For immediate release | January 27, 2013

'Dictionary of American Regional English' wins RUSA’s Dartmouth Medal for excellence in reference publications

SEATTLE — The winner of the 2013 Dartmouth Medal for most outstanding reference work, an annual award presented by the expert reference and collection development librarians of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA, is the “Dictionary of American Regional English” published by Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

In describing this year’s winner, the committee felt compelled to use words like “monumental” and “stupendous” to describe this invaluable reference source: the “Dictionary of American Regional English” is the culmination of extensive field work, attention to detail, and a lot of hard work. This project was begun 65 years ago, with penciled post cards and call ins to a radio station, and has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1970, with additional significant support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Over the decades, editors Frederick Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall have worked with hundreds of staff, volunteers, and students to compile this comprehensive dictionary of American English usage. Citations extend from the 17th century to the 21st century. This dictionary includes linguistic maps with 1002 data points reflecting the area of each state proportional to its population, and it contains over 13,000 entries in the bibliography, and 5,263 pages documenting all aspects of American regional speech. The committee also selected “The Encyclopedia of Ancient History”, published by Wiley-Blackwell as a 2013 Honorable Mention. This work compiles broad based scholarship on ancient Greece, Rome, the ancient Near East, and Pharaonic Egypt from international contributors. Its over 5000 entries in 13 volumes from the late Bronze Age through the 7th century CE will provide valuable research assistance to students, researchers and readers of ancient history.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Not a member, but interested in being part of a member community and enjoying discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at Learn more about the association at


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