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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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you think that it would cost?" He said, “I think that we can do one for about $100,000”--at which point I fell under the table. I had no such fancy notions;

We began to look into costs and we found out that Barnhart's was a fair estimate. It was bound to involve over one hundred people and take two years to do; By this time I was determined that we were going to do it. We felt that we would get the money. We felt that we could swing it. We weren't in the banks for a penny. We hadn't borrowed one cent. Mr. Hass, the conservative member of the firm, was opposed because he said that we weren't big enough and he didn't like the idea of borrowing funds. It wasn't part of his routine. But ahead we plunged anyhow.


Did you borrow?


It turned out that Barnhart was way off in his estimate of time and money. It cost pretty close to a million dollars and took over three years to do. At one time we were so discouraged by the way that the costs were mounting that it almost became the greatest college dictionary from A to M that was ever put out.


Can I ask one question? I don't know the answer so maybe other people won't. When you make up a dictionary, how do you go about it? Do you give one person A?

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