Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, founded in 1826, was a Whiggish London organisation that published inexpensive texts intended to adapt scientific and similarly high-minded material for the rapidly expanding reading public. It was established mainly at the instigation of Lord Brougham with the objects of publishing information to people who were unable to obtain formal teaching, or who preferred self-education. The Society was sometimes mentioned in contemporary sources as SDUK.

An American group of the same name was founded as part of the Lyceum movement in the United States around the same period. Its Boston branch sponsored lectures by such speakers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, and was active from 1829 to 1947.

In popular culture

References to the Society are rare in the modern era, but within Steampunk culture, it is not entirely uncommon to refer to the Society itself and/or its better-known publications in an attempt to lend Victorian verisimilitude.

The in-house publishing organ of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles is called the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Information.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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