Early usage guide writer a talkshow host

Hardly any news if the information can be readily found on the Internet, but for me it was: Bergen Evans (1904-1978), the author of A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage (1957) together with his sister Cornelia , hosted a talkshow on language. I didn’t know they had language talkshows in those days, but Wikipedia writes that Evans received an award in 1957 “for excellence in broadcasting for his CBS TV series The Last Word“.

Here we see him in action, in a TV show sponsored by a cigarette brand, something that would be unheard of today. (Imagine the headline: language talkshow sponsored by cigarette manufacturer!)

The picture is from a webpage on the Evans family, on a site called Totley History Group. On the same page, we see another picture of him, this time with his sister and co-usage-guide writer Cornelia (“Connie”):

The webpage also tells us that it took them seven years to write the book. Isn’t it all amazing! The webpage was also very helpful in determining Cornelia’s lifedates. It shows the family grave, and if I can read the numbers correctly, she lived from 1901-1986 (but please correct me if I’m wrong):

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2 Responses to Early usage guide writer a talkshow host

  1. If only we had tapes of those discussions. It would be fascinating to see what issues the public raised: how many specifically US, how many the same as are raised now.

    • Absolutely! I tried to find out more about the talkshow, but there doesn’t seem to anything available online. I’m sure that CBS would have more information, but this I leave to other people to go into further.

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