For the first time, this restored and reimagined edition of Heck’s Iconographic Encyclopædia brings together the original multi-volume collection of more than 13,000 illustrations and 1.6 million words of descriptions into one interactive project.
In 1844, German publisher Johann Georg Heck started compiling his illustrated encyclopedia, covering a wide range of subjects from astronomy to zoology and published his encyclopedia between 1849 and 1851 as a 10-part collection. Originally titled Bilder-Atlas zum Conversations-Lexicon. Ikonographische Encyklopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste, it was released as a supplement to Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, a German encyclopedia. Between 1851 and 1852, it was translated to English as Iconographic Encyclopædia of Science, Literature, and Art and edited by Spencer Fullerton Baird, who would later become the first curator of the Smithsonian Institution.
Over the course of 13 months, scans of 500 engraved plates and 3,000 pages of text were integrated into a single comprehensive edition. Scans were also made freely available for download under a public domain license. Enhancements included analysis, history, and artwork based on data derived from previous editions. Plates and their figures were incorporated with their descriptions to facilitate easy reference, resulting in an interactive experience that honors the original intent from more than 170 years prior.
Published February 6, 2022