzer and quotations
In the Dictionary Catalog, the anthologies of quotations of an individual are normally found under that person's name:
Kennedy, John F.
In some cases, however, the subheading Selections is employed. For example, a collection of Shakespeare quotations is listed under the heading
Shakespeare, William. Selections.
Quotation Books Arranged by Language and Nationality
In CATNYP, select the keyword approach and type the word Quotations followed by the name of the language or nationality desired. Once again it is necessary to use the conjunction and between words or phrases. For example,
Quotations and American
Quotations and English
Quotations and Russian.
The Dictionary Catalog arranges these works by the subject heading Quotations followed by the language or nationality desired. For example,
Quotation Books by Subject
In CATNYP, use the keyword approach and type the name of the subject desired followed by the word quotations. It is necessary to use the conjunction and between words or phrases. For example,
Chess and Quotations
Communism and Quotations
Law and Quotations
Presidents and United States and Quotations
Religion and Quotations
Sports and Quotations
Wall Street and Quotations
Railroads and Quotations
The Dictionary Catalog lists quotation books for particular subjects under the appropriate subject heading followed by the subheading Quotations, for example:
Education - Quotations
Fishing - Quotations
Some subject areas require special attention. In the Dictionary Catalog, quotation collections dealing with women are listed under Woman--Quotations. To find this material in CATNYP, use the keyword approach and type Women and Quotations. Quotation books dealing with Blacks are located in CATNYP under the keywords: Quotations and Black
Quotations and African Americans.
Anthologies of the dying words of notable persons are listed in the Dictionary Catalog under the subject heading Last Words. CATNYP employs the same term in both keyword and subject searches.
(N.B. Works on last words must be used with caution as they often disagree amongst themselves!)
General Dictionaries Of Quotations
The following titles are standard dictionaries of quotations in the English language, that is, the entries appeared originally in English or are translations into English from foreign languages. In most cases, only the call number for the latest edition is given. For other copies or earlier editions, please check CATNYP for call numbers and appropriate locations. (Please note that a quotation dictionary, exclusively in French, is included in this list.)
Bartlett, John. Familiar Quotations, 17th ed. (Boston, Mass.; London: Little, Brown, 2002). PubCat PN6081 .B27. A standard, comprehensive collection whose primary arrangement is by author (listed chronologically by birth date); indexes are by keyword and author. Earlier editions of this work (see the catalogs for appropriate call numbers) are useful for quotations omitted in the latest edition.
Benham, William G. Benham’s Book of Quotations, Proverbs, and Household Words (London: Harrap, 1948). PubCat PN6080 .B35. The English-language section of this dictionary of quotations is arranged by author. However, the special sections covering quotations in Latin, Greek, and western European languages are arranged by the first word of the quotation (translations into English provided). A section entitled "Waifs and Strays" (arranged by topics such as "Sundial Inscriptions" and "London Street Sayings") provides a listing for miscellaneous and idiosyncratic quotations. A keyword index is available for English language quotations.
Bloomsbury Dictionary of Quotations (London: Bloomsbury, 1987). *R-RMRR PN6081 .B55. This work is arranged by author; a keyword index is supplied.
Dournon, Jean-Yves. Le grand dictionnaire des citations francaises, rev. ed. (Paris: Archipel, 2002). *R-RMRR PN6086 .D68. Arranged by subject, with author index.
Ehrlich, Eugene H, ed., International Thesaurus of Quotations (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996). *R-RMRR PN6081. T77. Primarily arranged by subject, this work is also indexed by author, source, and keyword.
The Home Book of Quotations, Classical and Modern, 10th ed., selected and arranged by Burton Stevenson (New York: Greenwich House, 1984). PubCat PN6081 .H 635. This comprehensive dictionary of quotations is primarily arranged by subject; author and keyword indexes are provided.
Hoyt, J.K. Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations Drawn from the Speech and Literature of All Nations (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1927). PubCat PN6081 .H7. This comprehensive collection, arranged by subject, includes author and keyword indexes.
Mencken, Henry Louis. A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles from Ancient and Modern Sources (New York: Knopf, 1987, c.1942). *R-RMRR PN6081 .M49. This comprehensive collection, notable for its inclusion of many lesser-known quotations, is arranged only by subject (with cross references to related headings). No indexes.
The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying, and Quotation, edited by Elizabeth Knowles (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). *R-RMRR PN6080 .O945. Arranged primarily by themes or subjects, supplemented by keyword index.
The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 5th ed. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). *R-RMRR PN6080 .O95. Arranged by author, this dictionary supplies a keyword index.
Powell, David. The Wisdom of the Novel: A Dictionary of Quotations (New York: Garland, 1985). JFE 85-2457. Arranged by subject, this dictionary draws its quotations from English and American authors published between 1470 and 1900; author, novel, and keyword indexes are provided.
Stevenson, Burton E. The Home Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Familiar Phrases (New York: Macmillan, 1956), 2 vols. PubCat PN6405 .S74. This comprehensive work is arranged by subject with cross references to related headings; a keyword index is provided.
Webster’s New World Dictionary of Quotations (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005). *R-RMRR PN6080 .W43. Arranged by author, with keyword index.
Yale Book of Quotations, edited by Fred R. Shapiro (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006). *R-RMRR PN6081 .Y35. Arranged primarily by author, with keyword index. This work is notable for its special sections, which include advertising slogans, political slogans, folk songs, and radio/television catchphrases.
Bilingual and Multilingual Dictionaries
Most dictionaries of quotations are in one language only. However, there are some notable collections which provide quotations in the original language accompanied by English translations. Some of the major works in this area are listed below.
Branyon, Richard A. Latin Phrases and Quotations, rev. ed. (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1997). PubCat PA2365 .E5 B73. Arranged by first word of Latin quotation, followed by English translation.
Concise Dictionary of Foreign Quotations, edited by Anthony Lejeune. (London: Stacey London, 1998). *R-RMRR PN6080 .C57. Quotations are in Latin, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, with English translations.
Dalbiac, Lilian. Dictionary of Quotations (German) (New York: Ungar, 1958). JFE 88-1888. This dictionary, arranged alphabetically by the first word of the German quotation, provides an English translation for each quotation. Author and subject indexes provided.
Guterman, Norbert. A Book of French Quotations, with English Translations (Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1963). *R-RMRR PN6086 .G85. This work is arranged chronologically by author's birth date, with English translations opposite the French text. Indexes are by author, first line of the French text, and first line of the English text.
Guterman, Norbert. A Book of Latin Quotations, with English Translations(Garden City: Anchor, 1966). C-13 4763. This is arranged chronologically by author's birth date, with English translations opposite the Latin text. Indexes are by author, subject, and keyword in Latin.
Harbottle, Thomas. Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (New York: Macmillan, 1901). NAY. French quotations are in Part One, while Italian quotations are in Part Two. Each section is arranged alphabetically by first word of French or Italian quotation; English translations immediately follow. Indexes are by author and subject for each language. The 1904 edition of this work is also available under the call number NAY.
Harbottle, Thomas. Dictionary of Quotations (Spanish) (New York: Ungar, 1958). *R-RMRR PN6095 .S5 H3. This dictionary is arranged alphabetically by first word of the Spanish quotation; an English translation immediately follows. Indexes are by author and by subject (both English and Spanish).
Jones, Hugh P. Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (Edinburgh: Grant, 1958). *R-RMRR PN6080 .J77d. Covering Latin, Greek, and modern western European tongues, this dictionary is arranged by language and, within that, alphabetically by first word of phrase or quotation. An English-language translation follows each entry. An author index is provided.
King, William F. Classical and Foreign Quotations (New York: Ungar, 1965). *R-RMRR PN6080 .K5. Includes classical and modern western European languages and is arranged alphabetically (without regard to language) by first word of quotation. Each quotation is followed by an English-language translation. Author and subject indexes (in English only) are included.
Ramage, Craufurd. Familiar Quotations from French and Italian Authors, with English Translations (Detroit: Gale Research, 1968). *R-RMRR PN6080 .R3; Familiar Quotations from German and Spanish Authors (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1968). *R-RMRR PN6080 .R32; and Familiar Quotations from Greek Authors, with English Translations (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1968). *R-RMRR PN6080 .R33. Each of these three volumes is arranged alphabetically by author with an English translation immediately following the foreign language quotation. Foreign language indexes (appearing in all volumes) are arranged alphabetically by first lines of quoted matter; English-language indexes (also found in all volumes) are arranged alphabetically by first word(s) of quoted material or by keyword.
Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations, compiled by Jon R. Stone (New York: Routledge, 2005). *R-RMRR PN6080 .R68. Arranged by first word of Latin quotation, followed by English translation. There is an author index and a selected English to Latin index.
Specialized Dictionaries Of Note
African American Wisdom, edited by Reginald McKnight (San Rafael, Calif., Calif.: New World Library, 1993) JFC 94-2590. Also available at the Schomburg Library.
The Beacon Book of Quotations by Women,compiled by Rosalie Maggio (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992). JFF 97-315.
Newman, Richard. African American Quotations (Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1998) Copy on order for the Rose Main Reading Room; another copy is available at the Schomburg Library.
Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, edited by Peter Kemp (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). *R-RMRR PN6081 .O89.
Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations, 3rd ed., edited by Antony Jay (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). *R-RMRR PN6084 .P6 O94.
The Quotable Gardener, edited by Charles Elliott. (New York: Lyons Press, 1999). JFC 01-2053.
The Quotable Woman, from Eve to 1799 (New York: Facts on File, 1985) *R-RMRR PN 6081.5 .Q64 b1941528 and The Quotable Woman, 1800-1981 (New York: Facts on File, 1982) *R-RMRR PN6081.5 .Q6. b1793510 These companion volumes, compiled by Claudia B. Alexander, are arranged chronologically by birth date of author; indexes are by author and subject.
The Quotable Woman: The First 5,000 Years, compiled and edited by Elaine T. Partnow (New York: Facts on File, 2001). JFF 01-1459. Arranged chronologically by birth date of the author; indexes are arranged by author, occupation, nationality or ethnicity, and subject.
Quotations in Black (Westwood, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981). Available at the Schomburg Library. Compiled by Anita King, this dictionary of quotations by blacks is arranged chronologically by birth date of author. Indexes are by author and subject/keyword.
Selected Internet Sites
- Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
Search and browse 11,000 quotations from the 10th edition of Bartlett's published in 1919.
- IMDb Movie/TV Quotes Browser
Movie and TV quotes from the Internet Movie Database.
Literary, humorous, and random quotations, plus quotations by topic.
- Simpson's Contemporary Quotations
10,000 notable quotations from 4,000 sources covering the years 1950 to 1988. Browse subject and author indexes to find quotations with full citations.