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The Statesman's Yearbook and Other Yearbooks as Historical Sources

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Park, Mi So
Term Paper, Categories of Historical Sources Class, July 2010

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. What is an Annual
III. The Statesman's Yearbook
III.1 What is the Statesman's Yearbook
III.2 History of the Statesman's Yearbook
III.3 Changes in the Statesman's Yearbook
III.4 Editors
III.5 Purpose of the Statesman's Yearbook
III.6 Contents of the Statesman's Yearbook
III.7 The Korea Coverage of the Statesman's Yearbook
III.7.1 Corea ? Korea !
III.7.2 Interesting Facts to Consider Regarding Korea
III.7.2.1 Year 1895
III.7.2.2 Year 1928
III.7.2.3 Year 1959
III.8 Sources of the Statesman's Yearbook
III.9 Limitations of the Statesman's Yearbook
IV. Other Yearbooks
IV.1 Encyclopaedia Britannica - Britannica Book of the Year
IV.2 New International Encyclopedia - The International Yearbook
IV.3 Purpose of Yearbooks
V. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            If a person talks of an annual, the range of an annual could includes all the books that are published yearly. As a result, the word annual can be used interchangeably with yearbook. Even under the category of annual, there are varieties of types. However, the Statesman's Yearbook, which will be the main focus of this paper, is a typical encyclopedic yearbook. Throughout the paper, history, change, purpose, and contents of the Statesman's Yearbook will be discussed mainly. Unlike some of other encyclopedic yearbooks, long history of the Statesman's Yearbook gives a specialty to its series: it can be a historical reference. The Statesman's Yearbook, nevertheless, is not the only encyclopedic yearbook. Britannica Book of the Year and The International Yearbook are also encyclopedic yearbooks. These yearbooks, however, differ from the Statesman's Yearbook in that they are supplement for encyclopedia while the Statesman's Yearbook stands by itself as a complete book. This paper will not only explain what an annual yearbook is, but also provide information about a few particular yearbooks- the Statesman's Yearbook, Britannica Book of the Year, and the International Encyclopedia.

II. What is an Annual
            According to the Wikipedia, an annual is "a word often used to describe something that happens once a year." (1) Regarding books, annuals mean yearbooks, the yearly published books. According to the Wikipedia, a yearbook is "a book to record, highlight, and commemorate the past year of a school or a book published annually." (2) This shows that there are many types of yearbooks: school yearbooks, military yearbooks, and encyclopedic yearbooks, the latter of which will be discussed in this paper.
            Encyclopedic yearbooks, as it shows in its name, contain information that could be found in encyclopedia. They often contain general information, events, statistics, and sometimes even pictures. Among many types of encyclopedic yearbooks, the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook will be the main focus of this paper.

III. The Statesman's Yearbook

III.1 What is the Statesman's Yearbook
            The Statesman's Yearbook is an annual that have information of the politics, cultures, and economies of the world. Designed by Thomas Carlyle and his William Gladstone, it began publishing in 1864 by MacMillan, Britain. The Statesman's Yearbook deals with international facts: organizations and countries.

III.2 History of the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook
            The establishment of the Statesman's Yearbook got started by the Prime Minister Robert Peel suggesting Alexander Macmillan to publish "a handbook presenting in a compact shape a picture of the actual conditions, political and social of the various states in the civilised world." (3) A few years later, Frederick Martin was introduced to Macmillan by Thomas Carlyle and his friend William Gladstone, who were famous historians, and Macmillan thought Martin was the right guy to develop such a handbook. In December 1862, an agreement for "A Statistical, Genealogical, and Historical Account of the States and Sovereigns of the Civilised World" (3a) was signed, and thirteen months later, which is January 1864, the first Statesman's Yearbook was on sale, costing 8 shillings and 4 pence. Since 1864, publication of the Statesman's Yearbook has been continued until today with total 148 editions including the 2011 version.

III.3 Changes in the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook
            Going through 147 years of history, Statesman's Yearbook had gone through mant changes. Although all the changes may not be a sudden change, little by little, Statesman's Yearbook slowly developed. At the time Sir John Scott-Keltie was editor for the Statesman's Yearbook, addition of pictures were made. Majority of pictures that were added were maps along with flags.
            Also, information changes every year as new events happen. For example, information about Korea had gone through dramatic change since it was first introduced in 1895. First, as the year passes by, more information about Korea was introduced and little by little, the section became more precise and quantity of information increased from 6 to 20 categories. Also, facts each year contains are slightly different from each other. For example, in the year 1928, when Korea was under Japanese colonial era, Korea was subject to Japan's category like "Japan:-Korea (CHOSEN)." (4) In addition, during this era, there is no data about Korea¡¯s defence and diplomatic representatives while later period such as 1959 edition has them. Similarly, information changes as the time passes by.

III.4 Editors
            Frederick Martin was the first to become the editor of the Statesman's Yearbook. During his time (1864-1883) (5), the Statesman's Yearbook became one of the top reference books. Followed by him was Sir John Scott-Keltie (1883-1926) (5a), a Scottish journalist. He suggested the insertion of thumbnail maps of countries and a large political world map. This brought the Statesman's Yearbook into the next level. After Scott-Keltie's death, Mortimer Epstein (1927-1946) (5b) took over the place. During his time, the World War II broke out, but despite the war, thanks to vigorous effort of Epstein, the Statesman's Yearbook continued to publish. Sigfrid Henry Steinberg (1946-1969) (5c) succeeded Epstein's place in 1946. As he became an editor, he faced a challenge: keeping the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook¡¯s pace with fast-changing world. With his passion, however, the Statesman's Yearbook could rapidly adapt to the new order. After Steinberg, John Paxton (1969-1990) (5d) followed, then Brian Hunter (1990-1997) (5e) and then Barry Turner (1997-Present) (5f).

III.5 Purpose of the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook
            The main purpose of the Statesman's Yearbook is "for diplomats, politicians and all statesmen involved with international affairs," (6) according to their website. Accordingly, information Statesman's Yearbooks contain is related to international matters. People deals with global affairs are often very keen on latest information since things changes very rapidly: within a year, for example, borderlines can change. As a result, Statesman's Yearbooks are published yearly to prepare most recent information.
            Importances of up-to-date information in these books reveal notably through dramatic changes in price according to the year of publish. The newest version of the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook, the 147edition of year 2011, currently costs 285 dollars according to Amazon (7). However, editions such as 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 are available only within a dollar on Abe Books, which is not worth shipping price. (8) Even 2010 editions, which are just a year older, are half the price of 2011 version. (8a) This shows that books that have outdated information no longer are as valuable as it did before to most of its readers, who want the newest information.
            The Statesman's Yearbook, however, can also be an excellent reference source. Since the book was published every year, each book has articles that take viewpoint of the people of the time. This can be a great resource, especially more for those who are studying history, because how events were described in the past is certainly different from how it is viewed today. Usually, it is hard to find intact information of long time ago, however, the Statesman's Yearbook series are kept in good condition and easy in access. Therefore, the Statesman's Yearbook can serve as a superb reference source.

III.6 Contents of the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook
            The Statesman's Yearbook mainly deals with political, cultural and economical affairs of the world. It contains many statistics, facts and pictures to give information to its readers. The contents are divided mainly into two parts: part 1 - international organization and part 2 -countries of the world.
            Part 1: International Organizations has information about various organizations in the world. Organizations are ordered according to their region. That is, European organizations are tied together with other European organizations on the list while Asians are with Asians. However, United Nations and its affiliated organization come first in the list because they are spread world widely.
            Part 2: Countries of the World A-Z embodies information about countries in the world. Countries are arranged according to alphabetical order. There are political, cultural and economical information about each country.

III.7 Korea Coverage of the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook

III.7.1 Corea ? Korea !
            Ever since it was first introduced into the Statesman's Yearbook in 1895, information concerning Korea went through dramatic change. In 1895 version, Korea was spelled Corea, which was the original official name of Korea, before Japan changed it. Also, there was not much information: only six categories including government, area and population, religion and instruction, defence, production and commerce, and money were available. However, as the time passes, the information changed. In 1928 version, which is the time Korea was under Japanese reign, not only is Korea under the category of Japan, but also there are no defence and diplomatic representatives section in Korea. This must be due to the loss of Korea's sovereignty. In 1959 version, which is after independence, Korea itself stands as a country itself again and changed its name (how Koreans call their nation) into Tai Han from Chosen. Also, because Korea was divided into two by this time, under categories of Korea, data about South Korea and North Korea were separated. In 2009, South Korea and North Korea are completely divided into two different countries.

III.7.2 Interesting Facts to Consider Regarding Korea

III.7.2.1 Year 1895
            "In August, 1894, the Japanese went to war with China for supremacy in Corea. They are now (December) in possession of the capital and trade posts, the king is virtually their prisoner, and the government is being rapidly reformed on Japanese principles." (9) This piece of information is quite exact. It contains facts that there was war between Japan and China over Corea. In addition, it shows a viewpoint through its choices of words like "virtually their prisoner" that rather than simply beautify situation toward stronger country, they have their own viewpoint.

III.7.2.2 Year 1928
            Not always is the Statesman's Yearbook perfect. "Korea is to be treated as in all respects as integral part of Japan, Koreans to be on the same footing as Japanese." (9a) Although this sentence may be true, this does not contain exact situation of Korea. Despite colonial laws that state the equality of Korea and Japan, under Japanese colonization, most Koreans were treated as inferior, not equal in reality. These sorts of problems occur since transportation and communication of the time were not much developed. No member of staff could have been sent to each country and collect and confirm data. Consequently along with the lack of ways to convey information, most of the information was solely based on books published in Korea and nearby countries and what people who visited Korea wrote. Furthermore, information transferred was not so credible. Under the control of Japan, Koreans could not publish books that are hostile toward Japan. As a result, books published in Korea could not convey actual treatment of Koreans by the Japanese, so the information on the Statesman's Yearbook is not perfectly exact.
            There are other interesting facts about Korea too. For example, population data of 1928 version shows that almost 30 percent of the population in Korea was Japanese. 30 percent of Japanese population means two things: first, it had been long time since Japanese practiced its power over Korea and second, Japanese were controlling large part of economy, politics, etc. Even if a country has such a huge power over another country, unless the time was long enough to develop a stable society for people of the country, not much of people at the country would like to move into the another country. That is, Japan had not only having a huge influence on Korea, but also it had been maintained for a long time.
            Also, information in the Statesman's Yearbook was edited a little regarding their viewpoint. In the 1928 version, there is a line says, "In the country there are numerous Buddhist monasteries, which, however, are looked upon with scant respect. There is a large number of Christian converts. (...) at the end of 1925 there were 3.896 Christian Churches with 2,120 pastors and 345 Buddhist oratories with 444 priests." (10) Although there is no fake information here, by arranging and comparing number of churches and oratories, and pastors and priests, the book is diminishing the value of Buddhism while praising Christianity. The numbers and facts are true, but Buddhism itself, in reality, because it base its religion on practicing rituals, plays more influence on citizens than does Christianity.

III.7.2.3 Year 1959
            In 1959, which is after independence, Korea is once again has its own category, not subject to Japan. Due to the ideology difference, by 1959, Korea was divided into two: north with communism and south with capitalism. However, North Korea and South Korea is still under the same category of Korea in 1959, even though they divided accordingly into secondary section at each topic. This means that international society yet considers North and South Korea as a one country. In 2009 edition, however, due to such a big difference and lack of cultural exchange, North Korea and South Korea were divided into two countries, having its own section.
            Also, different from 1928 edition, 1959 edition of the statesman's yearbook contains more sub categories including education, health, finance, defence, industry, and diplomatic representatives. One thing that the readers of this information should ponder is that there are defence and diplomatic representatives. During Japanese colonial era, Korea could not maintain army or government without Japanese interruption. Thus, defence and diplomatic representatives do not exist. However, in 1959, because Korea had regained its political power independent from Japan, Korea once again has categories of defence and diplomatic representatives.

III.8 Sources of the Statesman's Yearbook
            In the past, the sources of the Statesman's Yearbook were books, articles, and reports. Based on other books such as "Foreign Office Reports on the Trade of Corea" (11) or "Campbell (C. W.), Report of a Journey in North Corea," (11a) the Statesman's Yearbook established its information. However, because the base itself was not so credible in most cases, since people of the time did not have good communication system to examine many viewpoints, information was not very precise. Furthermore, information about not well-known countries was especially inaccurate because most of the editing works were done by using observations of foreigners. In the end of each section (organization or country), there was a part called "Books of Reference concerning Corea/Korea," (11b) which cited sources of information. By looking into these sources one could get more specific information about topic one is looking for.
            Nowadays, sources of information are much more firm than that of the past. First, the base information itself is much more reliable since the way research of the information is done is much more reliable. With much developed tools, statistics are more accurate and general information is studied and analyzed more thoroughly. Second, it is much easier to get information about other places now than in the past. Due to advances in transportation and communication, exchange of information is faster and precise. Also, "Books of Reference concerning Corea/Korea" (11c) has been replaced by the part called "Further Reading," (12) which gives list of books that contain information about the section.

III.9 Limitations of the Statesman's Yearbook
            The Statesman's Yearbook tries to keep as objective viewpoint as possible in conveying information. Writers of this book tried their best to provide people with precise information; facts. This, however, have putted some limitation on range of information of the book. The Statesman's Yearbook cannot convey cultures' unique perspectives. The Statesman's Yearbook tries to use reliable sources and most of the sources they use are statistics and annuals published in each country. These lists of facts cannot provide unique and profound information to its readers. First, there can be a gap between writings and reality. Statistics can only provide approximate information, not specific reasons for such numbers. For example, information about foreign population simply states the number, not why such population had occurred. Also, because the book simply states the fact, it does not explain every reason for such situations. To get more accurate information, one should take a look at the books in the list of further reading or referential books.

IV. Other Yearbooks

IV.1 Encyclopaedia Britannica - Britannica Book of the Year
            In 1938, the first Britannica Book of the Year, which is appurtenant to Encyclopaedia Britannica, was published by Encyclopaedia Britannica Company. It dealt with events happened in 1937. Likewise, the Britannica Book of the Year contains the new information of single, previous year. For example, the 2009 edition is published in 2010. (13) Britannica Book of the Year is organized in A to Z order. The book "provides a valuable viewpoint" (14) and is an excellent reference for recent news on "the ever-changing populations, governments, and economies throughout the world." (14a) Written by "scholars, scientists, experts, and men of affairs," (15) Britannica Book of the Year is exceptionally academic and credible.

IV.2 New International Encyclopedia - The International Yearbook
            New International Encyclopedia, which originated from the International Cyclopaedia (1884), was first published in 1902 by Dodd, Mead and Company. (16) New International Encyclopedia, is published in America. Also published by Dodd, Mead and Company, the International Yearbook is a kind of supplement to New International Encyclopedia. They contain various data, and among them are "commerce, production, industries, finance, currency, railways, education, government and history." (16a) Other than this, the book also contains a great extent of information around the world; for example, there are a lot of biographic writings.

IV.3 Purpose of Yearbooks
            There are diverse reasons why yearbooks are published. First, the main reason of publication of encyclopedic yearbooks is to provide its readers with most recent information. Most readers of yearbooks seek for up-to-date information. Therefore, by publishing every year, a yearbook keeps up-dating its reader¡¯s information. Second, yearbooks can also be an excellent reference source. Most yearbooks are based on firmly developed data such as statistics. Their contents are trustworthy. Also, yearbooks with long history can be used as an historical reference resource, because articles they take viewpoint of how people of the time viewed such events, which would be different from perspective of nowadays. Third, some encyclopedic yearbooks are published to offset gap between editions of encyclopedia. An encyclopedia takes a long time to develop a new version, which is about 20 years. Within those 20 years, many events would occur and without update, information in the book would be too old to use. As a result, people publish yearbooks to reduce gap between editions.
            The Book of the Year and the international Yearbook are different from the Statesman's Yearbook in purpose in that they are adjunctive to encyclopedia while the Statesman¡¯s Yearbook stand alone as an independent book. Although not the complete information, containing information of each year, these yearbooks work as a bridge to diminish the gap between editions of encyclopedia. In addition, it keeps people to get up-to-date information. People want latest information, but an encyclopedia cannot be published every year, so the Book of the Year and the International Yearbook works as a complement. The Britannica Book of the Year and the International Yearbook along with Encyclopaedia Britannica and the New Encyclopedia can also be an excellent set of reference material. They contain articles written from the point of view that people at the time view such occasions, and because they are conserved well, these articles are exceptional data for those who need resources for historical works.

V. Conclusion
            Being published every year, an annual, also called as a yearbook, has a diversity in its types such as school yearbook, military yearbook, and encyclopedic yearbook.
            The Statesman's Yearbook, which is a kind of encyclopedic yearbook, deals with international matters including international organizations and countries of the world. The series of the Statesman's Yearbook has a long history reaching 147 years. Throughout the history, there had been a lot of changes including changes in editors, format, and information. The purpose of the Statesman's Yearbook was to inform people who engage in international affairs with most recent data. As a result, older books lose its value and soon are priced even cheaper than 1/200 of the new edition. In addition, the Statesman's Yearbook can be served as an excellent reference source, since it has many reliable sources from up-to-date to more than a hundred years ago. Korea, after it was first introduced to the book in 1895, has gone through a lot of changes. As the year goes, the situation Korea was laid changed and accordingly, the Statesman's Yearbook changed its information about Korea. First, the name changed from Corea to Korea, and then to North and South Korea. Also, it showed its viewpoint and limitation through information it contains. Sources of the Statesman's Yearbook are credible because most of them are statistics and stated facts. Although the Statesman's Yearbook looks like a perfect piece of information, it still has some drawbacks such as it lacks specific information.
            There are some encyclopedic yearbooks other than the Statesman's Yearbook. Britannica Book of the Year and the International Yearbook are examples of this. However, one difference is that they work as a bridge for encyclopedia they belong. They do contain events of every year, but information in these books is not complete: they only contain recent issues, not older ones. To get complete information, one should buy encyclopedia in addition to those yearbooks.

(1)      Annual, Wikipedia
(2)      Yearbook, Wikipedia
(3)      The Statesman's Yearbook - History, Wikipedia
(3a)      ibid
(4)      Statesman's Yearbook 1928, page 1072
(5)      The Statesman's Yearbook - Editor, Wikipedia
(5a)      ibid
(5b)      ibid
(5c)      ibid
(5d)      ibid
(5e)      ibid
(5f)      ibid
(6)      The Statesman's Yearbook Online
(7)      The Statesman's Yearbook, Amazon
(8)      The Statesman's Yearbook, Abe Books
(8a)      ibid.
(9)      Statesman's Yearbook 1895, page 441
(9a)      ibid.
(10)      Statesman's Yearbook 1928, page 1073
(11)      Statesman's Yearbook 1895, page 443
(11a)      ibid.
(11b)      ibid.
(11c)      ibid.
(12)      Statesman's Yearbook 2009,, page 753
(13)      eBay Reviews, Enyclopaedia Britannica Book of the Year
(14)      Britannica Book of the Year, Encyclopedia Britannica Website
(14a)      ibid.
(15)      New International Encyclopedia, Wikipedia
(16)      Corea, International Yearbook 1898, page 216
(16a)      ibid.

Bibliography The following websites were visited in June/July 2010

Bibliographic References
1.      Bibliography of Western Language Publications on Korea 1588-1950 The Myongji-LG Korean Studies Library, by Sung-hwa Cheong and Alexander Ganse, Myongji University Press 2008

Primary Sources
2.      John Scott-Keltie (ed.) : The Statesman's Yearbook 1895, London : MacMillan 1895
3.      Mortimer Epstein (ed.) : The Statesman's Yearbook 1928, London : MacMillan 1928
4.      Sigfrid Henry Steinberg (ed.) : The Statesman's Yearbook 1959, London : MacMillan 1959
5.      Barry Turner (ed.) : The Statesman's Yearbook 2009, London : Palgrave MacMillian 2008
6.      M. D. Law (ed.) : Britannica Book of the Year 1942: London : Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. 1942
7.      Frank Moor Colby (ed.) : International Yearbook 1898: NY : Dodd, Mead and Company, 1898
8.      Mrs. Simon Kander, Settlement Cook-book, (1901), posted on Google Books :
9.      Donald N. Clark, Culture and Customs of Korea, (2000), posted on Google Books :

Secondary Sources
10.      The Statesman's Yearbook Online,
11.      Price, The Statesman's Yearbook 2011, in: Amazon,
12.      The Statesman's Yearbook 1864, in: Palgrave Connect,'s%20yearbook&p=4
13.      Article, Yearbook, in: Wikipedia,
14.      Article, Annual, in: Wikipedia,
15.      Britannica Book of the Year, in: eBay Reviews,
16.      Article, The Statesman's Yearbook, in: Wikipedia,'s_Yearbook
17.      Price, The Statesman's Yearbook, in: Abe Books,'s+yearbook&x=0&y=0 (Prices of the Statesman's Yearbook)
18.      Britannica Book of the Year, in: Encyclopaedia Britannica Website,
19.      Article, New International Encyclopedia, in: Wikipedia,

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