The World According To Zell (Photo: Rick Rhodes)

An Artistic Encyclopedia

An encyclopedia (also spelled encyclopaedia or encyclopædia) is a comprehensive written compendium holding information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge. Encyclopedias are divided into articles with one article on each subject covered. The articles on subjects in an encyclopedia are usually accessed alphabetically by article name and can be contained in one volume or many volumes, depending on the amount of material included.(source:

Indeed, the purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race in the future years to come. — Diderot
This piece of art seems to contain a large number of images in a variety of fields. This fits the broad definition of an encyclopedia by encompassing information from all branches of knowledge. This encyclopedia, however, breaks the ties that bind regular encyclopedia's to print by being exclusively a compilation of pictures, which earns it the title, artistic encyclopedia.

Zell's Popular Encyclopedia

The full text encyclopedia can be viewed at the URL's_popular_encyclopedia through the Open Library Project. The book is two volumes, both approximately 1,200 pages.

The first page of entries starts with a half-page illustration and the heading "A Universal Dictionary of Knowledge and Language." Within the illustration are many books, a globe, and painting supplies. In the center is a coin-like object resting on leaves.It depicts a warrior woman wearing a helmet and armor. Above her head is written "Scientia est potentia," which translates from Latin as "For also knowledge itself is power."

Page One of Zell's Popular Encyclopedia

This famous phrase is a Latin maxim stated originally by Francis Bacon in Meditationes Sacrae (1597), which in modern times is often paraphrased as "knowledge is power." [1]. The phrase implies that with knowledge or education one's potential or abilities in life will certainly increase. Having and sharing knowledge is widely recognised as the basis for improving one's reputation and influence, thus power. This phrase may also be used as a justification for a reluctance to share information when a person believes that withholding knowledge can deliver to that person some form of advantage. It is possible that Bacon was paraphrasing Proverbs 24:5: "A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength." Another possible meaning for this phrase can be found in philosophical idealism - if the world exists solely as the content of consciousness, then knowledge itself can be used to directly manipulate the content of reality. (source:

The phrase is used on the Information Awareness Office Seal. The seal depicts a globe being watched by the all-seeing eye on top of the pyramid that is iconic in American imagery. The eye emits a soft yellow glow that shines directly at the bit of the globe showing Europe and the Eastern United States. The office was established by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in January 2002 to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying information technology to counter asymmetric threats to national security. The IAO mission was to "imagine,,, , develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transitioninformation technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness." Following public criticism that the development and deployment of these technologies could potentially lead to a mass surveillance system, the IAO was defunded by Congress in 2003, although several of the projects run under IAO have continued under different funding. (source:

IAO Seal
IAO Seal

The seal depicts a globe being watched by the all-seeing eye on top of the pyramid that is iconic in American imagery. The eye emits a soft yellow glow that shines directly at the bit of the globe showing Europe and the Eastern United States.

Zell's Popular Encyclopedia in the New Englander

The New Englander and Yale Review, Thirty-first edition, published in 1872, printed a review of this work:
"Zell's Popular Encyclopedia conveys a great amount of information in a very compressed form, and will abundantly satisfy all reasonable expectations of such a work. The information is brought down to the present time, and is commonly minute enough for all ordinary purposes. It will be found not only very valuable to those who cannot afford a more extensive work, but exceedingly convenient to those who can. So far as we have examined, we have found it trust worthy. In one instance in which we had occasion to refer it, we gained more satisfactory,because more definite, information, than from the much longer article of another and larger work. On many topics the reader must expect only the outlines of a subject;but he will often be surprised to see how much can be conveyed in a small compass."

In the footnotes, the authors noted the publication details exactly as follows:
"Zell's Popular Encyclopedia. A universal Dictionary of the English Language, Science, Literature, and Art. By L. Colange, LL.D. In two volumes. Illustrated by 2,500 wood-cuts. Vol. II. Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell. Pp. 1,152, 4to."

This section of the New Englander and Yale Review, Edition 31, can be viewed on page 598 through Google Books at URL

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