Thursday, 23 September 2010

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: September 2010 update

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is six years old, and has today published its eighteenth online update. Over a hundred new subjects include a special focus on 'black Britons, 1700-2000' such as prominent London gang-member Ann Duck (bap. 1717 d. 1744), slavery abolitionist and magician Henry Brown (b.c.1815 d. in or after 1878) and nightclub proprietor Ola Dosunmu (1914-1991?) . There are also eight new reference group articles, part of an online series designed to help readers find their way around the dictionary. These include my own contribution on the Foxite whigs, the political followers of Charles James Fox (1749-1806) who were generally more glamorous and notorious than those of Fox's great rival William Pitt the Younger. Other new subjects include Yvonne Fletcher, killed during the protest at the Libyan people's bureau in London in 1984; Jewish scholar Israel Abrahams (1858-1925); eighteenth-century grocer and neglected London policing pioneer Saunders Welch (1711-1784); and Nica de Koenigswarter (1913-1988), patron of the jazz musician Thelonious Monk. There's also a king, Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho (d. 1996). Robert Fabian (1901-1978), Scotland Yard's real life 'ace detective' of the 1930s and 1940s turned television personality in the 1950s series Fabian of the Yard is also added.

Editor Lawrence Goldman's online preface can be read here. Some of the new content is available to read for free, but most of it is behind a paywall; however, most of those in the UK reading this should be able to access the online dictionary through their public library's subscription and remote access service.

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea Fabian of the Yard was a real person!