James 

Murray's filing system (OUP Museum)
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Thursday, 31 January 2013
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Murray's successors
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Henry Bradley
William Alexander Craigie
Charles Talbut Onions
Photos from OED archives: click on individual photo for detail

After Murray's death in 1915, his co-editors Bradley, Craigie, and Onions continued to work on the project. Some information about this stage in the Dictionary can be found in Charlotte Brewer's book, Treasure-House of the Language, chapter 1. Here they are photographed at work at a desk (the same desk, in fact! as you can tell from the other features in the back- and foreground; the desk paraphernalia has simply been moved around between shots). Bradley appears to be looking through slips; Craigie is annotating slips, perhaps taken from the wicker basket placed at the edge of the desk in front of him; Onions looks directly at the camera. His hands are folded, but he has been working on slips: you can see a bottle marked 'OFFICE PASTE' to his left, indicating that he has been cutting up and pasting material which presumably relates to the individual slips scattered about in front of him. (On the curled up reverse side of one of these slips you can see closely written or printed material which may have been cut out from a book. In the early days of quotation gathering, readers would save time by cutting out quotations from books and pasting the scraps on to slips, not by copying them our laboriously by hand). Also in front of Onions is a partially damaged pine cone, whose significance remains mysterious...

This is the only portrait photo of Onions that survives at the Press and his relative youth tempts one to think that these photos were taken soon after Murray's death, making Bradley around 70, Craigie 48, and Onions himself 42.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 January 2008 )
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