Read, Allen Walker

About the author: Allen Walker Read grew up in Iowa, receiving his BA and MA from universities there. He was a Rhodes Scholars and was awarded a B.Litt and D.Litt from Oxford University. After several teaching positions and war service, he taught at Columbia University from 1945 to 1974 and is now Professor Emeritus of English. Linguist, lexicographer, folklorist, and historian, much of his research was focused on naming. He served as president of the American Name Society.

America - Naming the Country and Its People
2001 0-7734-7391-2
This book does an important service to scholarship by rescuing the hitherto scattered and unpublished talks that Allen Walker Read, considered the dean of onomastics, gave to The American Name Society and other learned societies. Each of these papers bears the mark of an inquiring, industrious, and insightful scholar whom Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar) eventually honored with a doctorate of letters. “Professor Read is the dean of American place name scholars, and this book is a collection of (mainly short) fugitive pieces by him, never before published. It is carefully annotated. It is clearly authoritative work which deserves to be in print and which many others working in the field will want to possess. Besides that, it is engagingly written.” – Charles A. Huttar “Allen Walker Read is the most scholarly person to have addressed historical questions of onomastics in America, and these papers are a significant contribution that will be valued by others in the field. What makes his work so important is his unequalled ability to use historical materials to illuminate naming practices. For seventy years, he has patiently explored archival materials: old newspapers, diaries, letters, and all sorts of conventionally published work. . . . Allen Read’s work shows where truth is to be found: in the historical record. And the stories to be found there are as fascinating as any of those thrown up by folklore.” – Richard W. Bailey