After World War I, many American scholars felt a need for an encyclopedia of social sciences. It was difficult even for a specialist in one of the social sciences to keep abreast of developments in related fields. After much work the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences was prepared between 1927 and 1933 and published between 1930 and 1935. It has remained a classical reference for a generation. In 1955 discussion was begun on the need for a new work of this type. With the assistance of the Ford Foundation and extensive preparatory efforts, an entire new volume was produced, not just a revision of the older encyclopedia. It was published in 1968.
The expansion of the social sciences has been remarkable. This 17-volume edition, each volume containing more than 500 pages, covers anthropology, economics, geography, history, law, political science, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, and statistics. To prevent "cliques" of specialized opinions