This is not a book review published 50 years late but rather a still-timely retrospective on Elementary Seismology, the textbook written by Charles Francis Richter (1850–1913) and published in 1958 (Richter 1958). The golden anniversary of its publication provides the opportunity to acquaint or re-acquaint readers with this historic work and to evaluate its long-term significance.

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It is true that most of the knowledge contained in Elementary Seismology already was available to the seismologist in one archive or another before 1958, because Professor Richter's textbook was by intent a compilation and summary of the subject, not a work...

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