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