Yale University Library News

Library Celebrates 80th Anniversary of the OED

Yale University Library and Oxford University Press will mark the 80th anniversary of the Oxford English Dictionary(OED) with a symposium featuring four “word-renowned” experts on October 1.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Sterling-Sheffield-Strathcona lecture hall, 1 Prospect Street. The speakers are Fred Shapiro, Associate Librarian at the Yale Law School and editor of The Yale Book of Quotations; Simon Winchester, author of The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary and The Professor and the Madman; Jesse Sheidlower, the OED’s editor-at-large; and Ammon Shea, author of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages.

Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. A reception will follow in the Linonia & Brothers Reading Room in Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street. 

The Oxford English Dictionary is the comprehensive dictionary of the English language. It was formally launched June 6, 1928, and it took 70 years to compile the initial 10 volumes, which contain almost 415,000 words. Former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin called the creation of the OED “the greatest enterprise of its kind in history.” Today, the OEDfills 20 volumes and weighs 137 pounds. It has also been available on the Internet since 2000 as the OED Online.

Yale has an unusual connection to the OED: William Chester Minor, the subject of Winchester’s book The Professor and the Madman, was a Yale graduate, army surgeon, and convicted murderer, who became a principal contributor of 16th- and 17th-century quotations to the first edition of the dictionary during his incarceration at Broadmoor Asylum.

For more information, contact Geoffrey Little at geoffrey.little@yale.edu or (203) 432-8061.

Posted by Yale University Library on September 17, 2008 2:06 PM 

Last modified: 
Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 2:46pm