His father, Willem Hendrick Rietstap, was an accountant and insurance agent. From an early age, Rietstap worked in the world of words. His first job was at a bookstore, and he was shortly thereafter assigned to a position as with the newspaper Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant. While working there, Rietstap began to nurture his interest in the history and theory of heraldry. Along with this growing interest in heraldry, Rietstap began to show a proficiency at for learning other languages.
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Johannes Baptiste Rietstap The Armorial General series, described hereunder, is a multi-volume work on the coats of arms of the world; it is both monumental and without equal, and is the most exhaustive undertaking of its kind. Needless to say the volumes are in French, but the information is stereotyped, and easily understood.
The Armorial General is the most authoritative work on the coats of arms in the world. The descriptions of the arms cover those of more than , families, alphabetically arranged and accurately described. The work was compiled from hundreds of armorials and it contains an extensive glossary of terms. In addition to a full description of the arms, most entries identify the nationality of the arms bearer, his title, and the date his title was conferred. The basic text was established with the publication of the second edition, corrected and enlarged, of In a reprint was published in a limited edition of copies, with a new Preface and new Additions and Corrections.
The present reprint is an exact reproduction of this edition. It is the best edition available and the first to appear in America.
Armorial général : précédé d'un dictionnaire des Termes du blason