Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds its 60,000th person in latest update

ODNBThe latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 6 October 2016—adds biographies of 89 men and women active over 500 years of British history.

October’s update includes an entry on the artist Tirzah Garwood (1908-1951), who was married to Eric Ravilious, who becomes the 60,000th person to be added to Dictionary.

The October update also adds 35 biographies of early nineteenth-century slave-owners, who were recipients of compensation from the Commissioners of Slave Compensation after the passing of the Abolition Act in 1833. These biographies have been researched and written in collaboration with the new Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership at University College London.

New figures include John Stewart (1789-1860), a slave owner in Berbice, who was probably of African descent. As an MP, Stewart represented the concerns of the West India interest while establishing business interests in the City of London: he is thought to have been the first MP of black or mixed race.

The October update also adds 40 biographies of men and women associated with the city of Hull, which is UK City of Culture, 2017. Among those now added to the Dictionary are Ethel Leginska (1886-1970)—who was born in Hull, and became a noted composer and the first woman to conduct some of the world’s leading orchestras—and Jean Hartley (1933-2011) who published The Less Deceived—the first volume of poems by Philip Larkin, following the poet’s arrival in Hull.

October’s update also adds 2500 new links from ODNB entries to external resources, offering additional biographical information. These include:

Highlights from the new edition are available here. The Oxford DNB is the national record of 60,000 men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life, worldwide, from the Roman occupation to the 21st century. A research and publishing project of the History Faculty and OUP, the ODNB online is available via SOLO.

Dr Philip Carter, Senior Research and Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Women entrepreneurs and Bronze Age man now added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB)

The latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 26 May 2016—adds biographies of 93 men and women active over 4000 years of British history.

DNB_stamp_block logoMay’s update provides a special focus on eighteenth and nineteenth-century women entrepreneurs, inventors, and industrialists. New additions include the Bristol inventor, Sarah Guppy (1770-1852), whose many patents include designs for a suspension bridge crossing the River Avon—years before Telford and Brunel. Sarah Guppy’s inclusion in the Oxford DNB has featured in articles for The Times and Daily Telegraph and on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (30 May).

Early modern religious biographies include Anne Hooper (d. 1555), one of the earliest wives of a bishop in the post-Reformation period. Hooper’s letters chart a period of intense religious and personal uncertainty.

Contributions from members of the Oxford History Faculty include Felicity Heal on the Tudor diarist Richard Stonley (1520/21-1600), the first person known to have purchased a work by William Shakespeare (in 1593), and William Whyte on the architect, Daniel Robertson (c.1770–1849), who designed the Oxford University Press building in Jericho.

The earliest new addition is Racton Man (fl. c.2200 BP), the skeleton of a Bronze Age warrior at The Novium Museum, Chichester, whose ‘biography’—based on forensic science—can now be written. May’s update also includes two pioneers of tattooing: George Burchett (1872-1953) and Sutherland Macdonald (1860-1942). Macdonald coined the term ‘tattooist’ (‘tattoo’ + ‘artist’) to better convey the artistry of his work, and both men numbered members of the aristocracy and royalty among their clients.

The new edition also extends the ODNB’s coverage of historical groups and networks. Essays include the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the Erasmus Circle of scholars who championed the great Dutch humanist from the early 1500s; and participants in the Northern Rising (1569-70). Essays on more than 320 historical groups—early medieval to late modern—are now available in the ‘Themes’ area of the Oxford DNB online.

Finally, 4000 new links have been added from ODNB entries to online resources providing alternative perspectives on an individual. These include links to 850 English Heritage Blue Plaques, 650 monuments in Westminster Abbey, 200 person records in Queen Victoria’s Journals, 200 Poetry Archive and BBC recordings, and 2500 correspondence records created by Oxford History research project, ‘Early Modern Letters Online’.

Highlights from the new edition are available here. The Oxford DNB is the national record of 60,000 men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life, worldwide, from the Roman occupation to the 21st century. It’s a research and publishing project of the History Faculty and OUP and available via SOLO.

Dr Philip Carter, Senior Research and Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford DNB research bursaries, 2016-17

DNB_stamp_block logoThe Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is offering three research bursaries of £750 each to promote the ODNB online as a source for new research in the humanities.

The research bursaries are intended, via a defined research project, to promote further imaginative study of the Dictionary’s content to our understanding of the British history and culture.

One of the bursaries will be awarded in association with the Oxford Centre for Life Writing (OCLW) at Wolfson College, Oxford. The OCLW / ODNB bursary is for a research project in the fields of English, Music, Art or Philosophy.

The bursaries are open to PhD students or post-holders at Higher Education Institutions in the UK or overseas; or an individual undertaking scholarly research in the humanities—for example, as an archivist, librarian, museum curator, or in a private capacity without such an affiliation.

The closing date for application is Sunday 12 June 2016. Further details and an application form are available here.

The Oxford DNB is the national record of 60,000 men and women who shaped British history and culture—in the British Isles and overseas—from the Roman period to the year 2012. The Dictionary is a research and publishing project of the University of Oxford’s History Faculty and Oxford University Press, with a staff of academic editors and publishers. The ODNB’s General Editor is the historian, Professor Sir David Cannadine.

Dr Philip Carter, Senior Research and Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) added to the ‘Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’

The latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 7 January 2016—adds biographies of 222 modern Britons who died in the year 2012.

Eric Hobsbawm snippet in ODNBThe update includes the historian and political commentator, Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012), whose ODNB biography is written by Professor Martin Jacques. The update is accompanied by a short film in which Martin discusses Hobsbawm’s life and work with the Oxford DNB’s general editor, Professor Sir David Cannadine. A longer audio version of the full discussion is available via SoundCloud.

Eric Hobsbawm still from interview

Click to see the short interview

Other notable figures, now added to the Oxford DNB, include war correspondent Marie Colvin (1956-2012) who was killed in Syria; editor of the Times, William Rees-Mogg (1928-2012); photojournalist Eve Arnold (1912-2012), the astronomers Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012) and Sir Bernard Lovell (1913-2012); hairdresser Vidal Sassoon (1928-2012); Jim Marshall (1923-2012), inventor of the Marshall amp; Allan Horsfall (1927-2012), pioneer of gay rights in Britain; Sir Rex Hunt (1926-2012), governor of the Falkland Islands during the 1982 conflict, and Gerry Anderson (1929-2012), animator and creator of the children’s puppet series, Thunderbirds.

Highlights from the Oxford DNB’s January 2016 update

Dr Philip Carter
Senior Research and Publication Editor,
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Sept 2015 update

DNB_stamp_block logoNew biographies for religious men and women during medieval and Reformation periods and individuals active during the First World War.

The latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 17 September 2015—adds biographies of 112 men and women active between the thirteenth and the early twenty-first century.

The new update includes a special focus on men and women active during the First World War—in combat and on the home front—with a particular interest in the events of 1915. New additions include the physicians Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray who opened the Endell Street Military Hospital, London, in May 1915; it remains the only British army hospital staffed and run by women. Military inventions from 1915 include the bowl-shaped Brodie helmet (named after its designer John Brodie) which went into production 100 years ago this month. By the end of the war, seven million of these helmets had been produced. Other war-time lives include the boy soldier Horace Iles (1900-1916) who was killed at the Somme; his biography is now part of school education programmes run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

September’s update also concludes a 3-year research project to extend the Oxford DNB’s coverage of the medieval religious—the abbots, abbesses, priors, and prioresses who led England’s religious houses until the Reformation. The project has added 56 first-time biographies. To mark the project’s completion, Professor Claire Cross of York University considers these Lives of the Religious for what they can tell us about medieval monasticism, and how those in office in the 1520s and 1530s responded to the Reformation.

Dr Philip Carter, Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography update 28 May 2015: cinema & TV

A century of British cinema, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 28 May 2015—adds biographies of 105 men and women active between the fourteenth and the early twenty-first century.

2015-05-28 12_53_10-Oxford DNB article_ Corbett, HarryThe new edition includes a special focus on a century of British cinema and television—from the pioneering directors of the early 1900s to the actors, directors, and producers of mid and later twentieth-century films such as Bridge on the River Kwai, Hammer Horror’s Curse of Frankenstein, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, and television classics including Steptoe and Son.

Highlights from the update

Film clips from featured actors, directors and producers, now added to the ODNB

Film biographies now added to the Oxford DNB include:

  • film and television actors Oliver Reed (1938-1999) and Harry H. Corbett (1925-1982), known for Steptoe and Son.
  • US-born film producer and screen writer Carl Foreman (1914-1984), who came to Britain in the midst of the McCarthy trials, and whose films include High Noon and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
  • Lewin Fitzhamon (1869-1961), a pioneer film-maker at Walton-on-Thames in the early 1900s, who made some 400 films—notably Rescued by Rover (1905), starring a pet dog and regarded as a landmark in its cinematic narrative technique.
  • World War One film-maker, Geoffrey Malins (1886-1940) whose documentary film of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, was seen by millions of British cinema-goers later that summer.
  • director Terence Fisher (1904-1980), who made twenty-nine Hammer Horror films including the influential Curse of Frankenstein (1957).
  • film-maker Alan Clarke (1935-1990), whose television dramas include Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Scum.

Other biographies now added include:

  • Fanny Talbot (1824-1917), benefactor and friend of Ruskin, who made the first ever donation of land to the National Trust, to coincide with the Trust’s formation, in May 1895. Talbot gave land at Barmouth on the Gwynedd coast, known as Dinas Oleu or ‘Fortress of Light’.
  • the Poplar councillors (act. 1921) of East London; 30 local politicians imprisoned for refusing to levy a rate in protest at the inequitable distribution of local taxation in the capital.
  • chess master Phillip Stamma (d. 1755). Born in Aleppo, Stamma came to Britain in the late 1730s. His The Noble Game of Chess (1745) introduced the concept of the ‘end game’ to Western players of the game.

Faculty contributors to the latest update include John Davis (on the Poplar councillors (act. 1921)), George Garnett (on ‘Magna Carta through eight centuries’), and John-Paul Ghobrial (on Phillip Stamma (d. 1755)).

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life, in the UK and overseas, from the Roman occupation to the 21st century. It’s a research and publishing project of the History Faculty and OUP and is available via SOLO or OxLIP+.

Dr Philip Carter, Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds 226 lives of people who died in 2011

ODNBThe new update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online, published on 8 January 2015,  adds biographies of 226 men and women who shaped modern Britain and who died in 2011.

Among those now included in the ODNB online are the journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, actress Elizabeth Taylor, artist Lucian Freud, SOE officer and travel writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor, and the film director Ken Russell. Also added are biographies on Claude Choules—the last surviving British-born veteran of the First World War—who was born in 1901, and the songwriter and singer, Amy Winehouse, who was born in 1983.

Historians now added to the Oxford DNB include Patrick Collinson, Kevin Sharpe, John Ehrman, Dorothy Thompson, and Norman Hampson.

Selected highlights, a full list of new biographies, and an Introduction to the new update are available via the ODNB website.

The Oxford DNB now provides biographies of 59,453 individuals from prehistory to the year 2011, available via OLIS. Online updates are published in January, May and September of each year. The January 2015 update is the first under the general editorship of Professor Sir David Cannadine, who is a Visiting Professor in the Oxford History Faculty.

Dr Philip Carter, Publication Editor, OUP

Oxford DNB September 2014 update: 120 biographies added

News from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: ODNB

“This is the 30th update to the online edition since ‘first’ publication in September 2004 and marks our 10th anniversary.

The update adds biographies of 120 people from prehistory to the 21st century and takes as its main theme people whose lives illustrate aspects of national character, heritage, and manners. They include, for example, Cecil Chubb (1876-1934), the last private owner of Stonehenge, who gave the site to the nation in 1918; John Blanke, the African-born trumpeter who served in the courts of Henry VII and VIII; Arabella Churchill (1949-2007) co-founder of the Glastonbury Festival; Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971) artist and inventor of ‘dazzle’ camouflage in WWI; and Theoderic Rood (fl.1480-4), the earliest named printer in Oxford.

We have an open highlights page which offers a selection of lives and a full list.

For the 10th anniversary we are also running a series of items, e.g. blog posts on the ODNB’s online evolution since 2004, listed here.

From next week, the ODNB’s new general editor will be Professor Sir David Cannadine of Princeton. There’s a little more on David’s appointment here.”

Oxford DNB update: 100 biographies added (including a special focus on the post-reformation Catholic diaspora and the history of British cinema)

ODNB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds 100 biographies of men and women active between the early 13th and late 20th centuries, including Alma Taylor, Robert Stephenson, Margaret Clement and Alonso Cárdenas.

The new update (published on 29 May) incorporates a special focus on a century of British cinema – from the silent stars of the 1910s to the actors, directors, and producers of later 20th Century films such as Get Carter and Carry On. The update also includes new biographies of 20 early modern nuns who, in the wake of the Reformation, founded or entered ‘English convents in exile’ in continental Europe and North America.

Other new biographies include Charles Miller (1874-1953), ‘bringer of football to Brazil’ and Cuthbert Ottaway (1850-1878), recently in the news as the first captain of the England national football team, but better known in his lifetime as an Oxford University cricketer. There’s also the unusual and remarkable story of the medieval anchoress Christina Carpenter (fl.1329-1332) who was twice enclosed in a cell.

Highlights of the new edition are available to browse, together with an interactive timeline of the ODNB’s history of British cinema. The ODNB also offers a free, twice monthly biography podcast, with over 200 life stories now available.

Readers can access the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography via SOLO and OxLIP+.

Oxford DNB January 2014 update: 219 new biographies added (Michael Foot, Tony Judt, etc.)

The latest update of the Oxford DNB was published on 16 January 2014. It adds biographies of 219 men and women who shaped modern British history and culture, and who died in the year 2010.

ODNB Jan 2014 update

Among those now included are the politician and Labour leader Michael Foot, the music and fashion impresario, Malcolm McLaren, historians Tony Judt and J.R. Pole, and the novelists Beryl Bainbridge and Alan Sillitoe. The story of the author Beryl Bainbridge (1932-2010) is also available as an episode of the Oxford DNB’s free biography podcast.

There’s a full list of 219 additions available, together with a free gallery of selected biographies and an Introduction to the new update.

The new update brings the total number of people include in the ODNB to 59,003. The next update will be published in May 2014 and will include a special focus on the post-reformation Catholic diaspora, and the history of British cinema.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is available to Oxford readers via SOLO and OxLIP+.