ISAAC KAUFFMAN FUNK Biography - Writers


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Name: Isaac Kaufmann Funk                                                               
Born: 1839                                                                             
Died: 1912                                                                             
Isaac Kaufmann Funk (1839-1912) was an American editor, lexicographer, publisher,       
and spelling reformer. He was born on September 10, 1839 in the town of Clifton,       
Ohio. He attended Wittenberg College (Now Wittenberg University) and Wittenberg         
Theological Seminary, both in Springfield, Ohio. Upon his graduation in 1860, he       
was ordained as a Lutheran pastor, and served pastorates in New York, Indiana,         
and his home state of Ohio. He made an extensive tour through Europe, northern         
Africa, and Asia Minor in 1872.                                                         
In 1876 he founded the publishing firm of I.K. Funk & Company, with the help of         
a Wittenberg classmate, Adam Willis Wagnalls. In 1890 the name was changed to           
Funk & Wagnalls Company, to more accurately reflect Wagnalls' partnership. In           
that same year, Funk published The Literary Digest, a departure from the               
religious works earlier in his career.                                                 
Perhaps Funk's most important achievement was his The Standard Dictionary of the       
English Language, published in 1893. He worked with a team of more than 740             
people. His aim was to provide essential information thoroughly and simply at           
the same time. In order to achieve this he placed current meanings first,               
archaic meanings second, and etymologies last.                                         
From 1901-06, Funk and Wagnalls compiled the Jewish Encyclopedia. Dr. Funk was a       
Prohibitionist and founded the Voice (1880), an organ of that party. His final         
resting place is in New York's Green-Wood Cemetery interred Lot 26127 Section           
He interested himself in psychical research and published:                             
The Next Step in Evolution. (1902)                                                     
The Widow's Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena, (1904)                                   
The Psychic Riddle, (1907)