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This is the seventh annual volume of matter selected from that department of The INTER OCEAN popularly known as OUR CURIOSITY SHOP. To those acquainted with the Daily, SEMA-WEEKLY, and WEEKLY editions of THE INTER OCEAN, it is unnecessary to explain that this clepartment is devoted to answers to mquiries made by our readers respectiny subjects as varied almost as the knowledge-seekers theinselves. This information is first published in the columns of TAR INTER OCEAN, and then the most suitable and valuable material is selected—a small part of the whole-and arranged in this form for the benefit of the general reader. Each article is complete in itself. Such has been the popular demand for OUR CURIOSITY SHOP in book form that THE INTER OCEAN has had all its annual issues since 1879 (that is, those for 1880, 1881, 1882, and 1883) stereotyped, and many extra editions of each of these have been published to meet the demands of our patrons. The two books published prior to 1880 were not thus stereotyped, and hence are out of print.
The general plan outlined when these little volumes first took their present shape has generally been followed. That was, to make them handy books of general information for the people. The reader has here in the succeeding pages matters political, biographical, scientific, historical, financial, commercial, religious, agricultural, etc., all treated in a pointed, practical way. The cyclopedias are accessible to the few only, not to the masses;
and even those who can consult them soon discover that they speedily fall behind as standda ards of reference of the immediate past. Also, the people are often more concerned with N what took place a year or two since than that which occurred ten, twenty, or fifty years
ago. And yet the very nearness of this class of events places the references to them very frequently beyond the reach of those must anxious to be informed. This little volume, as well as the series of which it is a part, nas sought to supply measurably this deficiency.
There have been added to the present volume an article on Army Corps Badges and a chapter containing Miscellaneous Information. The pages given to the illustrated article on Army Corps Badges will be of especial value and interest to all ex-soldiers, and also, no doubt, to all those who had relatives or friends in the Union armies during the Slavery War, as well as to every patriot grateful to the boys in blue” who went down to the sunny recession South to fignt for freedom and an undivided Nation. The Miscellaneons Information chapu r contains reference lists and tables which will be useful alike to the student and the general reader.
The Index, which concludes this little work, will be found worthy of careful attention. Accuracy and completeness have in its compilation been earnestly considered, and, it is believed, successfully carried out. A book of general information like OUR CURIOSITY SHOP, with such an Index, is doubly useful and valuable. The letters a and b in the Index will be noticed by the reader. The letter a indicates that the reference is to the left-hand column; the letter b indicates that the reference is to the right-hand column; and when the letters a-b appear the meaning is that the reference is to be found in both columns of the page. This, It is thought, will aid the reader in at once locating exactly on what part of the page the Information sought for is located.
In a work of the character and extent of OUR CURIOSITY SHOP, it will be understood that the sources of information are almost without number. Near and remote public and privite libraries, municipal, county, State, and Federal oficials, professors in leading educa tional institutions, scientists, and others have been consulted, and have cheerfully and promptly lent aid to the editor in compiting the materials contained in the subjoined pages.
T. C. M.