Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Life and Times of Lillian Mountweazel





(Above: Not Lillian Mountweazel.)

If you had picked up a copy of the New Columbia Encyclopedia published in 1975, you would have found an entry for a woman by the name of Lillian Virginia Mountweazel (1942-1973). According to her biography, Ms. Mountweazel was a fountain designer and photographer, best known for her collection of photos of rural American mailboxes, Flags Up!. She was born in Bangs, Ohio, and died in an explosion while on assignment for Combustibles magazine.

Pretty interesting lady, wouldn't you say? But the most fascinating thing about Lillian Mountweazel is that she never actually existed. She was what's known as a "fictitious entry." The publishers of reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) and maps will often include fictitious entries in their works. This makes it easy for them to know when their copyrights have been violated.

Thanks to good old Lillian, these entries are now known as Mountweazels. (In the world of maps, fictitious streets are called "trap streets." However, map makers' inventions have an interesting habit of becoming real places.)

That hasn't been the only honor bestowed upon Lillian. There's also a Lillian Mountweazel Memorial Society, and earlier this year there was an art exhibit devoted to her life and times.

Not bad for someone who never drew a breath. But it kind of makes you wonder what else might not be real.

25 comments:

Ian M. said...

yay! 1rst post! any way, thats amazing! pretty REGULAR on this site though!

Forrester said...

This makes me not trust the encyclopedia. You know what? You can look up 'encyclopedia' in the encyclopedia!

Ambrele said...

wicked! I'll never trust the encylopedia again! Plus I'll do my report on her and ended it like so.

Lillian Mountweazel had an amazing life but probablt the most incredible thing about is… She never actually existed!

Anonymous said...

What?!

brave chickens said...

Hmmmmm.....

Serena said...

i'm confuse

Hazel said...

I'm fake too, by the way.

Lioness said...

If u r going to make up a person.... well.... let me just say- Montweazle?

montana irregulars said...

i would love to not be real it would be a lot of fun fooling all of those people

montana irregulars said...

plus its weird because there was a big exploson were i live last winter.
p.s could people stop doing the "1st comment" thing?

Kris said...

Same concept as Paper Towns in maps.

WillSing said...

This is actually a creative way of weeding out the people who try to steal your work, kudos to the people who thought of this

Gnat said...

Wow. well if there was a person that didnt exist that we thought existed, maybe theres someone who does exist but we dont think exists!
OW!!!! brain fart. :)

The Dimensionist said...

Oh great...

How could they do this to us?

Maybe one day I'll somehow meet someone who isn't real, but "is"...

That'd be interesting...

gymnast20 said...

wow i was starting to think ths girl was pretty cool unitll you said she was fake! next time i have to do a report on something im deffinatly doing her lol really confuse my teacher

sad girl said...

Willsing: Kudos? Whats a kudos?

~mountweazel~ said...

Forrester - it's like googling google... it justs takes u back 2 google!

o and mountweazel would be a cool screen name thingy if u want to be all mysterious and stuff. (it's like saying you don't really exist, which i don't btw! :-P)

~chanel~

Clare said...

sad girl: kudos is like saying "bravo" (and it is a chocolatey granola bar)
An explosion on an assignment for combustibles? Ironic.

42 said...

How in the world could you create an exhibit showing the life of someone who didn't exist?

sad girl said...

Clare: Oh. Okay.

Poison Pen said...

Oh, the irony.
And I was just looking for a good last name for a character's alias. You're so helpful. ^^
QUESTION: Do you know of a good editor anywhere? I'm almost done with my current book, so I figure I might start looking for some objective criticism. I'd show it to someone around here that I know, but all the people I can think of "like" me, apparently, which is a problem when looking for editors.

Thanks!
Poison

Forrester said...

~mountweazel~ Yeah! Also you can look up dictionary in the dictionary.

Anonymous said...

Milo bentchic rides again!!

liltomboyblue said...

Facinating! Like everyone else- I'd love to do that for history project!!!! God.... genius.

Kitty said...

interesting.......