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Harmless Drudges: Dictionaries and the (Mad)men Who've Made Them

The Story of Ain't
The Story of Ain't America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published By Skinner, David, 1973- (Book - 2012 ) 423.09 S and more… Available to borrow in some locations
The Forgotten Founding Father
The Forgotten Founding Father Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of An American Culture By Kendall, Joshua C., 1960- (Book - 2010 ) 423.092 K and more… Available to borrow in some locations
The Man Who Made Lists
The Man Who Made Lists Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus By Kendall, Joshua C., 1960- (Book - 2008 ) B Roget K and more… Available to borrow in some locations
Defining the World
Defining the World The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary By Hitchings, Henry, 1974- (Book - 2005 ) 423 H and more… Available to borrow in some locations
Lexicographer's Dilemma
Lexicographer's Dilemma The Evolution of "proper" English, From Shakespeare to South Park By Lynch, Jack (Book - 2010 ) 423 L and more… Available to borrow in some locations
Just A Phrase I'm Going Through
Just A Phrase I'm Going Through My Life in Language By Crystal, David, 1941- (Book - 2009 ) B Crystal C and more… Available to borrow in some locations

Annotation:Memoir from the author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Language and dozens of other works on language.

The Professor and the Madman
The Professor and the Madman A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary By Winchester, Simon (Book - 2005 ) B Murray W and more… Available to borrow in some locations
Reading the OED
Reading the OED One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages By Shea, Ammon (Book - 2008 ) 423.028 S and more… Available to borrow in some locations
Lost for Words
Lost for Words The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary By Mugglestone, Lynda (Book - 2005 ) 423 M Available to borrow in some locations
The Meaning of Everything
The Meaning of Everything The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary By Winchester, Simon (Book - 2003 ) 423.09 W and more… Available to borrow in some locations

Annotation:The Meaning of Everything was the NYPL's Reader's Den selection for October 2011. It's never too late to join the online discussion of SImon Winchester's fascinating and informative book.

Dictionaries
Dictionaries The Art and Craft of Lexicography By Landau, Sidney I. (Book - 2001 ) 413.028 L Available to borrow in some locations

Annotation:"... should be required reading for all lexicographers and can be heartily recommended to everyone else who cares to know what dictionaries are like and how to use them to best advantage." - The Times Literary Supplement

Annotation:With your NYPL library card, you can search the entire OED Online from home! That's over half a million words and their histories right at your fingertips...

Annotation:(1979 - present) If you wish to delve more deeply into the work of lexicographers past and present, try this journal published by the Dictionary Society of North America. Available through Project Muse with a valid NYPL library card.

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Description

In his seminal and idiosyncratic 18th century dictionary, Samuel Johnson defines a lexicographer as a "harmless drudge." James Boswell's biography of Johnson still stands as a classic of literary biography, and there are other colorful lexicographers to read about. We were inspired by the occasion of Joshua C. Kendall's talk about the life of the great American lexicographer, Noah Webster, at the Mid-Manhattan Library on August 27, 2012, to compile this brief list of popular books on the history of lexicography, or dictionary making, and the lives of lexicographers. Update: David Skinner, author of The Story of Ain't, is speaking at Mid-Manhattan on August 12, 2013.


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