The Dame of Dictionaries
A woman turns her passion for words into one of the world’s preeminent dictionary collections, filling her West Village home to the bursting point with some 20,000 titles.
"This is my favorite wall," Madeline Kripke says as she shines a flashlight at the slang section of her dictionary collection. On the glass-enclosed shelves sit numerous lingo dictionaries that capture the speech of cowboys, flappers, mariners, gamblers, truck drivers, hippies, homosexuals, jive talkers, soldiers, circus workers, hobos, fliers, Valley Girls, thieves, con men and more.
Kripke has dictionaries that–as a fan of them myself–I’d never imagined existed, ranging from a four-century-old tome that looks like some ancient book of spells to miniature dictionaries small as postage stamps kept in lockets that double as magnifying glasses.
"I conceive of each of these books as a sparkling jewel," she says while giving a tour.
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