Bergen Baldwin Evans
was an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
lexicographer, a Rhodes Scholar, a Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...
graduate, a Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....
professor of English, and a television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...
host. Evans became known as the question supervisor, or "authority," for the television series $64,000 Question.
His books include Word-A-Day Vocabulary Builder
(1963), and the annotated Dictionary of Quotations
In the first half of the 1953
The year 1953 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1953.-Events:*January 19 – 68% of all US television sets were tuned in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth to little Ricky....
The year 1954 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1954.-Events:*January 1 – NBC broadcasts the Rose Parade in NTSC color on 21 stations.*January 3 – RAI launched in Italy....
television season, Evans hosted the ABC
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...
panel discussion series Of Many Things
Of Many Things is a half-hour panel discussion television series which aired on ABC from October 5, 1953, to January 11, 1954. It was hosted by Dr. Bergen Evans....
, which as it title indicates focused on a plethora of items of interest to the public. Mitch Miller
Mitchell William "Mitch" Miller was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record company executive...
, the band leader, was among his guests.
Evans's A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage
(1957), cowritten with his sister Cornelia, produced an apparent spin-off: the television show The Last Word
, which he hosted Sundays on CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...
, from 1957 to 1959. Listeners were encouraged to send in questions that pertain to spelling, punctuation, usage, and pronunciation. These questions were put to a panel of experts from various professional fields. Sound recordings of broadcasts for 1957-05-18 and 1957-05-25 are archived with the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...
. The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...
commented, "I'd take more pleasure in discussions schola'ly / If Bergen Evans wouldn't laugh so jollily."
Evans is highly regarded as one of the early proponents of a movement now known as skepticism
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...
. He penned two of the earliest works in the field, The Natural History of Nonsense
(1946) and The Spoor of Spooks and Other Nonsense
- Comfortable Words. Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer. New York, Random House  379 p. illus. 24 cm.
- A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage, by Bergen Evans and Cornelia Evans. New York, Random House  viii, 567 p. 26 cm.
- Dictionary of Mythology, Mainly Classical. Lincoln [Neb.] Centennial Press  xviii, 293 p. illus. 22 cm.
- Dictionary of Quotations / collected and arranged and with comments by Bergen Evans. New York, Delacorte Press  lxxxix, 2029 p. 24 cm.
- Fifty Essays, edited by Bergen Evans. Boston, Little, Brown, and company [1936.] xii, 363 p. 19½ cm.
- The Life of Samuel Johnson; Boswell, James, 1740–1795 abridged, with an introd. by Bergen Evans. New York, Modern Library  xv, , 559 p. 19 cm.
- The Making of English. Bradley, Henry, 1845–1923. With an introd. by Bergen Evans, and additional material and notes by Bergen Evans and Simeon Potter. New York, Walker  vii, 209 p. 21 cm.
- The Natural History of Nonsense, by Bergen Evans. New York, A. A. Knopf, 1946. ix, 275, x p., 1 l. 22 cm.
- The Psychiatry of Robert Burton, by Bergen Evans, in consultation with George J. Mohr, M.D. New York, Columbia University Press, 1944. ix p., 1 l., 129 p. front. (port., facsim.) 23 cm.
- The Spoor of Spooks, and Other Nonsense. New York, Knopf, 1954. 295 p. 22 cm.
- The Word-A-Day Vocabulary Builder. New York, Random House  viii, 216 p. 24 cm.
- Your Car is Made to Last, by Herman Bishop and Bergen Evans. New York, Putnam  xi, 186 p. 20 cm.